Hostage by Kay Hooper is the 14th book in the Bishop/Special Crimes Unit mystery series. I’ve read all books (except Haven, which is book #13 and one of my next reads) and I was a major fan of the Kay Hooper books ever since I read her first mystery novel, Stealing Shadows, back in 2000.
During those times I was heavily into paranormal mysteries, you know those books with psychics who can solve murders by seeing into the crime scene, mediums who can speak to the murdered, etc, so Kay Hooper was at the time a godsend to me, I literally devoured every single one of her books.
Now onto Hostage. The Special Crimes Unit is a group of FBI operatives lead by Bishop, with everyone in the team, including the boss, having various special abilities – either clairvoyance, or mediumship, or telepathy, or telekinesis, you name it. And some people have more than one ‘gift’, which makes them extremely valuable and perfect for solving the weirdest and most complex of crimes.
Hostage involves two seemingly different cases that eventually turn out to be two sides of the same coin with the two storylines merging at the end. For one we have the Callie Davis, a special agent with the Special Crimes Unit and Luther Brinkman, an investigator with Haven (both who have of course various psychic abilities) tracking an escaped fugitive who has stolen 10 million dollars and as it later turns out also killed an innocent girl somewhere in the Appalachians mountains where he is currently hiding.
On the other hand we also have Hollis, another Bishop operative teamed up with Reese DeMarco (also belonging to Bishop’s team) in what it seems a task not related to the FBI at all: Hollis Templeton, a strong medium simply needs to help a woman talk with her dead husband and Hollis should facilitate that.
However things are not as simple as they seem and only one person knows exactly what is going on: the boss of the FBI team, Bishop. He is not one to give away too much information, he’s always been secretive and while his operatives don’t like much that aspect of his character, they trust him fully to do what’s best for them all.
So each of the two teams goes on to their assigned tasks without being aware that there is another team working the other end of the thread. Both cases turn out to become more complex than they initially thought and even Bishop, who usually knows it all, is a bit uneasy about these two current missions.
I love all the characters in the book, and I think my favorite must be Callie with her Rottweiler whispering qualities. She can talk to her dog (called Cesar) and interestingly enough the dog can talk back to her (in mind of course) with full words. I’d really love to see more of Callie and the dog (along with the other 3 dogs that she inherits during this very storyline), maybe in another book that happens at the FBI premises where dogs are kept and trained for future duty.
Hollis is a strong medium and that’s why she is sent to try to communicate with the dead husband of a rich woman so that the widow can finally move on with her life. Little does she know that she ends up in a place where there are way more ghosts and real people on the premises, with Hollis no longer being able to tell the living from the dead.
For me, however, the most intriguing person is Bishop himself, and he has been from book to book. He is the big honcho at the SCU division of the FBI and he is one of the strongest touch-telepaths ever. He always knows what is going on with his agents and steers them in the right direction without revealing to them too much about their current missions.
There is one person that I missed in this book, Miranda, Bishop’s wife with whom he shares strong precognitive and telepathic abilities. They can communicate with each other even if they are at the other end of the world. I really like them together, alas in this book Miranda didn’t make an appearance. Maybe next time.
Something I really enjoy in every book is how at the end of the novel there is an addendum section with a short description of the main characters with their particular roles in the teams as well as their psychic abilities, followed by a listing of all the psychic abilities encountered in the book and a brief explanation each of them.
For anyone not familiar with the various occult terminologies, these two sections will be a real help.
Overall, this is quite an accomplished book in the Special Crimes Unit series led by Bishop, and it’s one that can be read on its own without having to read the previous ones (particularly due to addendum parts at the end of the book explaining about the team members and their psychic abilities).
I do recommend, however, that you read the Kay Hooper books in order because several of the main characters appear in various previous books as well, and it’s fun to see their interactions with each other and their character development over time, not to mention how they gain or increase their various psychic abilities that they will be able to use in the subsequent books.