Mini Review: Stealing Shadows by Kay Hooper

Posted on March 13, 2010


I don’t know what’s going on with WordPress or if it’s my computer at work. The dashboard has been crazy to look at and navigating around it is worse. Since my posting access is mainly during the day, I haven’t been able to properly access the site to draft a post. Hence, my lack of posting this week. Ah well, maybe this is a wake-up call to stop taking “breaks” at work.

This review is for a genre I don’t ever read. Kay Hooper books are classified as Romantic Suspense but they read more like Mystery.

Series: Bishop Special Crimes Unit/Shadows #1

Hero: Ben Ryan

Heroine: Cassie Neill

Psychic Cassie Neill helps the L.A. police catch killers — until she makes a terrible mistake and an innocent child dies. Cassie flees to a small North Carolina town hoping that a quiet life will silence the voices that invade her unwilling mind. But Cassie’s abilities know few boundaries. And she’s become certain — as no one else can be — that a murderer is stalking Ryan’s Bluff.

It’s his fury that Cassie senses first, then his foul thoughts and perverse excitement. Yet she doesn’t know who he is or where he will strike. The sheriff won’t even listen to her — until the first body is found exactly where and how she predicted. Now a suspect herself, she races desperately to unmask the killer in the only way she knows: by entering his twisted mind. Her every step is loaded with fear and uncertainty … because if he senses her within him, he’ll trap her there, so deep she’ll never find her way out.

In reading Nath’s review of Blood Ties by Kay Hooper, I was intrigued by this mystery/thriller author. Nath recommended that I start at the beginning of the series to get a better understanding of the FBI crime unit. As I read up on some of the blurbs of Kay Hooper’s books, I was even more intrigued by the suspense. Until I began reading the first book, I had no idea that the psychic elements play such a pivotal role in the stories.

Cassie Neill is psychic, the abilities passed down to the females in her family. She escapes from Los Angeles where she was assisting the police in catching killers by connecting to their minds. After a costly mistake that lost the life of a victim, Cassie secludes thousands of miles across the country to live in a small town, the home of which was bequeathed by her recently deceased aunt.

Cassie hasn’t settled in her new place for long when her mind connects with a killer plotting to kill a woman. Reluctant but unable to stop herself from trying to stop the madman, Cassie approaches Ben Ryan, the town’s judge after being disregarded by the sheriff. Like the sheriff, Ben wasn’t accepting of her “knowledge” of a murder in progress since there was no physical evidence to support her claims. When a woman is murdered exactly as Cassie describes from her vision, the sheriff immediately suspect Cassie. But when more women are murdered and Cassie is alibied during the crimes, the sheriff reluctantly believes that Cassie is able to mind connect with a serial murderer. Ultimately, her abilities are utilized to battle the murderer.

No matter how good a book is though, I cannot fully enjoy it much less able to finish the book unless there is some romance involved. Imagine my surprise when I started reading Stealing Shadows and I liked it even though the romance is very light. The book is more accurately a thriller rather than romantic suspense, and the paranormal is unique but not the PNR I’m used to reading about.

When I first read that Cassie has the ability to connect with the killer when he’s high on violence adrenaline, I am quickly reminded of Dream Man by Linda Howard. However, the similarities end with the heroines’ abilities. The heroine’s talent is more dramatic in Stealing Shadows than in Dream Man. Cassie’s connection with the villain as he plots his killings is also more chilling than Marlie’s. I had to take breaks throughout my reading because I was so creeped out by the visions.

There is a twist with the villain that is unexpected and mind-boggling. I tried to be open-minded but was hard-pressed to believe in the villain’s capabilities because it is really unimaginable. Despite the stretch in the psychic angle, I couldn’t stop reading. The plot is certainly unique and complex.

Kay Hooper is a new-to-me author that I’m glad I took a chance on. I’ve read three books by this author. With seven books remaining in my TBR pile, I took a big chance on the author before I even read one book. Lol.

Thanks, Nath, for recommending Kay Hooper to me!

Grading: B-