Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Review of Blood Ties by Kay Hooper

From The Weekender (Northeast PA) --

NOVEL APPROACH: The ties that bind --

by Kacy Muir --
02/23/2010 --

“Blood Ties” is the newest thriller from acclaimed novelist, Kay Hooper. Since her first publication in the early ’80s, Hooper has managed to outlast some of her contemporaries by transcending from romance to thriller. Though there are many categories of thriller fiction, Hooper gives readers a breath of fresh air by incorporating crime with the paranormal.

The story begins in Serenade, Tenn., and brings forward characters from past Bishop/Special Crimes Unit novels. However, this novel does not begin with Noah Bishop, leader of the FBI crime unit, but instead, his wife, Special Agent Miranda Bishop. After Noah’s slight leave of absence, Miranda spearheads the unit.

Miranda and her crew are called to the scene when a runner finds a dead man on a popular woodsy path. The body is mutilated to the point that “flesh and muscle had been somehow stripped from the bones” and “internal organs were gone, including the eyes” and scalp.

When the case goes from one homicide to multiple, the SCU knows that it has a serial killer on its hands. It becomes even more personal when those in the unit realize they are no longer hunting the killer but being hunted themselves: “They knew the bodies were bait and this was a trap, for Bishop and for the SCU.”

The SCU, which is composed of the Bishops, Quentin Hayes, Hollis Templeton, Diana Brisco and Reese DeMarc, all have psychic capacities that aid in criminal cases. They are the elite — agents who have the ability to see something that that most cannot. At first, the bureau is unsure how evidence will be reputed by telepathic phenomena. But later, readers are told that the group is among the 90th percentile, proving that it remains highly professional and successful in solving cases.

The novel, which is both edifying and riveting, is the conclusion to previous books “Blood Dreams” and “Blood Sins.” The dialogue is also quite realistic, and while it is sometimes hard to recognize one character from another in other fiction thrillers, Hooper makes each character unique.

The only real issue in reading this novel is not due to the author. One can be entertained and thrilled by this book; however, it is best to read the whole “Blood” series. That said, Hooper added succinct footnotes for the reader to offer you further direction to understand a given scene. Furthermore, following the epilogue, Hooper wrote character bios for clarification.

The conclusion of the book is unexpected, and Hooper molds the end in a dramatically beautiful way through the language. The book is a must-read, and, without giving too much away, it is not without some sadness as readers will find that one Bishop will fail to reappear in another series.

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