Young Kate considers herself a spy in training. She has plenty of practice living at her family’s hotel. She spies on her sister and hides her drugs to keep her out of trouble. She spies on her other sister and keeps her stealing from the cash box a secret by replacing it with her own cash. She sneaks her grandfather’s candy bars and keeps the critical comments at the hotel from her mom and grandmother. When her grandfather’s best friend is murdered the day after Kate hears the two of them arguing she is in for her toughest case yet.
While Kate is trying to help and protect those she loves, there are serious problems going on across town. A homeless man sees a robbery gone wrong, a gang member seeks revenge for the death of his son and a young boy finds himself caught in the middle of one of the town’s murders. While Kate offers shelter to one of these, she is unaware of the danger she is bringing on the family. She tries to hide him and help all while trying to keep the many secrets come to light, some she doesn’t even know about.
Erin Healy has a way of crafting a story like no one else. She brings elements of suspense, mystery and in this case a bit of humor to the story. This story did not have the same elements of the supernatural that the previous novels did but I found it to be my favorite of her books so far. There is really little to no criticisms I have for Hiding Places. I read this quickly and enjoyed every page. Having an eleven year old at the center of a story and keeping her strong and engaging is no easy feat, but was pulled off brilliantly. Kate stays strong throughout and her relationship with each member of the family and those she come in contact with are believable and enjoyable to read. I particularly liked the character of Great Grandma Pearl. She made everyone think she was crazy but was probably the smartest in the whole story. She wasn’t able to do a lot at her age but used her skills to her advantage.
There are a lot of lessons we can come away with here. Things are not always what they appear and everyone has secrets hiding in places we want no one to find. It is a Christian story but with subtle hints, which can sometimes be the best way to get someone thinking that way. Healy can make you think with her writing. Think about life, think about God and think about what you are hiding that needs to be brought to life. I highly recommend this book.