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    Engaging supernatural spy debut

    Hidden in Plain Sight is the first full fledged novel from poet and essayist T.S Teller. And for a debut novel, it is quite impressive. Roberta Lake is an assassin for the CIA, although not in the conventional sense. She has psychic abilities, and use them to perform the tasks assigned to her by a black project (one could imagine is an offshoot of the old MK-ULTRA program). She’s not the only operative in this program, as we get to meet several others, each with specific skills, but none being near as powerful as Roberta. Despite being a dark project, the purpose of Roberta’s employers seems quite benevolent. The people she is asked to dispatch more than deserve their fate. To distance herself from the killings, Roberta built herself a second, cold, personality, Bobbi Waters. She invokes her when she has to work. At many points along the story, we are led to wonder if Bobbi is just a tool she’s using to cope, or if her mind ended up fracturing. Could the murderous Bobby one day take over (as the Hulk persona takes over Dr Banner in moments of great anger), and maybe permanently ? Several other questions arise even earlier, from the very premise of the book. How do the « ungifted » supervisors of the program can assert control over such powerful individuals ? (And we indeed witness some tensions at the top management). Are there factions in the agency that would use her for more nefarious goals, and/or try to build an army of similar assassins ? Are there outside parties aware of the program, and eager to acquire similar powers ? As a consequence of several events, Roberta comes to ask herself the same questions, and starts doubting who she can and should trust, thus sending the story on an enthralling path. In spite of its supernatural premise, Hidden in Plain Sight mostly reads like a well crafted spy thriller. The final acts are fast paced and action packed. The first chapters captured my attention through curiosity and then, the sheer intensity held me captive for the reminder of the novel. I’ve read this book in one sitting, and this speaks for itself. T.S Teller managed to build a very interesting universe and I, for one, wouldn’t mind to see more of it. A few clues let me think the author kept some doors open to return to this world at some point, and I would gladly jump aboard for the ride. Thanks to BHC Press and Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for this unbiased review.

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