Gordon Korman’s Hideout is the fifth and final publication in the well-known Swindle Series. Gordon Korman is perhaps my favorite author and a fairly accomplished one, with over 75 titles to his name. In fact, his book Swindle was not long ago made into a Nickelodeon movie.
In Hideout, Korman keeps the Swindle Series going with another fun adventure. In the first book, Griffin Bing and his friends took on an unethical guy they call “Swindle” who stole a $ 1.2 million baseball card from them.
After revealing Swindle and ruining their store, they also take possession of their guard dog, Luthor. Luthor is a vicious dog, but Griffin’s good friend Savannah is basically a dog whisperer and becomes close friends with him.
In Hideout, Swindle is back and wants to get Luthor back. Needless to say, Savannah is not going to allow that to happen. At the time of this adventure, the gang is away for the camp, and they have to coordinate a series of incredibly challenging plans to stop Swindle’s hired thugs from getting Luthor back. There is no one better to organize it than Griffin Bing, the “Man of the Plan”.
Griffin and his friends are all stationed at three different campgrounds. Palomino sends his thugs to the 3, and they have to hide the pooch not only from the thugs but also from the rest of the camp. The novel is divided into three separate sections or hideouts, each focusing on the period in which Luthor is staying at their respective summer camps.
Hideout begins when the stray dog stows away with Griffin and Savannah at their summer camp. Once Swindle knows his whereabouts, they have to switch Luthor to Melissa and Logan. Melissa became a member of the Griffin gang due to her impressive computer knowledge, and Logan due to her acting skills.
They finally deliver Luthor to Pitch and Ben. Pitch is a fantastic climber, and Ben is the boy from the small spaces and Griffin’s best friend. Each member of the gang has their own unique specialty that allows them to succeed together as a team.
This book is full of humor. Despite the fact that the group is being hunted by a criminal and his thugs, this novel is constantly interspersed with the very funny personalities of each of the group members and tons of jokes. The ending, where Palomino and his hired goons go toe-to-toe with Griffin and his friends, is one of the best parts of the book and is filled with a lot of humor.
This is an exceptionally well-written story and another amazing addition to the Swindle series. It can’t be easy to keep creating successful independent books when you get to the fifth book in a series featuring the same characters. Surprisingly, Korman is up to the challenge.
Truth be told, though, I’m not that excited for the next book in this series, Jackpot. If I were in Korman’s position, I would stop this series at this point, due to the fact that I personally feel like the series is getting a bit long on the tooth. How many times can you get excited reading about the same children having a variation of basically the same adventure?
However, that does not detract from the strength of this novel. I highly recommend that tweens (around 9-12) read Hideout. Take a look at the remarkable reviews of this book on Amazon. There is literally no one person who says they or their kids didn’t like the hideout. Korman’s books are sure to please children, and this story is no exception.
However, before reading this book, I advise you to read the original Swindle. Although it is not necessary to understand and appreciate history, it does help a lot to understand the understanding of
story. Plus, Swindle is an amazing story.
In general, there are not many criticisms that I can give to Hideout. For most of his writing days, Korman wrote comedy books. It was only in the late 90s that he started writing action / adventure. I feel like now he has managed to merge these two styles to create a suspenseful yet hilarious book. Hideout is classic Korman at its finest.