Hooper’s latest in her Bishop/Special Crimes Unit series (Blood Ties, 2010, etc.) takes readers to a small North Carolina mountain town with the operatives of Haven.
Haven, the privately held pet project of a billionaire interested in psychic phenomena and crime fighting, sends its operative Jessie home to Baron Hollow, the town she fled 15 years earlier. When Jessie ran, she left behind her younger sister, Emma, and cold, reserved father. Since then, their father has died and Emma now runs the ancestral family home as an inn. But Jessie needs to return home in order to resolve exactly what sent her fleeing Baron Hollow in the first place. When she arrives, she and operative Nathan Navarro, a fellow psychic sent to back her up without her knowledge, each sense a dark presence in the town. Soon, Navarro turns up the body of a young woman in the wild mountains and hiking trails near the town, and there’s little doubt in Navarro’s mind that a serial killer is working in the area. Jessie has come to the same conclusion after seeing several ghosts bearing warnings. And even Emma, who has never openly admitted to a penchant for psychic ability, is uneasy and suffering from bad dreams in which she keeps seeing young women brutalized and murdered. Before long, Jessie starts digging up painful past personal history and making waves in a town where everyone knows everyone and everyone knows everyone else’s business. And, while Jessie puzzles through to find an answer to all that’s tormenting her, the killer continues to target helpless young women who stumble into the Hollow. Hooper weaves an intricate and complicated story into a coherent plot with plenty of twists and turns, but the tale she tells is dark and sometimes difficult to read. There’s also an element of recklessness about Jessie’s personality and reactions to obvious danger that’s both discomfiting and unconvincing. However, Hooper is a good storyteller and manages to make it all seem believable.
A paranormal thriller that’s sure to please both Hooper’s fans and those who like the genre.