Title: Hiding in Plain Sight
Series: Vegas Hustle 02
Author: Ethan Stone
Genre: Contemporary, Thriller, Suspense
Length: Novel (196 pages)
Publisher: Pride Publishing (9 Feb 2016)
Heat Level: Explicit
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥ 3.5 Hearts
Blurb: What happens when happily ever after ends in heartbreak?
After surviving a harrowing ordeal in Las Vegas, Javi Campos and Adam Brand seemed destined for a lifetime of love. However, life and insecurities got in the way, and Javi left, nearly destroying Adam in the process.
They’ve spent ten years apart, but circumstances bring them together again. Now a personal escort, Javi is terrified when his companion for the evening is killed in the bed they shared. As the obvious suspect, he turns to the only man in Portland he knows he can trust…his former lover, Adam.
Adam is shocked to hear from Javi, but he believes in him and agrees to help. The investigation takes them into the backstabbing world of Big Pharma as well as the religious homophobic culture of Russian Old Believers. While attempting to find the real killer, Adam and Javi have no choice but to deal with their lingering feelings for each other.
The situation might be the catalyst they need to finally find their long-awaited happily ever after. But first they have to solve the case before either one of them becomes the next victim.
Review: Hiding in Plain Sight is the sequel to Ethan Stone’s 2014 book, Vegas Hustle. To be completely honest, I did not realize that this was a series until it came to looking up information for this review, so this does easily read as a standalone without missing details that scream “go back to book 1”. I was really torn when it came to rating this book. I wanted it to be a 4, but there were some things that I could just not overlook and in the end settled on my 3.5 heart rating.
After being apart for ten years, wealthy Adam Brand gets a call from the ex who broke his heart, Javi. Javi who was a hustler and now an escort left Adam 10 years ago after a harrowing experience together in Vegas where Javi saved Adam because he believed that he was holding Adam back from going to college, etc. Something that really didn’t need to happen if only the two guys actually communicated, but I won’t get into that because that was not a problem.
Now living home in Portland with his father still, Adam is in his early thirties and still not really over Javi. This is evident when he think that he sees Javi in an upscale restaurant and his best friend, Cory, starts harping on about Javi being the scum of the earth. But the truth is Javi is in Portland as part of his job as an escort to wealthy men, he actually lives in Washington but a couple of clients bring him to Portland and in the orbit of Adam. When one of his clients is murdered while the two men were sleeping, Javi turns to the one man in his life he has ever trust – Adam. And Adam comes to the rescue.
Ok, so I need to say this, I really enjoyed the book. I loved the sexual tension between Adam and Javi, it was clear that these guys belong together. I loved the mystery, the thriller and the suspense of the overall plot. The plot and character development, as well as the pace of the book, are exactly spot on.
I just have a couple of issues: I was really annoyed by the vigilante justice where Adam basically shuts out the police to solve the crime. It also annoyed me that the police detective so happily went along with getting information from Adam without thinking of implications for when it came to court. Was it his wealth and influence that allowed it to be accepted? I’m not sure, probably, but it did annoy me.
Another big thing that got to me was the conspiracy theory “woo-woo” about “Big Pharma”. Once I read the ridiculous line “it won’t make money to cure people so Big Pharma will never sell it”, I was thoroughly disappointed being that I know the nature of the scientific process I found a lot of that part unbelievable. Seriously, every scientist especially those working for companies have to have their notes accessible and in a form that can be audited upon request. However, I will admit that I found the stuff about the religious Russian sect, Prava, quite interesting.
As for the ending, although it was satisfying, I really do wish that there had been more to it. All the loose ends were tied up quite nicely. I’m just being greedy and want to know more. It also leaves me wondering if one of the minor characters might get his own story and a chance at a happily ever after.