Laura Griffin
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Berkley Books
Release Date
August 2020
Book 1 of The Texas Murder Files
Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense/Mystery

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.

Book Review by Pip (reviewer)
Aug 14, 2020   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
43 people found the following review helpful
3.5 stars rounding down.

It's hard not to get excited with every Laura Griffin release, and HIDDEN was one that got my extremely curious as the first book of a new series even if the premise of it doesn't seem to stray too far from Griffin's near-legendary Tracers books.

I liked that HIDDEN wasn't quite just a typical police procedural about a reporter and a detective trying to solve a murder mystery; Ms. Griffin pulled in larger forces at work and called into question the entire justice system, the security of WITSEC and how technology played a part in tearing holes in what used to be well-established structures and secure channels. So a simple murder mystery it wasn't, more so because HIDDEN dealt with people who were meant to be kept safe but ended up falling through the cracks.

The suspense was fantastically pacey as always, well-plotted and written with finesse. The romance however, was that I started to question early on, given that Bailey Rhoads and Jacob Merritt seemed to be at odds most of the time--with a relationship that was sustained only by the ongoing case and subsisted on evasion and lies by omission.

Ms. Griffin made the law enforcement position a more sympathetic one here and by extension, Jacob's role in pursuing justice. In contrast, it was harder to like Bailey: a pushy, borderline TSTL reporter who insisted on doing investigative work her own way when it was clear she was getting out of her depth, recklessly endangering not only herself but secondary characters who sometimes felt like a means to an end for her. (Then again, reporters aren't really on my list as the best heroines in romantic fiction.)

But what struck me most however, was the superficiality of Jacob/Bailey's relationship even by the end of the book: there was always a lack of openness and honesty between them throughout and I couldn't imagine them building anything emotionally solid given their conflicting professions, much less Ms. Griffin's HEA/HFN that ended the book abruptly.

HIDDEN is by and large, a pretty good Griffin offering, but not the best, I think--it's still a solid entry into a new series, but not quite one that matches the breathlessness and excitement that I've come to associate with some of her best works.
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Book Review by Ashia (reviewer)
Oct 28, 2020   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
29 people found the following review helpful
One reason i always come back to Laura Griffin is that she delivers. Once again, HIDDEN is the perfect blend of suspense, a great plot and mystery that keeps you guessing. It's just the romance that's a bit lacking for me...plus the lies and omissions the H/h had going on throughout the book as part of their professions, although I thought they might have a good start at turning this around when they agreed to be honest with each other as long as they don't violate ethical considerations that go with their jobs.

I don't really like reporters as protagonists but Bailey grew on me, plus she has integrity and principles, which I love. She's also tenacious in going after what she wants, i.e. investigating the story, and not giving up even when it seems dead ends abound.

Jacob is the kind of cop you wish more of them exists. He fights for the victim's justice, even when he was already taken off the case, and he (and his partner) continues investigating at the risk of his (their) career. I'm not even sure such a person does exist. I think his character is a bit idealistic, though he's written realistically.

Laura Griffin has long been on my auto-buy list, and the consistent great stories she releases over the years cements her place there. Can't wait to get my hands on her next book!
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