Book Review: Haven

Up until a horseback riding accident, Emma Rayburn led a perfectly normal life in the quiet North Carolina town of Baron Hollow, now she is plagued by horrific nightmares of young women being murdered. The dreams are so vivid Emma is having difficulty separating them from reality even though she can find no record of missing women in the area. Tensions mount when Emma’s estranged psychic sister, Jessie Rayburn reappears after fifteen years looking to deal with old issues that are now blocking her abilities. For unspecified reasons, the sisters have serious difficulties attempting to reconnect and both continue to suffer from varying degrees of emotional detachment.

Special Agent Noah Bishop was with Jessie at Haven, a compound of assorted psychics who work as part of the FBI Special Crimes Unit. Bishop has the gift of precognition and has followed Jessie to Baron Hollow in response to what he has seen of the future. Something sinister resides in Baron Hollow and it has singled out Emma and Jessie for some decidedly unwelcome special attention, if they can’t figure out what’s going on in a hurry, they will be the next victims.

Like most of Hooper’s work, the antagonist is easy to spot from the beginning so the book is really about how the protagonists uncover what is going on and in this case, there are several unresolved issues. The reason behind Emma and Jessie’s estrangement and emotional detachment is never fully explained. The contemporary story setting means technology abounds so it seems highly unlikely that all the murder victims could have simply vanished without a trace or even anyone noticing where they were at the time of their disappearance. The “no signal” plot device became repetitious and the characters frequently act in ways that defy rationality which takes away from what could have been a more compelling mystery. This is not one of the better installments to the Bishop series.

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