Hold Back the Dark (Bishop Special Crimes Unit Series #18)

Hold Back the Dark (Bishop Special Crimes Unit Series #18)

by Kay Hooper


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780425280959
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/03/2018
Series: Bishop Special Crimes Unit Series , #18
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 101,644
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Kay Hooper, who has more than thirteen million copies of her books in print worldwide, has won numerous awards and high praise for her novels. She lives in North Carolina.

Read an Excerpt

Tuesday, October 7

Olivia Castle had experienced some monster headaches in her time, but this one, she felt sure, was about to make her head quite literally explode. It had come out of nowhere, as if something had just yanked her head into an invisible, tightening vise without warning. A vise with teeth. In pain, queasy, and shaking, she managed to lever herself up from the couch, holding one hand against the head she was sure was about to fall off, and hardly spared a moment to wonder why she'd been on the couch.

Work. She should have been at work.

Shouldn't she be at work?

Had she come home for lunch? She didn't remember.

Her head hurt too much to keep thinking about that.

She made it to the kitchen by holding on to various pieces of furniture as she passed, fighting nausea and accidentally grabbing Rex's tail when she gripped the edge of the sink.


"Sorry, sorry," she muttered, the headache so bad by then that her cat's cry sounded like a dozen angry crows, her own quiet voice sounded like booming thunder in her head, and even her vision was affected in some way she didn't understand; she couldn't see the pleasant Vermont view normally visible from this window. She couldn't see any real view at all.

She was seeing colors she was reasonably sure didn't exist in nature. Or anywhere else, for that matter. Moving, swirling, like colorful smoke driven by a capricious breeze, opaque and translucent by turn. And everything was so damned bright. "Shouldn't sit on the counter. How many times have I told you? Didn't see you, pal. Oh, damn, what is going on?"

There was a large economy-sized bottle of an OTC painkiller near the sink (just as there was one in almost every room of her small house, and in her purse, with a box of extra bottles in the storage closet, in case the zombie apocalypse came without warning and all the pharmacies got looted before she could get to them). Olivia closed her eyes against the unnatural brightness, fumbling the bottle open while bitterly cursing childproof caps foisted upon people who had no children, fumbled just as blindly for a glass and the faucet, and managed, finally, to swallow about eight pills, hoping she could keep them down long enough to do some good.

"Prrupp," Rex said.

"I know it's too many, you don't have to tell me that." She stood there, eyes still closed, still hanging on to the edge of the sink with one hand and her head with the other, trying to breathe normally despite the pain keeping all her muscles rigid and snatching at her ability to breathe at all, her stomach churning, the weird colors still swirling even though her eyes were closed, wishing pain meds took effect faster. Like immediately. It would have been nice, she thought, to just take a shot of morphine and become unconscious for the duration. But she'd discovered the hard way that both the law and doctors frowned on patients self-medicating, far less walking out the door of any hospital, clinic, or pharmacy with their own supply of morphine or any other industrial-strength painkiller. And besides, they said it was only migraines.

Only migraines. Only migraines. Jesus. Even though no migraine remedy known to medical science and quite a few exotic possibilities Olivia had experimented with herself had so much as touched her periodic killer headaches.

She fumbled blindly for the bottle again.


"All right, all right. I know there hasn't been enough time. But if the pain doesn't stop soon, I'm gonna take more. Shit."

A moment later, Rex hissed.

Olivia managed to pry her eyes open no matter how much the ungodly brightness all around her hurt, and squinted at her cat in surprise. Because Rex didn't hiss, or at least never had. But as she focused on her rather odd-looking cat, his brindle-tortie coat at odds with the brilliant blue eyes of a Siamese, she realized even through the bright, swirling colors she was still seeing that Rex was scared.

Really scared.

And Rex didn't scare easily. Or . . . at all.

He was staring past her into the space behind her, the kitchen and den, and his pupils were so narrow that his eyes looked incredibly creepy, like the unnaturally blue eyes of a snake. The fur along his back was standing straight up, and his tail was about three times its natural size.

At the same time, Olivia began hearing a strange rustling sound. At first it sounded like dry leaves skittering along pavement, which was weird enough to hear inside her house with no pavement around. But then she realized it was . . . whispering. Lots of voices. Lots and lots of voices. Whispering.

It was coming from behind her.

Olivia did not want to turn around. Her mouth was dry despite the nausea, her skin was crawling unpleasantly, the pain in her head was getting impossibly worse rather than better, and she was afraid if she turned to confront an axe murderer, she'd beg him to just cut off her head and be quick about it.

Axe murderer. Idiot.

Not an axe murderer, of course. Not anyone.

