Haven (A Bishop/SCU Novel)
by Kay Hooper
Review by Harriet Klausner
Berkley Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780425258743
Date: 31 July 2012 List Price $26.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Unlike her estranged sister Jessie, Emma Rayburn has remained in her hometown of Baron Hollow, North Carolina all her life. Recently Emma has suffered from horrific nightmares, which as she writes in her journal after waking from each bad dream starts with someone hunting a woman and ends with the female dead at the hands of a brutal malevolent force. She checks whether there are any reported dead or missing women, but learns none have been reported. Distraught Emma fears going to sleep as the dreams seem nightmarishly real though she rationalizes that they are just the results of her imagination going crazy.
Haven psychic investigator Jessie comes home after fifteen years away to resolve her adolescent issues that led to her leaving town because she knows her teen traumas left her less than what she should be. Her plan is to confront what harmed her. However she is shocked that Emma's dormant psychic powers are surfacing in her sibling's dreams. Feeling she owes her sister for not being there for her, Jessie investigates Emma's nightmares as well as her own.
The residents of Barrow Hollow prove uncooperative as memories of what she could do leave them frightened and they want her to leave. Jessie concludes that Emma's dreams are psychic visions of a serial killer hunting the townsfolk. At the same time, Haven investigator Nathan Navarro and others are in town seeking the serial killer.
The thirteenth FBI Special Crimes Unit paranormal police procedural (see Blood Ties and Blood Dreams) is an exciting action-packed thriller from the moment the two sisters see each other for the first time since Jessie left town. The fully developed siblings have different personalities, but share in common the psychic gift though both consider it more of a curse.
Having a psychopath operating in the rustic bucolic North Carolina setting enhances the tension as most readers will not expect such lethal rage to occur in what is generally considered a haven as opposed to the expected violence of a big city.
The support cast includes the townsfolk, ghost-busters, a reporter, the killer and Navarro are developed enough to add to the suspense, but their actions at times along with the Rayburn sisters (whose solo acts make sense) seem inane as each goes it alone in a sort of Jason teen slasher movie rather than teaming up with one another. Additionally two glossaries help newcomers better understand the psychic world of Kay Hooper as she writes another exciting and enthralling paranormal thriller.