Mary Ellis, author of the romantic suspense stories in the Secrets of the South series, spins that series off in the first in a new series. Hiding in Plain Sight introduces the Marked for Retribution mysteries. Her sleuth is young, twenty-five, somewhat awkward at time, and makes some mistakes, but she's likable. Meet Kate Weller, also known as Jill Wyatt.
Kate is on probation as a private detective for Price Investigations. If she makes it, she'll become their traveling detective because she has family problems, and she's always on the run. Before she can get off probation, she's run off the road by a couple men who have a warning for her brother, Liam. Liam's in prison in Florida, and for some reason, he's a threat.
Despite the loss of a car, and Kate's past, her boss hires her and sends her to Charleston on a case, changing her name to Jill Wyatt. Her job is to find a woman whose sister was adopted, but now is dying, needing a liver transplant. As her base, Jill rents an apartment over an Italian restaurant. But, she makes a few mistakes. She becomes personally involved in her case, and, she becomes personally involved with her landlord's family, the Manfredis, And, her landlord, Eric Manfredi, becomes interested in Jill.
While Jill hunts for a woman who doesn't want to be found, the Manfredi family has problems. There's vandalism behind the restaurant, and then a fire in the night, when Jill and Eric's grandmother are in their apartments. Then, the family's business rival is murdered, and Eric's father was the last one to be seen arguing with the man. Just because the police think they have the killer doesn't mean Jill and Eric think they're right.
I did have a few problems with Jill who seems skittish and naive at times, particularly when it comes to Eric. She unprofessionally brings her own feelings and emotions to her cases, which causes problems. And, some readers will want to know that the book has slight religious, faith-based overtones. And, some of us who expect a romantic suspense novel to have a romantic ending may be unhappy with the ending. But, Ellis' readers may be quite happy with this spin-off series.
Mary Ellis' website is www.maryellis.net
Hiding in Plain Sight by Mary Ellis. Severn House, 2018. ISBN 9780727887894 (hardcover), 224p.
FTC Full Disclosure - I received a copy to review for a journal.