Fresh Meat: Hostage by Kay Hooper

Hostage by Kay HooperHostage by Kay Hooper is the sequel to 2012's Haven, featuring Bishop and the Special Crimes Unit, using psychic gifts to hunt a dangerously unstable felon through the Appalachian wilderness (available November 26, 2013).

I am fascinated by Kay Hooper’s FBI agents that have special abilities and the way she uses these abilities to help them catch criminals. Bishop’s Special Crimes Unit is back in this book and better than ever. I give it extra stars because it’s set in the mountains of Tennessee, a place very close to my heart with a town aptly named Devil’s Gap.

Two sets of agents are the focus of this book, and it’s a story that might keep you up at night if you scare easily. Get ready for demons, ghosts, and, of course, bad guys!

Luther Brinkman is a Haven agent sent to find escaped bank robber, Cole Jacoby. Luther is hampered by the steep slopes of the Appalachian Mountains. He finds the felon, but is badly wounded and left to die. He’s rescued by Callie Davis, an agent for the SCU, who was put in place by Noah Bishop. The wily director of the SCU/Haven uses his agents with the finesse of a champion chess player.

The problem the agents have with Jacoby is more than his weapons and his dogs, there’s something evil that bars their movements and keeps them trapped in Callie’s cabin, cut off from the help they need. Then they become the hunter’s prey.

Hooper is also an avid supporter of animal rescue. Because of that, she makes animals great supporting characters, and they always add a spark of warmth to the stories. This book features a Rottweiler named Cesar. He’s Callie’s canine partner, which makes him unique.

A dog lay on a thick rug near the door, watching him fixedly.

A very big black-and-tan dog, heavily muscled.

A Rottweiler.

“His name is Cesar,” she said. “You should thank him. From here, it’s an almost continuous climb to Jacoby’s cabin. I never could have gotten you back down here without him. He’s trained to pull a litter.”

Luther thought the dog could probably have pulled a semi, but he didn’t say so. Instead, he looked at the woman, now facing him.

There was something curiously . . . unreal . . . about her. The pale hair that wasn’t platinum blond or gray or white but truly silver, almost metallic. The heart-shaped face with delicate features, not beautiful but somehow infinitely memorable. Dark, dark eyes. Hypnotic, those eyes.

Meanwhile, agents Hollis Templeton and Reese DeMarco, both agents for SCU, are on an off-duty assignment to help Hollis explore more of her skills as a medium. They visit a remote estate in the mountains where Anna Alexander wants to speak with her dead husband. Needless to say, things don’t go exactly as planned.

“I usually wake about this time in the morning.”

“Before dawn?”

“Old habits.”

Military habits, she thought, but all she said was, “Well, I don’t think I’m up for the day. I think I’ll go back to sleep until a decent hour.” If she could do that, after Brooke’s very unsettling warning.

Reese didn’t seem surprised or disturbed. “Sounds like a good plan. I’ll shower and shave, and maybe do a little exploring.”

She started to warn him about all the spirits, then remembered he wouldn’t be troubled by them. “Okay. If I’m still asleep when they usually serve breakfast around here, wake me up, will you?”

 “No problem. I’ll see you later.”

He turned and retreated back into their shared sitting room and from there, presumably, to his own bedroom and his shower.

Hollis stared after him for a long time, trying not to think because she didn’t want to broadcast. It was hard, though, not thinking. When there was so much on her mind. So many questions.

And worries.

I truly enjoy these books. Hooper weaves an intricate story that keeps you guessing what’s going to happen next. Her characters and their adventures when probing the limits of their gifts is intriguing and interesting. Her imagination is a thing of beauty, I’m sure. The plots twists and supernatural elements are always unexpected.

The other thing that makes Hooper’s books so entertaining is you have to think while you’re reading. You can’t zone out or you’ll miss something integral to the story. And don’t worry about having to search through your books if you can’t remember the reference she makes to a former event or character, she puts the book titles in footnotes. I like that, too.

I’m pretty sure I’m not psychic, but I predict you’ll enjoy this one, and if you haven’t read the other books in the series, you’ll be looking for them.

See more new releases at our Fresh Meat feature page.

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Leigh Neely is a former journalist and editor who now writes fiction fulltime. She and her writing partner, Jan Powell, have just released a debut novel of shapeshifting and investigation, True Nature by Neely Powell. They’re currently working on the first of the Connelly Witches series, The Witches of New Mourne, for Harlequin Digital. She also writes for the popular blogs, and

Read all posts by Leigh Neely for Criminal Element.


  1. Susan Stokes

    Like The Book Discription…Checking “Haven”

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