HAUNTED - Kay Hooper
A Bishop/Special Crimes Unit Novel
Berkley (Hardcover)
September 2014
Suspense Fiction w/ Paranormal Elements

Sociable, Georgia

Sociable is not normally the sort of town that would be associated with the strange deaths that have been occurring in and around the tiny town. The murders started with some missing hikers in the hills and mountains of northern Georgia, around Sociable, but now the murders have hit close to home, with a weird death that can't be explained occurring right in town. Crystal County Sheriff Trinity Deacon suddenly finds she has her hands full, not just because the murders are strange and disturbing, but also because they have attracted a slightly different group of FBI agents to Sociable. One of them, Deacon James, is taking some much needed time off to visit his sister Melanie, a transplant to Sociable who has asked him for help. Deacon is employed by the Bishop SCU, an FBI Unit that operates somewhat outside of the normal boundaries, especially since almost all of the FBI agents in the unit have special talents that most people don't understand. Trinity is familiar with Bishop and knows that Deacon's assistance and that of the other two profilers who show up in Sociable may be just what is needed to solve these strange murders. There is definitely something otherworldly going on in Sociable, but the question is what... and why?

HAUNTED, the third installment in this trilogy (after HAVEN and HOSTAGE), is a compelling, creepy and thrilling read. I say creepy because the whole atmosphere of the town this latest thriller is set in has a strange and slightly disturbing feel. It is small and remote, located where a town shouldn't be located, in parts of northern Georgia, where an extraordinary large number of residents have "gifts", and by that I mean the "woo woo" kind.  I just kept thinking that if I had inadvertently passed through Sociable, I probably wouldn't be able to get out of there fast enough. But, not surprisingly, Hooper's fictitious Sociable is perfect for the third story in this paranormal thriller. Although reading the first two in this series, if not the other twelve before it would give the reader excellent background, HAUNTED can be a stand alone novel. Hooper has a gift for drawing the reader in immediately and bringing her up to speed just as quickly. A novice Hooper reader would have no trouble catching up and staying enthralled to the very end.

Character development in HAUNTED does not disappoint either. Trinity is a strong female who remains remarkably calm and open-minded throughout, which may seem unrealistic, but if she acted any other way the result would be disastrous. She is the vehicle  through which most of the action occurs, even though a large part of the story centers around the other two agents, DeMarco and Hollis and their back story. The introduction of Trinity's dog, Braden, is a wonderful addition to an already action packed story. And the previously mentioned FBI agents are very well fleshed out and become even more so as the story develops.

HAUNTED was a great story and a fast read. Too fast, in fact. I imagine it will be some time before the next novel comes out and I just don't want to wait that long.

Astrid Kinn