Hiding in Plain Sight by Ethan Stone ~ Book Review by Ulysses

hidinginplainsight_exlarge_PNG-180x288Title: Hiding in Plain Sight

Author: Ethan Stone

Publisher: Pride Publishing

Cover Artist: Posh Gosh

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Publication Date: 02/09/2016

Length: Novel (~ 50K-100K)

Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Thriller

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.

General Release Date: 9th February 2016

My View:

Adam Brand still feels the heartache caused by Javier Campos’ abandonment a decade ago. But when he thinks he catches a glimpse of his ex in a Portland hotel, his heart speeds up. And then, when Javier calls Adam in the middle of the night, desperate and afraid, no amount of past pain can stop him from going to the aid of the man he still loves in spite of everything.

Ethan Stone gives us a quirky situation and a set of characters that expand the horizon of m/m romance. When your protagonists are a young black corporate executive and a high-priced Hispanic escort, you’ve entered the land of inclusion—even if both Adam and Javier have all the physical requisites for romance. Stone brings in a right-wing Russian Orthodox splinter group, closeted pharmaceutical scientists, a controlling parent, and best friends who can’t seem to keep from meddling. As he pursues answers to the murder mystery to save Javier, Adam also considers the reasons behind Javier’s sudden departure all those years ago. Born rich and raised with every avenue open to him, Adam has never quite understood the way Javier sees the world. It is a testimony to his essential fairness that he does his best to forgive, even if he can never forget.

Before I read “Hiding in Plain Sight” I quickly read through the novella prequel, “Vegas Hustle.” I’m glad to report that this book is up to the standard of writing I expected from Ethan Stone.  “Vegas Hustle,” the short-form story that introduced us to Adam and Javier, is a hot mess, reading more like the outline of a potentially good novel than a finished piece of writing. That was all about missed opportunities, but “Hiding in Plain Sight” gives us a fully-fleshed out narrative with characters who relate to the world like the young adults they are. Adam is a little arrogant and rather too sure of himself. I suppose this comes of being born with a silver spoon in one’s mouth. Javier, on the other hand, who’s used his wits and his body to survive his whole life, is a remarkably generous character. It was somehow easier for me to forgive his transgression, especially once I understood the motivation behind it, than it was to ignore Adam’s consistent smug assumption of his own superiority. For all its many flaws, “Vegas Hustle” at least addressed quite specifically the reality of being young and black in a racist world. Grown-up Adam seems barely conscious of his race which, even in a post-Obama America, seems a little unlikely.

Ethan Stone is uneven as a writer, but he tries so hard to bring a fresh viewpoint to the genre he’s in that I have to give him credit and encourage him to keep at it. Our world needs writers like him.

Links

Hiding in Plain Sight on Goodreads
Pride Publishing
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA
All Romance eBooks

I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.

Farewell Giveaway
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.

Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,

Brandilyn
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