Source: DRC via NetGalley (Doubleday Books, Doubleday)
*Note: This was an unsolicited DRC offer and it was an amazing surprise! Thank you Doubleday!
Pub. Date: March 8, 2022
Previous novels in the series: Two Girls Down, The Janes
Why did I choose to read this book?
I logged into my gmail one day in late February to find this lovely book sitting in my inbox. I did not request it but I was so glad to have early access! I will shout the praises of Louisa Luna to anyone who will listen, and have even bought copies of Two Girls Down and The Janes for friends and family. Honestly it was less about choosing to read this book as it was rushing to read it asap once it was on my Kindle!
What is notable about the story?
There is something about the Alex Vega stories that will hook smart girls down on their luck. The character Alex Vega is a bloodhound that trips over doing what’s right in the process of doing what she’s been paid to do. Those two objectives become so interwoven that you forget what we were doing and you just want Vega to beat the absolute shit out of someone to exact delicious vengeance on behalf of the innocent. In Two Girls Down it was kidnapping, in The Janes it was child trafficking, and in Hideout Vega is in search of a missing football star and stumbles on a nest of white supremacist violence in small town Oregon. As she writes book after book, Luna is commenting not only on the evils festering in American society but probably also about the ways we may have to act in order to burn them away.
Luna has the amazing gift of wrapping you up in the story so you feel as though you are seeing the story through Vega’s eyes. Her books are the most vivid virtual reality; once I looked up and saw I had been reading for an hour without realizing it. There is a sequence towards the end where I was almost panting with anticipation, the revenge so sweet I swear I could taste it. And what makes everything work is that Luna makes us earn the revenge, she gives the action time to settle before we set out with a gun and a glint in our eye.
Was anything not so great?
I want to preface this with the fact that I get it. Max Caplan and Alex Vega got VERY HOT in The Janes, and the nature of both of their characters would be to shy away from each other as though they had been shocked by electricity. Both Caplan and Vega have to think about what they mean to each other, what their work together means for them professionally, and how their entanglement might create unforseen consequences inflicted on the people they love separately (notably Nell, Caplan’s daughter at the end of The Janes).
I understand what she was doing here, and thematically it makes sense so I’m willing to see how it pays off in the next book, but I was still upset about Max essentially being a paranoid dad on the sidelines, just looking for another “thrill of the hunt” bump while trying to be a protective dad, and just being miserable in general. He’s such a good person and he and Vega are so good together, that I really missed having them be together in Hideout. Absence makes the heart grow fonder though, and Luna’s ability to make us earn our moments will undoubtedly pay off for us as readers on this front, so again this is a small quibble because I know the wait will be worth it.
What’s the verdict?
5 stars to Luna on Goodreads, and if you want to see some sweet justice brought down on the heads of white supremacists both old and young (especially since there isn’t a lot of that happening in the real world) go get this absolute gobsmacker of a mystery/thriller. And if you haven’t read them yet, get Two Girls Down and The Janes too, and read them in order to get the heft of the Vega/Caplan development. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
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