Kay Hooper's romantically suspenseful trio of books have two main things in common, the first of which is the existence of psychic powers. The main characters in each of these books have psychic talent, some different and stronger than others but always present and always important for the actions in the book --- the mysteries are solved by these psychic powers. The second thing these books have in common is the existence of one character, Noah Bishop, an FBI man who plays a very limited role in the first book, a bit more important one in the second and, in a sense, stars in the third.
If the reader can completely suspend their disbelief and accept the existence of psychic powers, then they can enjoy these books as an engaging and entertaining series of stories. Hooper starts out slowly, introducing this concept to us in such a way that by the time we realize how many people possess these powers, it becomes easier for us to accept. These books also contain a powerful strain of romance, so be prepared for that as well.
The first book, STEALING SHADOWS, takes place in a small town in North Carolina. Cassie Neill, who has just moved into her deceased aunt's house, goes to visit Judge Ben Ryan, a fairly young man who is now District Attorney. She tells him that she has been inside the mind of a serial killer who will kill again. Naturally, Ryan and the sheriff are reluctant to accept this --- until they find the body of Becky Smith with her throat cut, that is. Then Ryan, at least, is willing to believe that Cassie has some sort of power. As the killings continue, Cassie tries to get back into the mind of the serial killer, although this is extremely dangerous for her; she fled California precisely because she had gotten too involved in the minds of killers. Finally, in a very exciting denouement, the murderer is identified and appropriately punished with the assistance of Noah Bishop. Hooper manages to bring a fresh view to a fairly conventional plot, and the reader will be deeply involved in what is at times teeth clenching suspense.
In HIDING IN THE SHADOWS, Kane MacGregor and Dinah Leighton are living together, although Kane would like to make the commitment firmer. One day Dinah simply disappears, and no one has any idea what happened to her. Just about the time Dinah disappears, Faith Parker, who has been in a coma, wakes up and has absolutely no idea who she is or how she happens to be in the hospital. Faith is amazed to learn that Dinah often visited her --- and that Dinah has paid all her bills and rent for six months in advance and left her a living allowance. Faith knows only one thing: she has been having very sensual dreams about a specific man. She is shocked when she sees a picture of Kane and realizes that he is the man she has been dreaming of. Noah Bishop, the FBI agent who helped find the killer in the first book, appears in HIDING IN THE SHADOWS as Kane's best friend. He is psychic, as is Dinah; and Faith feels she is somehow in contact with Dinah, tortured by a lost memory and a connection she does not understand.
Again, this is an exciting read and was my personal favorite of the three books. The suspense is handled very well, although the ending perhaps did not meet my full satisfaction. However, the main characters are strong and the story well-told. Overall, it is a great book in which to lose oneself for a long afternoon.
OUT OF THE SHADOWS brings Noah Bishop into full focus --- out of the shadows, so to speak. Once again the story takes place in a small town, where the sheriff, Miranda Knight, and her younger sister are fairly new in town. As the story opens, they have found the body of a second tortured and murdered teenager. Although she has not let on to anyone, Miranda has psychic abilities and she uses them to try to hunt down clues. This time there are none, however, so she agrees to call in a special FBI unit of psychics chosen for their unique abilities, trained to deal with the difficulties of certain situations and headed by Noah Bishop.
It turns out that Knight and Bishop (chess pieces, as someone said) have a past history --- Bishop did something so horrible to Knight that she will only deal with him on a business basis. He, however, has been searching for her and is determined to use this opportunity not only to find the serial killer but to persuade Knight that he is very sorry for what he did. As they continue to find bodies, Knight has a precognition that is very revealing about the future.
This book is well-told and suspenseful, and the characters are fairly well drawn. As with the other two, this is an easy and fast read that provides entertainment in the process. However, there are a great many violent descriptions in this book as well as graphic sex, so be warned. While not as well done as SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, all three of these books will appeal to those who enjoyed that book and the others in its series. As fables, STEALING SHADOWS, HIDING IN THE SHADOWS, and OUT OF THE SHADOWS are amusing, and I can certainly recommend them to those who enjoy this type of book.
Reviewed by Sally Fellows, email@example.com on August 29, 2000