Blood Ties -- Kay Hooper
Book 12 of Bishop/SCU series
Adult, Paranormal Mystery, Romantic Suspense, Crime Thriller
Blood Ties concludes the Blood trilogy with Hollis Templeton as our front stage and center main character. Throughout the entire Blood trilogy, I don't deny that I felt Hollis's presence much more so than the other official main characters of both Blood Dreams and Blood Sins--though it's not to say that the previous two books didn't focus properly on the main story, conflict, and characters.
Even though Hollis has kind of "lurked" in the background, I couldn't help but feel like this entire trilogy was just as much about her. And so it's no surprise that I very much looked forward to this last book in the Blood trilogy. In fact, ever since Hollis's first appearance as an official SCU agent, I've been anticipating her book.
I probably just liked watching her survive and develop and grow throughout each previous installment of the Bishop/SCU series.
While Blood Ties manages to round out the trilogy in a neat way, utilizing connections and ties (as the book's title would suggest) to bring the trilogy's story arc to a fairly finalized, yet also open-ended conclusion, I can't help but feel like these books have been missing something. And also, as much as this was supposed to be Hollis's book, it also felt like she just continued to lurk in her background position while Quentin and Diana (from Book 8, Chill of Fear) also managed to claim a bit of the limelight.
Nonetheless, Blood Ties is very enjoyable and incorporated the murder mystery, crime thriller, and the ties to previous books quite well. The ending certainly felt a little left field, but I found enjoyment and that's all that matters to me.
Gruesome murders have lead the SCU team, with Miranda Bishop taking point, to a small town in a technological dead zone. While investigating the deaths of two individuals, Hollis is fired at by a mysterious shooter who seems to be watching the SCU agents' every move.
In the meantime, Noah Bishop is on a mission to search out a possible leak in his own unit as well as find out more information on anyone who might have targeted himself and his unit.
Diana Brisco has walked into the gray time with her abilities to find that she has come upon the now destroyed asylum where previous events had taken place--a building where Hollis had almost been killed by an insane serial rapist and killer.
All information and leads seem to lead back to the Church of the Everlasting Sin and the deceased Reverend Samuel. And underlying every present event are more secrets and twists that cut closer to home than the SCU agents would like to believe.
Again, my summary sucks. But when you've got a crime thriller and murder mystery with lots of twisty-turny events that could potentially be easily spoiled in a domino-effect way, you have no choice but to be very vague, while at the same time attempt to give some kind of summary that makes sense.
As I already stated, despite the fact that this book concludes the Blood trilogy, I found that it was a nice twist to sort of tie part of the investigation in with short glimpses of previous cases our agents have worked. This particular tangent didn't last long as it lead into another new twist, but I liked the idea nonetheless.
I was just a little disappointed that Hollis didn't get her chance to shine in the main light when this book's official blurb advertises her significance. I mean, sure she was still the main character next to Reese DeMarco, but we also spend quite a bit of time following Diana's own advanced development as well as her relationship with Quentin. Not that I don't appreciate a more well-rounded Happily Ever After™ for this couple, but I would have also liked to focus more on Hollis as well.
There is still a lot of the story progression leaning towards draggy, "let's sit around and talk about the case in repetition" going on, but at least it wasn't too extensive.
What I liked:
- Again, Hollis's presence is forever welcome. There's just something about her that I really like and admire. If the installments of this series will continue to bring old characters to the surface like it did for Diana and Quentin, I'd love to see more of Hollis in the long run.
- Use of multiple characters was fairly seamless; none of it felt like a forced curtain call of any kind and I enjoyed Miranda's presence as team leader a lot.
- The mystery was well-thought out with enough twists to keep me anticipating, but not too many conflicts to make me annoyed. Even the tangents weren't random.
- And we get to meet a lot of new characters as well as old ones. And we even get a nice, more official introduction of the civilian psychic team, Haven, with Maggie and John (from Book 4, Touching Evil) making their appearances.
- There was less of the beating home of the whole "Universe" thing that bugged me so much. There is more action and forward progression in spite of the few brief "sitting around and talking too much" scenes.
What I would have liked:
- The character interactions are sparse and the romance was lackluster. The romance was there and the characters are excellent, but I still felt like we were cheated of seeing a blossoming love story--two blossoming love stories, actually.
- While the romances were sweet and nice... that was really all they were. And maybe that was the point--that the love stories don't need that much emphasis and that they don't need too much action or depth because there were more important things to focus on. And yet I still wished there had been more FEELS involved.
- Despite there being more story progression and forward action, there were still the random exposition moments in those brief "sitting around and talking" scenes (sorry for being repetitive, but this was one of the things in all three books that kind of bugged me). The characters LOVE to talk a lot and they love to analyze and re-analyze each and every aspect of their case to death.
And maybe this is more realistic in an investigation. I don't know. But it certainly took away from a lot of the excitement of the action.
- Again, more insight into the characters and more instances to relate with.
Blood Ties (as well as the rest of the Blood trilogy) was very enjoyable and kept me hooked from the beginning until the end. We might have had our differences, but I'm sure the story and I got along in lovely fashion. I am very much tempted to go ahead and get my hands on the rest of the books and screw my Reading Challenge obligations!
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