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Blood Ties (Bishop Special Crimes Unit Series #12)
     

Blood Ties (Bishop Special Crimes Unit Series #12)

3.8 185
by Kay Hooper
 

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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER


New York Times bestselling author Kay Hooper takes us to the outer reaches of fear in Blood Ties, as the Special Crimes Unit is targeted by a monster intent on destroying both Noah Bishop and his people. 

 
A series of grisly murders has left a trail of blood across three states, bringing the Special

Overview

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER


New York Times bestselling author Kay Hooper takes us to the outer reaches of fear in Blood Ties, as the Special Crimes Unit is targeted by a monster intent on destroying both Noah Bishop and his people. 

 
A series of grisly murders has left a trail of blood across three states, bringing the Special Crimes Unit to a small Tennessee town. There, two more brutal killings lure Noah Bishop and the SCU into what may be the ultimate trap, and lead Special Agent Hollis Templeton into a dangerous attraction—and a serial murder investigation that turns very, very personal. In her time with the SCU, Hollis has shown an uncanny ability to survive even the deadliest attacks. But what she can’t know is that this killer intends to destroy the team from within. As the body count climbs, and Bishop and his agents race to uncover the true identity of their enemy, not even their special senses can warn them just how bloody, and how terrifyingly close, the truth will be.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Too many interchangeable doll-like victims and a by-the-numbers plot mar bestseller Hooper’s conclusion to her paranormal thriller trilogy that began with Blood Dreams and Blood Sins. When a serial killer tortures, dismembers, and dumps eight women in eight weeks in Tennessee and adjacent states, Noah Bishop, head of the FBI’s Special Crimes Unit, gets on the case, along with Noah’s touch-telepath and seer wife, Miranda, and special agent Hollis Templeton, a profiler-in-training and medium who can self-heal and see auras. Hollis and special investigator Diana Brisco, also a medium and healer, travel to the “gray time,” a corridor between life and death where a young spirit, Brooke, helps them connect the killings to a past threat. Series fans and newcomers alike will appreciate the appendixes, which include bios of Special Crime Unit agents and definitions of their various paranormal abilities. (Feb.)
From the Publisher
 
“A tautly written adventure . . . one of the best in the series.”
—Fresh Fiction

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780553804867
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
01/26/2010
Series:
Bishop Special Crimes Unit Series , #12
Pages:
311
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.50(d)

Read an Excerpt

Blood Ties

A Bishop/Special Crimes Unit Novel
By Kay Hooper

Bantam

Copyright © 2010 Kay Hooper
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780553804867

Chapter One


Present day April 8 Tennessee
  

Case Edgerton ran along the narrow trail, aware of his burning legs but concentrating on his breathing. The last mile was always the hardest, especially on his weekly trail run. Easier to just zone out and run when he was on the track or in his neighborhoodpark; this kind of running, with its uneven terrain and various hazards, required real concentration.  

That was why he liked it.  

He jumped over a rotted fallen log and almost immediately had to duck a low-hanging branch. After that, it was all downhill--which wasn't as easy as it sounded, since the trail snaked back and forth in hairpin curves all along the middle quarter of thislast mile. Good training for his upcoming race. He planned to win that one, as he had won so many his entire senior year. 

  And then Kayla Vassey, who had a thing for runners and who was remarkably flexible, would happily reward him. Maybe for the whole summer. But there'd be no clinging to him afterward; she'd be too busy sizing up next year's crop of runners to do more thanwave goodbye when he left in the fall for college.

   Sex without strings. The kind he preferred.  

Case nearly tripped over a root exposed byrecent spring rains and swore at his wandering thoughts.  

Concentrate, idiot. Do you want to lose that race?  

He really didn't.  

His legs were on fire now and his lungs felt raw, but he kept pushing himself, as he always did, even picking up a little speed as he rounded the last of the wicked hairpin curves. 

  This time, when he tripped, he went sprawling.  

He tried to land on his shoulder and roll, to do as little damage as possible, but the trail was so uneven that instead of rolling he slammed into the hard ground with a grunt, the wind knocked out of him, and a jolt of pain told him he'd probably jammedor torn something.  

It took him a few minutes of panting and holding his shoulder gingerly before he felt able to sit up. And it was only then that he saw what had tripped him.  

An arm.  

Incredulous, he stared at a hand that appeared to belong to a man, a hand that was surprisingly clean and unmarked, long fingers seemingly relaxed. His gaze tracked across a forearm that was likewise uninjured, and then--  
And then Case Edgerton began to scream like a little girl.   

  "You can see why I called you in." Sheriff Desmond Duncan's voice was not--quite--defensive. "We're on the outskirts of Serenade, but it still falls into my jurisdiction. And I'm not ashamed to admit it's beyond anything the Pageant County Sheriff's Departmenthas ever handled." He paused, then repeated, "Ever."  

