Title: Hidden Salem
Series: Bishop/Special Crimes Unit
By: Kay Hooper
ISBN: 1984802909 (ISBN13: 9781984802903)
Brought to you by OBS reviewer Andra
A town shrouded in the occult. An evil that lurks in the dark. The SCU returns in a hair-raising novel from New York Times bestselling author Kay Hooper.
Nellie Cavendish has very good reasons to seek out her roots, and not only because she has no memory of her mother and hardly knew the father who left her upbringing to paid caregivers. In the eight years since her twenty-first birthday, very odd things have begun to happen. Crows gather near her wherever she goes, electronics short out when she touches them, and when she’s upset, really upset, it storms. At first, she chalked up the unusual happenings to coincidence, but that explanation doesn’t begin to cover the vivid nightmares that torment her. She can no longer pretend to ignore them. She has to find out the truth. And the only starting point she has is a mysterious letter from her father delivered ten years after his death, insisting she go to a town called Salem and risk her life to stop some unnamed evil. Before her thirtieth birthday.
As a long-time member of the FBI’s Special Crimes Unit, Grayson Sheridan has learned not to be surprised by the unusual and the macabre–but Salem is different. Evidence of Satanic activities and the disappearance of three strangers to the town are what brought Salem to the attention of the SCU, and when Gray arrives to find his undercover partner vanished, he knows that whatever’s hiding in the seemingly peaceful little town is deadly. But what actually hides in the shadows and secrets of Salem is unlike anything the agents have ever encountered. (Goodreads)
Hidden Salem is the 19th book in the Bishop/Special Crimes Unit series by Kay Hooper. I have now read a total of six books in the series and I must say – I really would like to (okay – maybe even bordering on need to) go back to the beginning of the series and read all of them. Hidden Salem was so compelling that I could barely put it down. The plot and flow of the book was reminiscent of many of the other later books in the series I have read but this is in an odd way comforting, I know what I will get with a Bishop/Special Crimes Unit book. The characters were interesting (and yes – I would like to read more about the relationship between Grayson and Geneva).
The story begins with SCU Agent Geneva Raynor already in downtown Salem, North Carolina (small town off the Appalachian Trail), with the assignment of trying to discover what is really going on in the town where 3 people have gone missing. Geneva’s psychic abilities are only picking up static – how very strange!
While out walking about town, Geneva passed a hunter (while her shield was relaxed momentarily) and gleaned from his thoughts the following:
“Oh, God, oh, Jesus, what coulda done that? I never seen so much blood, so much … What kind of animal coulda … And all that on the rocks … all them symbols or signs, like witchcraft … but in blood, I know it was in blood …”
Now if that did not start the story off with intrigue I don’t know what would. I certainly felt unsettled but wanting to read on to find out what, if anything, Geneva could find out about this hunter’s thoughts. It isn’t until days later that her partner on this case, SCU agent Grayson Sheridan, shows up in town. When he arrives though – he discovers that Geneva is missing.
The original plan was that Geneva and Grayson are to act as strangers until such time as it is not feasible while working the case. This goes a bit off the rails since Geneva is missing. But with a bit of an investigation, Grayson does discover where Geneva has been (as she is finding her way out of captivity). As their working relationship progresses, you can tell there is tension – but they work well together. Of course, this tension is not fully explained nor resolved… something to look forward to in a future book perhaps?
I also enjoy the burgeoning talents of each of the agents. These talents seem to expand and possibly morph over time and that adds a certain element of anticipation with respect to what they can do while on a case.
The reader is also introduced to Nellie Cavendish, who is at the outskirts of town with her pit bull. She has powers, which she has does not yet fully understand. She had received a letter from her father, ten years after his death, as her 30th birthday is approaching, telling her to go to Salem. She does so in the hopes of figuring out her heritage. She can feel the evil in the town but has no idea how connected to it she really is.
Another character that is integral to the story is Finn Deverell – a current resident and a member of one of the Five Families of Salem. He needs Nellie’s help to stave off another “Five” family member who is trying to gain control and power from all the families for nefarious reasons.
I really enjoyed getting to know Finn and Nellie as they got to know each other as well as their interactions with Geneva and Grayson. Lots of action and interesting twists (and scary crows!).
If you enjoy mysteries with a paranormal twist, hints of potential romance (at least so far for these main characters), and a well crafted book, then I suggest picking up this 19th installment of the Bishop/Special Crimes Unit series by Kay Hooper. I can’t wait to see what is in store for Salem with the next book in the series: Curse of Salem.