Not any one . . . thing. Because she heard more than one whisper, many whispers, countless whispers. And she didn't know what they were saying, but she had the eerie feeling they were all whispering the same thing. The same words.

Still holding the edge of the sink with one hand, Olivia turned slowly to see what so frightened her cat and was making her own skin crawl in a sensation she'd never felt before.

"Oh, shit," she whispered.

The headache that was still hellishly painful didn't seem such a big deal now. Because despite all the swirling colors nearly blinding her, she could see, very clearly, why Rex was afraid. Every sharp object in her kitchen and den-every single one from every kitchen knife and fork she owned to three letter openers, two pairs of scissors, two box cutters with razor blades visible, the iron fireplace poker, and half a dozen pens and twice that many sharpened pencils-floated in midair. Different levels, some low, some as high as eye level.

With their pointy ends aimed right at her.

And they were all whispering.

"Waaurr," Rex muttered, his voice unusually quiet, questioning.

"I'm not doing it. I'd know if I were doing it, right? I always know. I have to concentrate to do it. I mean, unless I'm mad. Angry, not crazy. Though maybe crazy too. Because this has never . . . And, anyway, even if I'm mad, I don't . . . know how . . . to make anything . . . whisper."

Or how to stop it when she instinctively tried, an effort that was definitely not rewarded.

Unconsciously, both her hands lifted to her head, pressing as if to hold something in, because the headache suddenly grew horribly worse, impossibly worse, dragging a guttural groan from somewhere deep inside her, and through the bright swirl of colors that was beginning to truly blind her, she could still see all the scary-sharp weapons floating inexorably toward her.


What was whispering? Inanimate objects couldn't communicate, right? Not like this, at least.

The pain edged into agony, but even so she heard as if from a great distance her own shaking, pleading question.

"What? What are you saying? What do you want of me?"

And from the same great distance, she heard the whispered demand that made no sense to her.

Prosperity. Go to Prosperity.

They were still floating eerily toward her, all the pointy things that promised even more pain if they came much closer, and hard as she tried, Olivia couldn't do anything about it, couldn't stop it, couldn't see anything but them or hear anything except for that whispered demand.

Go to Prosperity.

Go to Prosperity.

Olivia heard one last thing: A moan of agony escaped her, and then everything went black.

Tuesday, October 7

Logan Alexander considered himself a man of hardheaded practicality, which to his way of thinking was ironclad proof that the universe had a twisted sense of humor. Because he was also a medium.

A medium.

And he hated being a medium. He hated being called a medium, being dragged from peaceful obscurity into an unwelcome spotlight of sorts, what he was and what he could do named if not understood, word spreading among those who scorned with suspicion and those who believed or desperately wanted to. Both always, always finding him eventually and making his life hell so that he'd have to pull up stakes again, usually in the middle of the night, and find another place to live, in another town or city or state where he could be anonymous again, just another stranger and left in peace. Until the next time he was found, and the lost ones began to seek him out again.

Not the "Can you contact my uncle George and ask him where he hid all the family money?" sort of questions that only made him impatient. Those were relatively easy to either avoid or else respond to with some bullshit answer that would satisfy the sort of people who would even ask that kind of silly question.

It was the truly lost ones that got to him, the religious who had lost their faith and needed proof of some kind of an existence after death. The parents hollow-eyed and haunted in a very human sense by the inexplicable and heartbreaking disappearance of a child. The widows and widowers bereft by the loss of the other half of themselves. And others, so many others, lost people who were desperately hopeful that he could help them.

He hated it.

But what he hated most about an ability way too many people with no understanding of what they were talking about called a gift or a curse (as if it could be anything so simple as either) was that he had absolutely no control over it. And he had been told by someone who did understand and should certainly know all about it that the "door" most mediums opened in order to communicate with the dead was, in him, always open.

Always. Or, hell, just missing entirely.

And also that mediums naturally attracted spirits. Whether they wanted to or not.

He didn't talk to the dead, certainly not willingly. They talked to him. Anywhere. Everywhere. No matter how hard he tried to ignore them. Persistent, insistent, often desperate. Dogging his steps. Showing up in different places. Making it impossible for him to go out to dinner, or to a theater and enjoy a play or movie. Impossible to attend a party, or even to date-or at least date the same woman more than once.

He'd learned that lesson the hard way, with too many first dates ending with a woman eyeing him uneasily because he'd spent too much time sending brief, fierce glares at nothing she could see past her shoulder or over her head, or at the empty chair at their table. Most were either too kind or too wary to say it aloud, but at least one date had told him frankly that she didn't see the sense in a second date since it was obvious he had more baggage than she did and she wasn't getting any younger.