"I'm not surprised," she replied somewhat absently.  

His training and experience told Des Duncan to shut up and let her concentrate on the scene, but his curiosity was stronger. He hadn't known what to expect when he contacted the FBI, never having done so before, so maybe any agent would have surprisedhim. This one definitely did.  

She was drop-dead gorgeous, for one thing, with a centerfold body and the face of an exotic angel. And she possessed the most vivid blue eyes Duncan had seen in his life. With all that, she appeared remarkably casual and unaware of the effect she was havingon just about every man within eyesight of her. She was in faded jeans and a loose pullover sweater, and her boots were both serviceable and worn. Her long gleaming black hair was pulled back into a low ponytail at the nape of her neck. No makeup, at leastas far as he could tell.  

She had done everything short of taking a mud bath to downplay her looks, and Des still had to fight a tendency to stutter a bit when speaking to her. He wasn't even sure she had shown him a badge.   And he was nearly sixty, for Christ's sake.  

Wary of asking the wrong question or asking one the wrong way, he said tentatively. "I'm grateful to turn this over to more experienced hands, believe me. I naturally called the State Bureau of Investigation first, but . . . Well, once they heard me out,they suggested I call in your office. Yours specifically, not just the FBI. Sort of surprised me, to be honest. That they suggested right off the bat I should call you folks. But it sounded like a good idea to me, so I did. Didn't really expect so many fedsto respond, and I sure as hell didn't expect it to be so fast. I sent in the request less than five hours ago."  

"We were in the area," she said. "Near enough. Just over the mountains in North Carolina."  

"Another case?"  

"Ongoing. But not really going anywhere, so coming over to check this out made sense." 

  Duncan nodded, even though she wasn't looking at him. She was on one knee a couple of feet from the body--what was left of the body--her gaze fixed unwaveringly on that.  

He wondered what she saw. Because, word had it, the agents of the FBI's elite Special Crimes Unit saw a lot more than most cops, even if the what and how of that was rather vaguely defined.  

What Duncan saw was plain enough, if incredibly bizarre, and he had to force himself to look again.   The body lay sprawled beside what was, among the high school track team and some of the hardier souls in town, a popular hiking and running trail. It was a wickedly difficult path to walk at a brisk pace, let alone run, which made it an excellent trainingcourse if you knew what you were doing--and potentially deadly if you didn't.  

There were numerous cases of sprains, strains, and broken bones in this area all year-round, but especially after the spring rains.   Still, Duncan didn't have to be an M.E. or even a doctor to know that a fall while running or walking hadn't done this. Not this. 

  The dense undergrowth of this part of the forest had done a fair job for the killer of concealing most of the body; Duncan's deputies had been forced hours before to carefully clear away bushes and vines just to have good access to the remains.   Which made it a damn good thing that this was obviously a dump site rather than a murder scene; Duncan might not have been familiar with grisly murders, but he certainly knew enough to be sure the feds would not have been happy to find their evidence disturbed. 

  Evidence. He wondered if there was any to speak of. His own people certainly hadn't found much. Prints were being run through IAFIS now, and if that avenue of identification turned up no name, Duncan supposed the next step would be dental records.  

Because there wasn't a whole lot else to identify the poor bastard.  


His left arm lay across part of the trail, and it was eerily undamaged, unmarked by so much as a bruise. Eerily because, from the elbow on, the damage was . . . extreme. Most of the flesh and muscle had been somehow stripped from the bones, leaving behindonly bloody tags of sinew attached here and there. Most if not all of the internal organs were gone, including the eyes; the scalp had been ripped from the skull.  

Ripped. Jesus, what could have ripped it? What could have done this?   "Any ideas what could have done this?" Duncan asked. 

  "No sane ones," she replied in a matter-of-fact tone.  

"So I'm not the only one imagining nightmare impossibilities?" He could hear the relief in his own voice.   She turned her head and looked at him, then rose easily from her kneeling position and stepped away from the remains to join him. "We learned a long time ago not to throw around words like impossible." 


  "And nightmare?"   "That one too. 'There are stranger things in heaven and earth, Horatio. . . .' " Special Agent Miranda Bishop shrugged. "The SCU was created to deal with those stranger things. We've seen a lot of them."   "So I've heard, Agent Bishop."   She smiled, and he was aware yet again of an entirely unprofessional and entirely masculine response to truly breathtaking beauty.  

"Miranda, please. Otherwise it'll get confusing."  

"Oh? Why is that?"  

"Because," a new voice chimed in, "you're likely to hear all of us referring to Bishop, and when we do we're talking about Noah Bishop, the chief of the Special Crimes Unit."  

