Title: Hiding in Plain Sight (Camp H.O.W.L #3)
House Line: Dreamspun Beyond #28
Author: Bru Baker
Release Date: September 18, 2018
Genre(s): Paranormal Romance
Page Count: 256 pages
Reviewed by: ColinJ
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 2 stars out of 5
A Camp H.O.W.L. Novel
Happily ever after is right under their noses.
Harris has been keeping a big secret for years—his unrequited mate bond with his best friend, Jackson. He’s convinced himself that having Jackson in his life is enough. That, and his work at Camp H.O.W.L., keeps him going.
Things get complicated when Jackson applies for a high-ranking Tribunal job in New York City—far from Camp H.O.W.L. The position requires he relinquish all Pack bonds… and that’s when his wolf decides to choose a mate. Suddenly Jackson sees his best friend in a sizzling new light.
Their chemistry is through the roof, but they’re setting themselves up for broken hearts—and broken bonds—if Jackson can’t figure out a way to balance his career and the love that’s just been waiting for him to take notice.
The writing style of the series remains strong with emphasis on characterisation. It is disappointing therefore that this, the final book in the series, should be largely a restyling of relationship development seen in both of the previous books. The concept of a camp to allow for teens to pass through their first turn as werewolves was quite different from other books on the genre, but the environment largely remains static and although there are scenes in other locations the camp just doesn’t seem complex enough to hold three books.
Where this book differs from the others is that other faery creatures are introduced. One wonders where they were in the preceding books. The use of such creatures should have allowed for a different approach to characterisation, allowing for the development of backstory, history and cultural differences. Sadly none of this is here, the characters are presented but there is nothing that really distinguishes them from humans or werewolves. Hints are provided about this larger faery world but they are not explored. As such there is no real reason for them to be used, in fact, their relevance to the plot and their physical presence is marginal. What they do provide is an opportunity to visit a different location.
The focus of the story is a young starlet. Once again, much more could have been made of how her life is affected by becoming a werewolf. There is no discussion of family or any noticeable backstory.
As noted above the relationship between the two lead characters is a variation on the theme used in the other books. It would have been interesting to see something other than ‘he is my mate but he is not interested in me that way’, a series of misunderstandings that are resolved quickly without any residual angst. The sex is satisfactory but offers nothing that hasn’t been seen before in the series, different partners, same responses.
The action obviously centres around the arrival of the new girl and what happens as a result of this. Where tension is introduced it is at a distance so there is nothing visceral about the action. The consequences are also something that is not dealt with in any detail. There is always something going on, but there is a sense of the familiar and repetition. In addition, the action sequences are quite predictable.
At the end of the book, all of the threads are resolved with a number of skips forward in time. The story comes to a conclusion but there is nothing that rounds off the series. As such it takes feedback from the author to make clear that although the focus of the stories has concluded there will be more books to follow that are within the same world.