Thursday, August 30, 2012

Haven - Kay Hooper

A Bishop/Special Crimes Unit Novel
Kay Hooper
Fifteen years ago, Jessie Rayburn put her hometown of Baron Hollow in her rearview mirror and vowed never to return.  She has fragmented memories about a terrible experience that she’s managed to ignore until recently.  Jessie works as a psychic investigator for Haven, a private organization that sometimes teams with law enforcement.  Her time there has made her feel strong enough to return home and uncover the facts about that last, terrible summer, in order to move on with her life.
Emma Rayburn, Jessie’s sister, stayed in Baron Hollow and now runs Rayburn House, an inn.  Recently, Emma sustained a head injury.  Since then, she’s been plagued by nightmares.  In her nightmares, women are being tortured and killed.  Her doctor explains it away as part of her brain’s healing process, but Emma has a gut feeling that there’s more to it.  When a visiting writer (really Nathan Navarro, another Haven operative) discovers human remains, Emma knows it’s the woman from her latest nightmare.  If this woman is real, maybe the others are, too.  Which means there could be a serial killer loose in her hometown.
For the benefit of new readers, the author puts the Author’s Note right up front.  This is the latest (#13) in a long-running series of interconnected books.  I haven’t read the rest, but I had no problem understanding Haven and the various operatives.  Clearly, there are connections between characters that were made ages ago, but that just makes the organization seem like a real workplace, with people whose lives intersect over the course of years.  The author does a great job of providing background information and letting new readers feel at home.

The story itself is the best kind of thriller.  The basic plot is that of a serial killer who has plied his trade in the area, without anyone noticing, for some time.  Several characters make use of various psychic skills in order to unravel the mystery, and the author kindly provides a few brief bios and a glossary of those psychic skills at the end of the book.  The characters are very much real people who happen to have unusual (or not) talents.  The pacing is pitch-perfect, never flagging for a moment, with surprising twists along the way.  I’d very much like to see more novels in this series.
Rating: 8
August 2012
ISBN# 978-0-425-25874-3 (hardcover)


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