"My husband," Miranda Bishop clarified. "Everybody calls him Bishop. So please do call me Miranda." She waited for his nod, then turned her electric-blue-eyed gaze to the other agent. "Quentin, anything?"  

"Not so you'd notice." Special Agent Quentin Hayes shook his head, then frowned and pulled a twig from his rather shaggy blond hair. "Though I've seldom searched an area with undergrowth this dense, so I can't say I couldn't have missed something."  

Duncan spoke up to say, "Our county medical examiner hasn't had to deal with any but accidental deaths since he got the job, but he said he was sure this man wasn't killed here."

 Miranda Bishop nodded. "Your M.E. is right. If the victim had been killed here, the ground would be soaked with blood--at the very least. This man was probably alive twenty-four hours ago and dumped here sometime around dawn today." 

  Duncan didn't ask how she'd arrived at that conclusion; his M.E. had made the same guesstimate.  

"No signs of a struggle," Quentin added. "And unless this guy was drugged or otherwise unconscious or dead, I would imagine he struggled."  

With a grimace, Duncan said, "Personally, I'm hoping he was already dead when . . . that . . . was done to him."   "We're all hoping the same thing," Quentin assured him. "In the meantime, knowing who the victim was would at least give us a place to start. Any word on the prints your people took?" 

  "When I checked in an hour ago, no. I'll go back to my Jeep and check again; like I told you, cell service is lousy up here, and our portable radios next to useless. We have to use a specially designed booster antenna on our police vehicles to get anykind of signal at all, and even that tends to be spotty."  

"Appreciate it, Sheriff." Quentin watched the older man cautiously make his way down the steep trail toward the road and their cars, then turned his head and looked at Miranda with lifted brows. 

  "I don't know," she said. 

  Quentin lowered his voice even though the nearest sheriff's deputies--Duncan's chief deputy, Neil Scanlon, and his partner, Nadine Twain--were yards away, crouched over a map of the area spread out on the ground. "The M.O. is close. Torture on the inhumanside of brutal."  

She slid her hands into the front pockets of her jeans and frowned. "Yeah, but this . . . this is beyond anything we've seen so far."  

"From this killer, at least," Quentin muttered.   Miranda nodded. "Maybe it's simply a case of escalation, the usual he-gets-worse-as-he-gets-better-at-it, but . . . I'm not seeing a purpose for what was done here. Whether he was dead at the beginning is still arguable, but this man was most definitelydead a long time before his killer was finished with him, and that hasn't been the case with the other victims we've linked together. If this was torture, why keep going after the vic was dead?"  

"For the fun of it?"  

"Christ, I hope not."   "You and me both. Am I the only one having a very bad feeling about this one?"   "I wish you were. But I think we've all picked up on something unnatural here and at the other dump sites. For one thing, I have no idea what means this killer used to strip the body literally to the bone." 

  Quentin glanced toward the remains. "I didn't spot any obvious tool marks on the bones. Or claw or tooth marks, for that matter. You?"  

"No. Or any visible signs that chemicals were used, though forensics will tell us that for certain."  

"We ship the body--or what's left of it--to the state medical examiner?"  

"We do. Duncan already okayed it; he's been very frank about the state of technology in this area."  

"As in the fact that there is no technology? I mean, we've been to some pretty out-of-the-way places, but this is what I'd call seriously remote. How many people you figure the town of Serenade can boast? A few hundred at best?"   "Nearly three thousand, if you count those living outside the town limits but still using Serenade as their mailing address." She saw Quentin's brows go up again and explained, "I checked when we were flying in."  

"Uh-huh. And did you happen to notice that the one motel we passed looks an awful lot like the sort that would have Norman Bates behind the desk?" 

  "I noticed. Though I thought of it as your typical small-town no-tell motel." Miranda shrugged. "And we both know it may not matter. If this victim fits the pattern, then where he was found is only a small piece of the puzzle. In which case we won't bestaying here long."  

"I wouldn't be too sure about that."  

She looked at him, her own brows rising.   "Hunch," he explained. "We're only about thirty miles away from The Lodge, as the crow flies, and there were a lot of unnatural goings-on there for a very long time."  

"You and Diana put that to rest," Miranda reminded him.*  

"Well, we--she, mostly--put part of it to rest. Hopefully the worst part. But that doesn't mean we got it all."  

"It's been a year," she reminded him.  

"Yeah, to the month. Hell, almost to the day. Which I'm finding more than a bit unsettling."  

Miranda Bishop was not in the habit of discounting either a hunch or an uneasy feeling expressed by someone around her, especially by a fellow team member, and she didn't start now. "Okay. But, so far, nothing leads us in the direction of The Lodge. Noconnection to the place or to anyone there, not that we've found."  

"I know. Wish I could say that reassured me, but it doesn't." 

