Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Hide Out by Katie Allen

TITLE: Hide Out
AUTHOR: Katie Allen
PUBLISHER: Ellora’s Cave
LENGTH: Novel (roughly 79k)
GENRE: Gay contemporary erotic romance
COST: $6.99

Officer Pete Giordano gets the opportunity not only to escape some of the homophobia of his workplace, but to better his odds at a promotion. All he has to do is keep a witness to a major trial safe. That witness is the gorgeous Trevor, on the run since his father tried killing him after he witnessed a murder. Pete takes Trevor to the small town of Honeysuckle two hours away, where they pose as a gay couple renovating their new house. Their attraction sizzles, but neither is aware the other is gay. At least, not right away…

While I enjoyed the book preceding this one, I wasn’t so bowled over that I had to jump out and read the next. That’s why this has languished on my TBR pile for over a year. In the end, while I probably enjoyed it about the same, I did so for different reasons.

Pete is a cop not really comfortable with his sexuality. He’s never had a relationship, only hook-ups, and he’s recently been getting a little more flack at work. His captain offers him the chance to babysit a witness to a murder trial, the gorgeous Trevor. Trevor is a reluctant witness. He’d still be hiding from his father if the cops on the case hadn’t found him and dragged him back to testify. Pete decides that instead of hiding in a city that might be predictable, he’ll take Trevor to the small town of Honeysuckle. Pete recently bought a house there in dire need of renovation, and it seems like the perfect cover to keep Trevor busy and out of the way until the trial. Their attraction is mutual and sizzling, though it takes a while for them to even tell the other they’re gay. Once they initiate a physical relationship, things start hitting the fan, including a murder and a drop-in visit from old friends Rhodes and Wash.

Trevor and Pete have a warm, affable charm that comes through almost from the beginning. Though Trevor is sullen at first, there are flashes of humor in between his sniping and sarcasm, enough to keep me going until Pete is able to break down more of those walls. Pete is the real find in this. His quiet intensity shields a softer side, one that yearns for a real relationship if the idea terrifies him. I loved how protective he was without being overbearing about it, even though he tried. Trevor was having none of that, however. He rebelled whenever he could, though partially because he loved it so much when Pete went all dominant on him. The dialogue between them is fun, and their chemistry sparkles. I did grow weary of all the sex scenes, but it’s an EC book. The large number was to be expected.

What didn’t really work for me was the murder that got dropped into the middle of the story. While they worked to try and figure out what happened, I kept wondering what any of this had to do with the greater problem of Trevor’s dad and if that would end up getting conveniently resolved. By the time the ending rolled around, I understood more why the murder was a necessary plot point, but I’d been right about the ease in which the witness issue was settled. It ended up being too little too late, though. Resenting and rolling my eyes through a major plot part in the middle of the story is not conducive to falling in love with it, especially when the details and circumstances seemed to stretch the realm of belief.

One quibble I had with the editing is a problem I find in a lot of books where proofing isn’t quite as tight as it could be. Imaging is not the same as imagining. I don’t know how many times I see that mistake made, and it’s frustrating every single time. I know it’s got to be because editors and authors aren’t reading carefully. Skimming through the text, it’s easy to see how the brain would automatically turn that into the word you want to use, but that doesn’t change the fact that it jumps out at me every time I find the mistake. This author is hardly alone in this common error, but it happened more than once in this story, enough to annoy me to the point of needing to mention it.

If there’s a third book, I’m likely to pick it up even though this one didn’t knock my socks off. I keep finding just enough to keep me engrossed. Maybe with the third book, she’ll find a way to blend all her strengths into a single story and make it better than all of its predecessors.


8/10 – Minor errors, and the plot stretches credibility, but a swift, entertaining read

Hero #1

8/10 – I liked his quiet intensity, especially with the soft center he hid

Hero #2

7/10 – His petulance and behavior grates sometimes, but when he let himself relax, he was lovely

Entertainment value

7/10 – Charming with likable characters, but I would’ve enjoyed it more if the murder plot didn’t seem utterly ridiculous

World building

6/10 – Some is done with the small town atmosphere, but a lot of it feels skimmed over



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