Review: Final Shadows

Review: Final ShadowsFinal Shadows (Bishop Files #3) by Kay Hooper
Published by Berkley on December 31, 2018
Genres: Paranormal
Pages: 336

FINAL DECISION: By the middle of this book, I was reading it only for the story of the characters. The plotline of this book and the entire series has become muddled and bizarre. But I still love the characters; I just wish we could have stayed in the realm of the psychic mysteries and avoided the weird E.T. stuff.

THE STORY: First, the blurb for this book isn’t really related to the story. Tasha and Brodie are in the book, but the book’s narrative really seems more centered around Bishop and Miranda. There isn’t much romance at all, but rather the various couples met in the series are investigating a series of missing psychics and latent psychics. Someone seems to abducting them and then disposing of them. There are various narrative characters who make appearances in the story.

OPINION: This book just makes me sad. I love the characters and in fact, I re-read portions of the characters dialogue and interactions, but the plot is just bad. The whole story undermines the SCU series and takes this to crazy places that I wish it hadn’t gone.

I absolutely love Bishop and Miranda and I continued with this book just because the two are so present in this book. I also enjoyed seeing the other couples and thankfully, we do get to see Tasha and Brodie’s relationship develop more.

I also really enjoyed the meetings between Murphy and Duran. In fact, I thought their relationship — such as it is — was the best developed in the book. There is something sinister and uneasy about their interactions which are interesting and by the end of the book, I wanted to read more about them.

The last few books in this and the SCU series make me really sad. Re-reading the early books in the series gives a real sense of character and menace and mystery. This book seems like an unbelievable explanation for a plot that is too complex.

WORTH MENTIONING: With the talking cat, this series moved away from a series grounded in any type of reality for me.

CONNECTED BOOKS: FINAL SHADOWS is the final book in the Bishop Files trilogy and is also connected with the Bishop/Special Crimes Unit series. I don’t think this can be read as a standalone. I’ve read all the books in both series multiple times and frankly, I couldn’t follow much of the story at this point. Too many references to characters and events without any recap.

STAR RATING: I give this book 2.5 stars.


Review: Hold Back the Dark

Review: Hold Back the DarkHold Back the Dark by Kay Hooper
Series: Bishop/Special Crimes Unit #18
Published by Berkley Books on April 3rd 2018
Genres: Paranormal
Pages: 352

FINAL DECISION: I ended up tremendously disappointed in this book which began as an amazing story with a whole bunch of characters I was interested in, but ended up being resolved (mostly offscreen) in the space of only a couple of pages. In fact, the book felt like a half book with the author’s synopsis at the end. I’m hoping there will be more with this group in the future.

THE STORY: Something is happening in the town of Prosperity. A call has gone out from a mysterious source calling psychics from all over to the town. A series of vicious murders with unlikely killers takes over the town. The SCU along with a rag tag group of people who have rejected joining the SCU must join together to keep the evil contained in Prosperity and find the source before the evil expands.

OPINION: Until the last chapter of this book, I really loved it. It might have been a 5 star book, but definitely a 4 star one. Then the entire book just abruptly ended with a summary resolution that read more like a synopsis than an actual ending for the book.

This book was disappointing and perhaps one of the worst of the series because it completely abandoned the actual storytelling of the paranormal events. The book felt like it should have had another 100 pages instead of just ending the entire plot in a couple of pages with events that were told in a summary fashion.

I was let down because I believed that the beginning of this book showed incredible promise. The book introduces a whole new cast of characters that are intriguing and their interactions show great possibilities. I loved the return of Galen who is now a more reflective, damaged and dark character. And I loved seeing Hollis and Reese (though disappointed that significant events have occurred offstage once again). All the new possibilities raised my interest in the story and I expected that after all the introductions that there would be some real exploration of what is happening in Prosperity. But this book really feels like it is missing its third act. Instead of the well thought out and plotted ending, we only get a cursory explanation of events without any drama or suspense.

This book might be a gateway to more stories (I hope so because I loved the characters), but this book as a whole was a letdown.

WORTH MENTIONING: The blurb of this book is misleading as it focuses on Katie Cole who is merely a bit character and doesn’t really have much to do with the book.

CONNECTED BOOKS: HOLD BACK THE DARK is the eighteenth book in the Bishop/Special Crimes Unit series. I don’t believe these books can operate as standalones because there are numerous overlapping characters, references to prior cases and (especially in this case) some overarching storyline.

STAR RATING: I give this book 2.5 stars.


Review: Wait for Dark

Review: Wait for DarkWait for Dark (Bishop/Special Crimes Unit #17) by Kay Hooper
Series: Bishop/Special Crimes Unit #17
Published by Berkley on March 7th 2017
Genres: Paranormal, Romantic Suspense
Pages: 304

FINAL DECISION:  This is a weird and creepy story (a good thing in this series!) but what I love best is getting more character development from Hollis and more about her relationship with Reese.

THE STORY:  Hollis Templeton has progressed from being a victim to now becoming a team leader for the SCU.  She and her partner Reese DeMarco come to Clarity, North Carolina in order to investigate a series of deaths that appear to be accidents and yet seem like something much more sinister when the sheriff discovers that each victim received a text message stating “Wait for Dark” before their deaths.  Not only is the team investigating strange crimes but Hollis’s paranormal senses are continuing to evolve as she has to confront her own past as a victim.

OPINION:  I really liked this one because while the focus was appropriately on the suspense story and the investigation, there was quite a bit about Hollis’s own struggles.  I have loved reading about Hollis’s development throughout the series and this book takes her development to another level.  Just a warning though — things are not completely resolved and I expect we will get more Hollis books in the future.

What I like best about this book is that there is a real question about what is going on for a good portion of the book.  That builds drama and interest.  This is not a mystery book. You are not going to be able to gather suspects and evidence and find out what is happening.  This story is just creepy and strange and filled with scary images and possibilities.

WORTH MENTIONING:  I was glad to see Bishop and Miranda.  I keep wishing for another book with the two as the focus.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  WAIT FOR DARK is the seventeenth book in the Bishop/Special Crimes Unit series.  This book really needs to be read in context of other books in the series to truly appreciate it.  It is not necessary to read all the books in the series first, but I recommend reading TOUCHING EVIL, SENSE OF EVIL, BLOOD DREAMS, BLOOD SINS, BLOOD TIES, HAVEN, HOSTAGE, and HAUNTED first.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4 stars.