  "Do you want to drive over to The Lodge, take a look around?"  

"If anybody goes, it should be someone with a fresh eye and no baggage," Quentin answered, so promptly that she knew the question had been on his mind for a while. "And probably a medium, given the age and . . . nature of the place."  

"You know very well we have only two available. Diana shouldn't go because of all the baggage, and I'd rather keep Hollis close."  

Quentin eyed her. "Why?"  

Miranda's frown had returned, but this time she appeared to be gazing into the distance at nothing. Or at something only she could see. And it was a long moment before she replied. "Because her abilities are . . . evolving. Because every case seems tobring a new ability and ramp up the power on an existing one. And that's faster than we've ever known psychic abilities to evolve. It's unprecedented."  

Continues...

Excerpted from Blood Ties by Kay Hooper Copyright © 2010 by Kay Hooper. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

 
Kay Hooper is the award-winning author of Blood Dreams, Blood Sins, Sleeping with Fear, Hunting Fear, Chill of Fear, Touching Evil, Whisper of Evil, Sense of Evil, Once a Thief, Always a Thief, the Shadows trilogy, and other novels. She lives in North Carolina, where she is at work on her next book.

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Blood Ties (Bishop/Special Crimes Unit Series #12) 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 185 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book, just like the rest of Hooper's Bishop series, but I felt that the ending was not a good one. It seemed as though there should be more to the story. The ending made me mad, but over all, this was a very good book. Kay Hooper still remains at the top of my list, and I can't wait for her next book!
Sflakes01 More than 1 year ago
This is the first book I've read from the series & I still enjoyed it. It was great of the author to list the previous series the xters had appeared it......it certainly gave me a list of new books to pick up!.
RobertoTX More than 1 year ago
predict the lottery, etc. Very entertaining books.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Near Serenade, Tennessee, the remains of a butchered man and woman are found. The FBI Special Crimes Unit (SCU) led by Bishop and including his wife Miranda is sent to investigate. The unit moves into a nearby B&B, and quickly concludes that the male was meant for immediate finding while the female was not. Meanwhile a sniper begins killing people and something is interfering with the special skills of the SCU team. Unsure of Hollis Templeton's rapidly changing paranormal skills since Touching Evil. and he does not want to use Special Investigator Diana Brisco as the Lodge incident is thirty crow miles away (see Chill of Fears). However, Bishop has no choice. The only hope SCU has to stop what they increasingly believe is an inhuman evil is Diana using her unique psychic ability that enables her to walk in what she calls the void of color Gray Time to communicate with spirit guides. However she must be careful how long her spirit remains in Gray Time as too long means never returning to her body; an adversary plans to strand her there. This is an exciting Special Crimes Unit police procedural in which several team members play key roles including others not mentioned above. A glossary after the novel provides a who's who of SCU and their skills and appearances; this helps keep track as twelve members participate as do the Haven Operatives (bios also in the back). The story line is fast-paced from the moment local Pageant County Sheriff sexagenarian Duncan tells Miranda that neither he nor his department has ever seen let alone handle a case like this one and never takes a stuttering step from there. Fans of SCU will relish the twelfth SCU investigation as someone or something has brought the team to Tennessee to destroy them physically and spiritually. Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love the whole series. One of my favorites.
Steph_MN More than 1 year ago
I hope she'll continue with these books!
GtzLstNRding More than 1 year ago
This book is ok for a so called "conclusion" to this specific story, not one that I was really captured by. There are just too many gifted people involved with the story for my taste - its like everyone is a pyschic everwhere you turn. I liked the serial killer plot and she does a great job connect the 3 books. I didn't care for the end leaving it so she could continue the story at a later date. After you are done with a series you want some kind of closure to it and this one leaves you thinking the entire thing will start over again. I also got a feel to these stories similar to what I get when I read a Nora Roberts Triology - you just know what the plot is.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a very good book. I have read her books before--and there is part of he problem. This book often refers to prior books or characters which I either don't remember, or didn't read about. That is annoying early in the book. But overall, a good read.
ONDREAD2 More than 1 year ago
I HAVE READ ALL KAY HOOPER BOOKS FOR YEARS AND ALL OF HER BISHOP SERIES, THIS IS ONE OF HER BEST IN THE BISHOP SERIES AND I LOVED THE LITTLE SUB-TITLES SO YOU KNOW WHERE YOU HAVE READ THAT CHARACTER BEFORE. I LOVED THE BOOK AND WOULD RECOMMEND IT TO EVERYONE.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love Kay Hooper & love this serie!!! This book is for any age that enjoy misteries paranormal information & situations. I have read all other books by this author; even the romance type (I'm not much for romance stories), & yes!!! I would recommend this for book & her other books for club discussions.
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Still worth reading tho
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