And the last time an instant physical attraction had cut an evening short for energetic (if not desperate) sex in his bed, the lady had left before dawn after waking to find him sitting up in bed having a whispered but clearly angry argument with someone named Josephine.

His bedmate's name wasn't Josephine, he was wide-awake-and as far as the lady could see, nobody else was in the room. So she snatched up her clothing and ran.

Logan had not blamed her one bit. He was just grateful that she hadn't called the police to report an escaped lunatic.

At least a few before her had done something of the sort over the years, reporting him as potentially dangerous, or mentally ill, or just a man who had frightened them in an age when police were finally paying more attention to that sort of thing, leaving him to spend time in this jail or that "detention room" or in some clinic or other while the police and sometimes doctors got things sorted out to their satisfaction in the quest to determine whether he was actually a danger-to himself or others. Sometimes there were fines, sometimes an order for a psychiatric evaluation.

All because he could see and talk to the dead.

They stole any chance he had of living a normal life, these spirits, and while his sympathy was sometimes roused by a particularly sad or frightened spirit killed in some brutally unfair manner and desperate for his help, he seldom could do anything to help them, and that only added to his resentment.

At least most of them had had a shot at a normal life, before whatever unfair act or illness or accident had put them in the ground. Logan, on the other hand, could hardly get a normal day to himself. Impossible to do everyday things. Wherever he went, whatever he was doing, there was at least one dead person anxious to talk to him.

Like now. He was just blamelessly walking in the park near his current home in San Francisco, needing some morning air before he returned to the freelance IT work he did from his home office, because of course he couldn't work in a normal office setting with people all around him.

Besides, even the living had begun to wear on his nerves after a while.

Maybe especially the living.

He'd just wanted some air, that was all. And there was a dead guy walking beside him. Talking to him.

"She didn't mean to poison me, I'm sure," the older gentleman of about sixty was saying earnestly, for about the third time.

Logan paused on an arched footbridge and leaned his elbows on the wooden railing, gazing down at the happily burbling, man-made creek. A quick glance had shown him no one else was near, but he still kept his voice low; bitter experience had taught him that, as with dates, office jobs, and lovers, speaking aloud in public to people only he could see whenever normal people were within earshot too often meant a quick trip to the nearest loony bin, or at least a night in a cell.

Adding insult to injury, the cells too were always filled with dead people. Usually far more hostile than his living cellmates.

"Listen, buddy-"

"My name is Oscar."

Logan didn't bother telling him names didn't really matter. "Oscar, I don't know if your wife poisoned you-"

