Review: Hidden (The Texas Murder Files #1) by Laura Griffin

Rating: 8/10

Synopsis

When a woman is found brutally murdered on Austin’s lakeside hike-and-bike trail, investigative reporter Bailey Rhoads turns up on the scene demanding access and answers. She tries to pry information out of the lead detective, Jacob Merritt. But this case is unlike any he’s ever seen, and nothing adds up.

Bailey has a hunch the victim wasn’t who she claimed to be and believes this mugging-turned-murder could have been a targeted hit. When she digs deeper, the trail leads her to a high-tech fortress on the outskirts of Austin where researchers are pushing the boundaries of a cutting-edge technology that could be deadly in the wrong hands.

As a ruthless hit man’s mission becomes clear, Bailey and Jacob must embark on a desperate search to locate the next target before the clock ticks down on this lethal game of hide and seek.

Review

When I picked up Hidden, I was expecting a more run-of-the-mill cheap thriller-type of novel (which I enjoy from time-time when I need a light read); And, while there are certainly elements of that, this book has a few different elements to the story that makes the narrative a little deeper and more enjoyable. Clearly, Laura Griffin is a veteran, professional writer who has made a living off of suspense and does not look to be stopping any time soon.

In a book like this, there is no surprise it is very character-driven. Most of the focus for the reader is on Bailey, the reporter-cum-investigator who gets deeply involved in the murder case about which she is reporting. Most of the book is told from Bailey’s perspective, and her own personal history is examined in depth. Getting to know the main protagonist intimately is par for the course for the genre, but that does not make it any less intriguing. Bailey has a really interesting past, and they way the author uses that to connect her emotionally to the current murder case is a real narrative driver for this book.

Speaking of characters, the other main protagonist is Jacob – the hunky and mysterious detective who takes the lead on the case. His character is interesting, as well, if typical. He does not like journalists and tries to keep information about the case close to the vest. Bailey is persistent, though, and of course he has trouble resisting. Jacob also has a little bit of a sketchy past, and that is part of the draw for him, as well.

As for the main storyline, it is very relevant as it gets into technology and its effect on today’s world. I do not want to spoil too much, here, but it is a bit of a cautionary tale as far as how technology has progressed and our decisions to determine how it gets used for good and bad. This is another example of the depth that Griffin has created in this book. It is murder and technology and checkered pasts and slow-burn romance, which made for a fun and intriguing read for me. I also appreciate how the romance was not overdone, and thus did not over shadow the main storyline. It is a nice secondary narrative that compliments the rest of the book really well.

All in all, Hidden is a good book. It kept my interest with the many layers and depth, plus the emotional connections the characters have both to each other and the case. Recommended for fans of mysteries/thrillers.

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