Sometimes evil lingers so close, you can feel it....
Seattle police sketch artist Maggie Barnes has an extraordinary gift. She listens as traumatized crime victims describe their ordeals -- and then uses those horrifying recollections to draw dead-on sketches of the assailants.
Some cops think Maggie is telepathic, that she can actually enter the victims' minds. Only Maggie knows the truth behind her rare talent ... and she isn't telling.
But her secret may be exposed when a madman seizes Seattle in his terrifying grip. He abducts women and blinds them, leaving them barely alive.
The police have one hope: the lone victim who might recover her sight. But they don't know that Maggie has her own dark connection to the monster -- an eerie link that may stretch back to a string of unsolved murders.
To stop the escalating terror, Maggie will have to push her abilities to the breaking point -- even if it means confronting a predator whose powers seem to have no bounds....
The first installment of Hooper's "Evil" series capitalizes on the popularity of her gothic "Shadows" thrillers (Out of the Shadows; Stealing Shadows) but will disappoint readers who are longing for more than a simple retelling of a familiar plot. When two seers, an empath and a ghost join forces to rid Seattle of a monster, two predictable things occur: the characters spend more time trying to convince skeptics of their powers than solving the case, and the heroine, Maggie Barnes, becomes one of the fiend's next targets. Maggie is a talented police sketch artist and a troubled empath. Although her ability to experience another's pain enables her to sketch an uncanny likeness of a perpetrator's face, she's unable to draw the face of a rapist who removes his victims' eyes, wears a mask and covers his natural odor with Ivory soap. Frustrated by the police's lack of progress, John Garrett, the wealthy and well-connected brother of one of the victims, recruits two FBI agents who possess special psychic abilities. The lack of communication between the police, John's team and Maggie is frustrating, and for all the novel's buildup, the final unmasking of evil is anticlimactic. A romantic interlude between Maggie and John lends the story a degree of warmth, but not enough to lift this paranormal thriller above the tepid. (Aug. 28) Forecast: National radio and print advertising will buoy the sales of this lackluster title, but it won't match the success of Hooper's acclaimed Shadows series.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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1 . Great suspense1
Posted December 27, 2009 by Crystal , AugustaI am an avid murder mystery reader and this turned out to be one of the best books I've read in a long time! The characters are so well thought out and the story line keeps you reading. I've purchased 7 Kay Hooper novels since this one and I am looking forward to reading more!
August 27, 2001
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Excerpt from Touching Evil by Kay Hooper
"She's not going to like this." Andy Brenner's voice was more unhappy than worried.
John Garrett stepped past him into the small, bare room. "I'll take the flak," he said, his gaze already fixed on the large two-way mirror that dominated the far wall and offered them a secret view into another small room.
This mostly bare room contained a scarred wooden table and several chairs. Three women sat at the table, the two facing the mirror sitting close together in a posture that suggested they were clinging to each other even though they weren't touching. The younger of the two wore very dark, heavy-rimmed sunglasses and sat rigidly in her chair, while the older woman watched her worriedly.
Sitting at right angles to them at the table, her back to the mirror, was the third woman, her face hidden from the watching men. It was impossible to guess her shape, since she wore a bulky flannel shirt and faded jeans, but a rather wild cloud of long, dark red hair made her appear slight.
Andy sighed. "It's not flak I'm worried about. The chief likes to pretend Maggie works for us on our terms, but the rank and file know better; what Maggie wants, Maggie gets -- and she wants total privacy when she's interviewing a victim."
"She'll never know we're here."
"I keep trying to tell you, John -- she'll know."
"How? I push this button, and we can hear what's going on in the room but they won't hear us, right? We see in, they don't see out. So how will she know we're here?"
"Beats the hell out of me, but she will." Andy watched the other man move closer to the window and stifled another sigh. Anybody else and he would have stuck to his guns, but John Garrett was a hard man to say no to. Andy tried to think of an argument he hadn't used yet, but before he could come up with anything, John pushed the right button, and a quiet, curiously pleasing voice reached them clearly and without any of the tinny, hollow characteristics that were usual with an intercom.
"...how difficult this is for you, Ellen. If I could, I'd far rather wait and give you more time to -- "
"Heal?" The woman wearing the sunglasses laughed, a brittle sound holding no amusement. "My husband is sleeping in the guest room, Miss Barnes. My little boy is afraid of me. I can't find my way through my own house without knocking over furniture and bumping into walls, and my sister has to cook for my family and help me dress every morning."
"Ellen, you know I'm happy to help," her sister protested, her soft voice half pleading and half weary. "And Owen wouldn't be sleeping in the guest room if it wasn't what you wanted, you know that."
"I know he can't bear to touch me, Lindsay." Ellen's voice was tight, a bare note away from shrill. Her hands were clasped together on the table, and her long, pale fingers writhed. "And I don't blame him for that. I can't blame him. Why would he want to touch me after -- "
Maggie Barnes reached across the table and covered Ellen's hands with one of her own. "Listen to me, Ellen." Her voice remained quiet, but there was a new note in it now, an oddly soothing, almost hypnotic rhythm. "What that animal did to you can never be undone, but you can't allow it to destroy you. Do you hear me? Don't give him that power over you. Don't allow him to win."
Listening, John unconsciously tilted his head to one side, trying to focus on the strangely compelling undercurrent he heard in her voice. It was almost ... it was as if he knew that sound, as if it was something he only half remembered, like a song from his childhood or the last faint notes of music from a dream chased away by morning. Haunting.
Ellen didn't attempt to free her hands, and her rigid posture seemed to ease a bit, just a bit. "I don't want to remember," she said, low, almost whispering. "Don't ask me to remember."
"I have to." The regret in Maggie's voice was achingly genuine. "I need your memories, need every scrap of information you can give me. I need you to remember everything you can, Ellen. Every sound, every scent, every touch."
Ellen's shudder was visible. "He touched ... I can't bear to think about how he touched me. Please don't make me..."
"Don't make her." Lindsay's face twisted, and she put a hesitant hand on her sister's arm.
"I don't have a choice," Maggie said. "The police can't catch this animal without some idea who he is, what he looks like. We can't even warn other women to watch out for him. Ellen, some detail you remember may help me put a face on him. I -- "
She turned her head suddenly, and John actually started in surprise at the abruptness of the movement -- and the fact that he had the unsettling feeling she was looking directly into his eyes, even through the two-way mirror. She had very light brown eyes, the only unusual feature in a face that was pleasant but unremarkable.
And those pale eyes were looking right at him, he was sure of it. He felt it.