Sleeping with Fear
I had not read a Kay Hooper novel in many years. I was not familiar with her Bishop/Special Crime Unit series. The suspense in Sleeping with Fear was written strongly and effectively, but the story wasn’t otherwise as well-rounded as I would have liked.
The novel opens with a bang: Riley Crane awakes with a major headache and covered in blood. On top of that, both her memory and clairvoyant sense are gone. As former Army officer turned FBI Special Agent, she has dealt with headaches and blood before – the memory loss is something new. She calls her boss, Noah Bishop, to report in and finds she has lost three weeks of time. He gives her one week to investigate the matter and come up with some answers.
Riley has little time to come to terms with her current condition. The beheaded body of a man has just been found. The local sheriff, Jake Ballard, reluctantly (she dumped him) asks for her help in the matter. Her investigative specialty is the occult and the murder has the appearance of a cult ritual killing. As Riley is unable to use her most valuable asset, she must turn to investigating skills.
When Ash Prescott, the local D.A., shows up on the crime scene, she immediately recognizes that she has been intimate with the man; in fact his touch ignites a memory that is downright steamy. Riley, unable to trust anyone other than an old army buddy, tries to find her way by maintaining the status quo in her relationship with Ash. This means she is in the middle of an affair and not knowing how she got there.
While it initially appears that she wasn’t hurt, she later learns that she was tasered. Worse, it was a modified version that was more powerful. Riley believes this is what caused her senses to go haywire.
As she tries to recover and solve the murder, Riley has flashbacks regarding John Henry Price, a serial killer she’d previously tracked. Price had the ability to get inside her head to taunt her. Though she doubts he is still alive, she has a nagging doubt because his body was never found – and because her current nemesis seems to be able to get inside her head and take control of her memories. The result of this memory problem leaves Riley, and sometimes the reader, very confused.
Riley’s relationship with Ash left me wanting more, particularly in that as they grow closer, her recovery speeds up. She draws energy and strength from him, which helps her greatly when she confronts the killer. During the dénouement, the truth involving Riley’s memory problems is revealed, and the book ends on a sad note. It’s because of this ending, and my wanting more screen time for Riley and Ash together, that my grade isn’t higher.