Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Kay Hooper - Out of the Shadows

A picture-perfect Tennessee town has just become a monster's hunting ground. Two bodies are found tortured to death. A third person goes missing. What little evidence is left behind defies all explanation. Is the terror just beginning? Or have the good citizens of Gladstone harboured a dark secret for a long time?
Sheriff Miranda Knight is determined to make her small town safe once more. And she does what she swore she would never do: involve FBI profiler Noah Bishop. He's the one man who knows about her unique abilities, and that knowledge almost destroyed her and her sister years ago. Now, as Bishop arrives with his team of agents, Miranda must learn to trust him and use her abilities once more. For they're about to go on the hunt for a killer whose madness has no bounds, a killer who knows exactly how to destroy Miranda: by preying on her sister.
Comment: This must be one of the books in English which has been in the shelves for longer, around 13 or 14 years. 😑
I have others which have been there for even longer but in Portuguese and nor al romance related. This one is a romantic suspense with paranormal elements and I can't remember anymore why I added it to the pile.

Out of the Shadows begins with a young girl being caught by surprise by someone she knows and we learn that she is killed by this person. This isn't the first time someone dies in Gladstone and since the kills are piling up, sheriff Miranda Knight asks the FBI for help, knowing the agent who will show up is someone from her past. Miranda is actually psychic and she was involved with Noah Bishop, someone she trusted but things didn't end well between them. Now she needs help, knowing his presence will bring back a lot of the issues they didn't solve but she feels is her duty to try everything to stop the killer. However, both she and her younger sister can't seem to ignore their abilities in order to help and that might put them in the killer's radar...

In this book, which GR describes as being part of "A long series comprised of several interconnected trilogies, all tying into the FBI's Special Crimes Unit", we sort of catch the train in movement but it becomes clear the main couple has been together before. I checked the previous two books in the series (this is labeled as #3) and the main characters weren't these ones so maybe they were part of secondary plots but 'm not that curious to go and read them. Still, I think the story of this one is simple enough one can read between the lines.

The book is mostly a suspense one and there is a killer to catch, which has most of the attention. At the same time we see the police and the FBI investigate, putting pieces together, we are aware Miranda and Noah had a common past things ended badly and only the need to catch the villain made her call him. Of course this allows for a lot of stressful and tense scenes where they both are interacting and as the plot moves along we learn why they are at odds.

I would say that this is one of those stories that although perfectly well done for the genre, still feels dated and not just because it was published in 2000. The writing style feels dated but that wasn't enough to distract me from the story, I just think most things were quite superficially done and if there's enough reason to add it to the plot, then give it more importance. I'm thinking abut the romance sub plot and the POV given to characters who don't get to be truly developed. It feels a bit too easy to just introduce a character and not give them proper development...

The romance is a bit too subtle, considering they have history. It's not that we would need to have their whole background repeated but I wish we had seen them interact more out of business subjects, that the author's style had been to go deeper int them as a couple... I think I have an idea of what the author wanted to do but it feels the romance was there to just fill a spot and not because their relationship was truly important.

The plot isn't complicated for a suspense story and the killer while not completely obvious, wasn't surprising either. The motif for murder was different enough I should say, but the whole process to accomplish killing and hiding evidence a bit difficult to see being kept hidden for so long. I mean, how should I know how a disturbed mind could work but it seems too odd, as the clues are being put together, how things happen and no one finds it weird certain things happened. Of course people wouldn't know what a killer is doing but then, how do some clues come to light... it's just too convenient sometimes, how police officers or FBI agents find things.

Of course here, the author sort of added a new element by having the characters being psychic. This surely solves a lot of gaps but then the problem is to explain to those who don't have the same help or who don't believe in such things. Thinking about the whole thing, I would say the author did a good enough job with putting all these elements working together, though. There were some almost creepy scenes here and there which made me consider my own surroundings, so not a total flaw in how this was put together but I think she could have done some things even better.

All things considered, I think this wasn't the best suspense ever but it was still a nice read, which means the time waiting wasn't totally wasted. I might read more by her in the future. 
Just a note, though, to the original paperback cover.. seriously... not appealing at all. I see some newer ebook editions are better because, after all, eyes see covers before they read plots isn't it, but this didn't help me want to pick it up sooner either....
Grade: 7/10

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