Fear has never been so close.... New York Times bestselling author Kay Hooper returns with a relentless thriller that brings her readers face-to-face with fear itself. In this terrifying new novel, a psychic special agent finds herself caught up in a tangled web of secrets, lies . . . and evil. Riley Crane woke up fully dressed, a gun under her pillow, and covered in blood. Even more frightening, she didn't remember what happened the night before. In fact, she barely remembered the previous three weeks. An ex-army officer, now a federal agent assigned to the Special Crimes Unit, Riley was a chameleon-a clairvoyant who could blend in with her surroundings, be anyone or anything she chose to be. The SCU's expert on the occult, she'd been sent to the beachfront cottage on Opal Island by her enigmatic chief, Noah Bishop, to investigate reports of dangerous occult activity. But that was three weeks ago. Now she's awoken to discover that she's got a sexy new man in her life and an unreliable memory, and that the clairvoyant abilities she's always depended on to protect her are MIA.
Psychic FBI agent Riley Crane wakes up one afternoon covered in blood (not her own), with a pounding headache and no memory of the last three weeks-or her clairvoyant sense. In this third fast-paced installation of Hooper's Fear trilogy (after Chill of Fear), Riley is on assignment on Opal Island off the coast of South Carolina, summoned there by her ex-army friend, Gordon Skinner, to investigate possible occult activity. Despite her haziness on the investigation's details to date-including her apparent romantic involvement with Sheriff Jake Ballard-she persuades her boss, Noah Bishop, chief of the FBI Special Crimes Unit, to let her stay to "stabilize" the situation, which just got bloodier with another brutal murder. Vulnerable and unable to trust herself or those around her, Riley perseveres in an investigation that could prove deadly. Hooper keeps the suspense dialed up as Riley experiences brief flashes of memory, visions of satanic rites and continued blackouts. Regardless of their appetite for the paranormal, readers will be mesmerized by a plot that moves quickly to a chilling conclusion. (July) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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July 18, 2006
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Excerpt from Sleeping with Fear by Kay Hooper
Even before she opened her eyes, Riley Crane was aware of two things. Her pounding head, and the smell of blood.
Neither was all that unusual.
Instinct and training made her lie perfectly still, eyes closed, until she was reasonably sure she was fully awake. She was on her stomach and probably on a bed, she thought. Possibly her own bed. On top of the covers, or at least not covered up.
She opened her eyes a slit, just enough to see. Rumpled covers, pillows. Her rumpled covers and pillows, she decided. Her bed. The nightstand, holding the usual nightstand accessories of lamp, an untidy stack of books, and an alarm clock.
The red numbers announced that it was 2:00 p.m.
Okay, that was unusual. She never slept late, and she never took naps. Plus, while either a headache or the smell of blood was not uncommon in her life, the two together were setting off alarm bells in her mind.
Riley concentrated on listening, her unease growing when she realized that she could hear only on the "normal" level. The faint hum of the air-conditioning. The muffled rumble and crash of the surf out on the beach. A gull screaming as it flew past the house. The sort of stuff the usual everyday sense of hearing could glean automatically without any added concentration or focus.
But nothing else. Try as she might, she couldn't hear the underlying pulse of the house that was made up of things like the water in the plumbing and electricity humming in the lines and the all-but-imperceptible shifting and creaking of seemingly solid wood and stone as wind blew off the ocean and pressed against the building.
She couldn't hear any of it. And that was bad.
Taking the chance, Riley pushed herself up on her elbows and then slid her right hand underneath the pillows. Ahhh . . . at least it was there, right where it was supposed to be. Her hand closed over the reassuring grip of her weapon, and she pulled it out, giving it a quick visual scan.
Clip in, safety on, no round in the chamber. She automatically ejected the clip, checked that it was full, and slid it back into place, then chambered a round, the action quick and smooth after so many years of practice. The gun in her hand felt comfortable. That was right.
But something else was very wrong.