Blood Dreams -- Kay Hooper
Book 11 of Bishop/SCU series
Adult, Paranormal Mystery, Romantic Suspense, Crime Thriller
Blood Sins is every bit the bridging second book to a story's trilogy, but at the same time, it still managed it's own plot and story. While the story line was fairly straight forward, it had a lot of dragging moments and a lot of confusing WTF moments that gave me pause.
While it is probably the weaker of the Blood trilogy books in the Bishop/SCU world, Blood Sins was still every bit as enjoyable as you'd expect it to be.
Blood Sins picks up right off from where the previous book ended. The serial killer had been found out to be merely a string puppet pet monster being set up and controlled to massacre women at the behest of a powerful psychic. Noah Bishop's worst nightmare has come to pass in realizing that an almost perfect psychic--someone who may have absolutely control of his or her powers--is in existence, but is playing for the other team.
This Big Baddie has been traced to a religious cult in North Carolina called the Church of the Everlasting Sin where a Reverend Adam Deacon Samuel is leading his people to salvation, as any other isolated religious cult is wont to do. But within this community, people begin to go missing without those disappearances being questioned, members of this church seem almost lifeless, and now dead bodies are beginning to surface downstream (literally).
Tessa Gray, a Haven operative, has been recruited by Bishop to infiltrate the religious community. She exhibits the physical appearance of a stereotypical victim and is tasked to play the part in order to lure the church's attention in inviting her into the community. But once inside, Tessa's job is to gather as much information as she can on Reverend Samuel that can help the SCU and Haven bring down this Universally Evil psychic who has been the cause of many deaths and lots of suffering.
While there seems to be a straight forward murder mystery in Blood Dreams, we are merely using the deaths of two women as a springboard to continue the Blood trilogy's story arc. Two women's deaths are such that defy scientific logic: all of their bones have been shattered without so much as a mark on their bodies. One of these women was a Haven operative who had gotten careless, but who had found out significant information that could help the SCU and Haven bring down the evil psychic.
Tessa has to infiltrate the community to find out what happened to her murdered comrade as well as figure out what kind of evil the psychic good guys are dealing with. Along the way, we meet Police Chief Sawyer Cavanagh who isn't fooled by the peaceful claims of the Church of the Everlasting Sin... and who also seems to have secrets of his own.
The book was rolling strong from the beginning, but a little before midpoint things seemed to start stuttering a little bit. I feel like our investigative team may or may not spend too much time rehashing facts and information, and while reading about a bunch of investigators batting information and ideas around is intriguing... it can get kind of monotonous if that is ALL they are doing and if they just keep repeating the same things over and over again.
By midpoint, it just feels like we're getting way too much exposition and lots of theory building, with no answers and no action. Boring stuff.
I'm also a little disappointed that Tessa doesn't seem to be a strong enough presence to be the main character in this book. Granted, she's very much front and center and has a lot more scenes than anyone else aside from the Chief of Police, but I had a hard time grasping what her role was aside from doing a little undercover work.
But almost as soon as I thought Tessa was less of a main character than Hollis (who's presence was much stronger), things start picking up and Tessa starts developing a more significant presence in the book. As does Sawyer.
What I liked:
- As already stated, Hollis's presence is very welcoming and probably because of her personality. The trilogy so far feels like Hollis Templeton is the main character and is merely waiting out the passing anecdotes until her center stage performance in the last book.
- The introduction of Ruby as a strong child psychic.
What I would have liked:
- The balance of character relations, interactions, and such stuff amidst the murder mystery and paranormal happenings and main conflict felt kind of weak. I mean, they talk and they communicate, but I never much feel like they connect to each other. In essence, I don't feel like I connected with them.
- The characters of the SCU world are so fleshed out and wonderfully likable that it would have been nice to feel their significance. It would have been nice to be able to relate with them properly rather than just watching them go through the motions.
- In conjunction, the romance was pretty weak for a book that is partly romance. While there is a definite attraction and a probably spark between Tessa and Sawyer, I think I would have liked a more well-rounded Happily Ever After™ for them, even if it would have been an open-ended one.
Blood Sins, like the rest of Kay Hooper's Bishop/SCU book is familiar, well-written, has great characters, and tries its darndest to stay on track with the main conflict. While there were some things lacking that I would have liked to have elaborated on, that doesn't negate the fact that I DID find enjoyment reading this book.
The ending conclusion may have been a bit haphazard, requiring a slight working of those Suspension of Disbelief muscles; however, I'm not really complaining, because at least things still tied up properly even with all the new unsubtle twists and all the new secrets being brought to surface.
While Blood Sins feels like a conclusion of sorts, we soon learn that the story continues on in Blood Ties.
This book is a pre-chosen participant in the following Reading Challenge(s):
- 2015 Reading Assignment Challenge hosted by Because Reading and Fantasy is More Fun
- The Series That Never Ends hosted by Delighted Reader