Review copy was received from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Curse of Salem by Kay Hooper
Series: Bishop Special Crime Unit #20
Published by Berkley on December 28, 2021
Genres: Mystery, Paranormal
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The small town of Salem has been quiet for months--or so Bishop and his elite Special Crimes Unit believe. But then Hollis Templeton and Diana Hayes receive a warning in Diana's eerie "gray time" between the world of the living and the realm of the dead that a twisted killer is stalking Salem, bent on destroying in the most bloody and horrifying way possible the five families that founded the town.
The stakes are high, especially for new friends Nellie Cavendish and Finn Deverell, both members of the Five, and this time Bishop and his wife Miranda will lead the team to hunt down a vicious killer and uncover a dark and ancient curse haunting Salem.
I have enjoyed this Bishop Special Crime Unit series for a long time. Sometimes the stories feature long known members of the team and some are completely new characters. With well known characters, there is the advantage of already knowing them and having better developed characters who then further progress. With new ones, it makes it easier for new readers to jump into the story. I would read some of the earlier books to have some of the background and inside jokes, plus they are great books.
Curse of Salem follows Hidden Salem in the series. So the setting is the same as the previous book and there are some of the same characters. This time we get Bishop and Miranda, as well as Hollis who were not present in the previous book. The earlier books were romantic suspense but I would call these later books paranormal mystery.
The team is brought back to Salem as the mediums, Hollis and Diana, get messages that things are wrong. As with many books, Hollis is a key figure. She does seem to adapt and develop in every book as needed to solve the case. Unfortunately, this feels a little bit special snowflake, and doesn’t add as much to the story or world. I’d rather see more different people utilize their talents or develop them.
Curse of Salem was very suspenseful because their is a killer and his work is horrific. The pace has picked up with people being kidnapped frequently for brutal torture. The telepathic and empathic talented, even the clairvoyant who see future visions are not enjoying what they feel and see. There seems to be some sort of jamming of their talents but eventually they can use some of them to help with the case.
Bishop and Miranda were here, on-site, but not heavily involved. The locals, Finn and Nellie, who we met in the previous book, were involved but also possibly targets of the killer. The team did add to help train Finn’s team which is more newly developed and also helped with searching for the missing and dumped.
I love this series which has my favorite kind of paranormal, a specific kind of magic, which involves the mind. There is a suspenseful mystery . Sometimes we get new characters or further development of old favorites. The series is uneven with some books more romance, others more mystery. Curse of Salem is an interesting addition.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: