Book Review: "Sleeping with Fear" by Kay Hooper

Book Review: “Sleeping with Fear” by Kay Hooper

From the first page of Sleeping with Fear by Kay Hooper, readers are drawn into the story of Riley Crane, an FBI agent with the Special Crimes Unit. Crane awakens in her bed, covered in blood with a massive headache and a memory like Swiss cheese. As if it weren’t bad enough that she could not remember what conspired over the past few days, her notable FBI skill (using her clairvoyance to help solve crimes) appeared to be all but gone.

Sleeping with Fear
Kay Hooper
ISBN: 0553803182

While Riley has plenty of other FBI (and military) tactics to use to help her discern just what she is in the middle of, figuring out the truth is fraught with danger. Riley can’t trust anyone around her if she could even remember who they are.

This novel, “Sleeping with Fear,” creates enough suspense simply around the question of who Riley is and what she is investigating to keep readers turning the pages. Author Kay Hooper, however, ramps it all up a notch by adding a new murder to the equation, as well as echoes of the occult (Riley Crane’s special field) and a previous investigation into a serial murderer.

It all adds up to a book that is a real page-turner. In a short time, we learn that Riley has gotten herself involved in a romance with the local district attorney (DA) despite her usual loner status. We find out that there may be Satanic activity or someone using that worry to mask the real motive for the crime. We also learn that Riley and the DA may both have been lured to the crime scene for a particular reason unknown to them.

In short, this is a story with layers of development that make for great mystery reading. From the book’s opening to its last page, readers will be captivated by the story. Just as Riley learns more and more about the events that have occurred during the days and hours she cannot remember, so too does the story build as the picture of her work slowly gets pieced together for readers. Unlike many mystery novels, author Hooper excels at keeping the villain well hidden until the final denouement.

Everyone is a suspect (including those Riley Crane eventually comes to trust) until the last scene in which Riley lures in the evil-doer. Even then, readers need to hang on for just a little longer while a red herring plays itself out. This is mystery storytelling at its best.

Kay Hooper adds the element of the paranormal (via clairvoyance and other powers within the Special Crimes Unit) without making it heavy-handed or stretching believability. Its subtle use blends well with the crime-fighters other skills instead of becoming a focal point, as with so many other modern novels that rely on such devices to keep their plots going. This is mystery writing at its best, a well-told tale that combines all the winning characteristics of a great whodunit.