Customer Reviews

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Hold Back the Dark 2.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 24 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Started with promise of being a real page turner with interesting characters but didn't follow through on promise. Characters not developed. Plot went nowhere. Book just ended abruptly. Not up to Ms Hooper's standards
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The premise is good and this was definitely a page-turner. However I was disappointed in the ending. It was abrupt and anticlimactic. I feel that there were too many loose ends that needed tying. I was looking for at least one more chapter to complete the story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Always enjoy the twists and turns of Bishops Group. Keep them coming please.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This storyline had so much potential. But, Ms. Hooper put a lot of facts in without any resolution to many of them. As I was waiting for a satisfactory climax, the book just...ended. Overall, I was disappointed with this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A good read; lots of new faces I hope we'll see again. I do miss the "romantic" aspect of this "romantic suspense" novel; I want to see more new romances! I will, nonetheless, keep reading any of the new paranormal novels Kay Hooper comes out with.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What a disappointment. Not even close to her usual books. There was little plot. No intrigue or plot twists. Disjointed and skipped over all the action scenes. Don’t waste your money on this one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very little character development on the new characters, the plot was very similar to Hostage and the abrupt ending left a lot of lose ends. I have loved this series since the beginning, but this book was sadly lacking the finely crafted work I have come to expect from Kay Hooper.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This story line had real promise. Unfortunately, the story was rushed and hard to follow. I would have liked more time with the new characters, and for the suspense to build. It was over way too fast, and with very little gratification.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ending is a bit abrupt. A lot of time is spent explaining negative and positive energy, but then it's just over. Could use a better ending.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The ending is very abrupt, as if Ms Hopper got bored and wanted to end the book in 100 words or less. Sorry I wasted my money.
Anonymous 6 months ago
I really love all Hoopers series with the Bishop special crime unit. Am not much of a love story reader like her other books but do really enjoy all of these!
Anonymous 10 months ago
Anonymous 11 months ago
I usually enjoy this series but even skipping pages it was a slow go. The ending was ?????.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Seems like there is a few hundred pages missing. Great setup, great characters, great plot, then nothing. The end was quick and boring not like a kay Hooper book at all. So disappointing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A big action scene comes up where all the team members have to work together to save people & in the next paragraph it's all over...oh yeah we won. No explanation of what happened nothing?! So disappointed
SugarNSpice1 More than 1 year ago
Very creepy addition to the series. A psychic blast was sent out and received by small group of psychics to come to Prosperity, North Carolina. Something evil is going on there and only this group can stop it. Noah Bishop and his wife felt the blast but were not part of the invitation but they do provide the place in North Carolina for everyone to gather before heading to Prosperity. Hollis Templeton and her partner/lover Reece DeMarco along with 6 other psychic who are not part of Bishops SCU team were the ones that got the summons. Those 6 psychic are aware of SVU but have not wanted to join and instead try to live ordinary lives with un-ordinary abilities. Even though hesitant they know they need to get to Prosperity to help fight whatever evil has taken over the town. Madness has taken over a few of the residents minds and had them comment unspeakable acts of violence. Sheriff Jackson Archer has never had any trouble in Prosperity. Its a nice, peaceful place to live. He doesn't understand the heinous murders that are suddenly being committed in his town and only at the urging of his chief deputy Katie Cole who has kept her abilities hidden does he call in Noah Bishop's special team. You curiosity was captivated from the beginning. I liked how the author had the book broken up into three sections.. The Summons, The Gathering and then The Darkness. The ending was a little abrupt and I am hoping that we get to see more of the 6 in future books but overall I liked this creepy little addition to the series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was worse than the last one. Sad, loved her books until these last two.
Deb-Krenzer More than 1 year ago
I have several of Kay Hooper's books, but have never got around to read them. This was my first one. I did not realize that this was a series and I was starting on number 18. (Shocked face!!) I just knew that she had a lot of books and I had never read them. I naturally assumed she was a mystery/suspense writer. I was correct in that assumption only off by the fact that her characters all had some kind of psychic powers. Some had more than one. I wasn't expecting that, but I can handle that if it's not all out there and decided to forge on and give it a chance. While definitely hokey, or was it, I did enjoy the read. I loved all the different powers everyone had and spent an enjoyable afternoon sailing through this read. And even though it was number 18, I had to trouble following the story line. The author wrote in such a way, that yes, of course this is a super power and it's real, that just kept me following the action and loving it. I guess I am going to have to find time to catch up on this series as I rather quite enjoyed it. Thanks to Berkley Publishing and Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a very exciting read. Went almost too quickly and I am certain I missed some of the important details. I love that Hollis is leading a team with many new tools in their inventory! Also happy to see Galen return to work.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this one just as much as the others!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read all her books and I am very disappointed with this one. The books in this series are usually more detailed and the characters more defined. That didn't happen here - new characters were introduced and there is some definition to them but not as much as usual. In defense of that though there are more new characters than is usual. This book is not worth the money - wait for the paperback - it will cost less... The prices for Nook books (electronic books in general) are high - they should equal or even be less than paperbacks due to savings on paper, ink and transportation fees.
EasyReader65 More than 1 year ago
My Nook book just abruptly ended as they closed the portal. I spent $14 for a book with no ending. What gives? This is not the way to write if this is all there is.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
booklover- More than 1 year ago
3.5 Stars Mediums. Clairvoyants. Empaths. Telepaths. Empathic Healers. Psychics of all sorts are being summoned from within. Severe headaches, blackouts, strange colors, and those whispering voices ... all are saying the same thing .... go to Prosperity. Prosperity is a small town in North Carolina that has had more than its share of paranormal activity over the years. The warning now is the evil that emanates there must be stopped and stopped now to keep it from spreading all over the country. And in Prosperity, the evil is gathering strength. A man commits suicide. His last note was Just Me, Not Them. A housewife brutally kills and mutilates her husband and three children. She remembers nothing. A real estate agent guns down two clients. He, too, remembers nothing. A sheriff's deputy comes close to strangling his wife. He's lucky ... he resisted the voices telling him to kill and his wife is still alive. Even with all their 'gifts' and powers ... will they be able to stop the evil? For those who have followed this series, it will be a real treat in that many characters from previous books are all together in one place .. a reunion of sorts... just not a real happy one. There are a few new players and I hope to see more of them in future books. The premise is okay, the characters are outstanding, but this isn't one of the author's best. The ending felt a bit abrupt and without the fast action that is usually seen in her books. Because of the characters, it was still well worth reading. Many thanks to the author / Berkley Publishing / Netgalley for the advanced digital copy. Opinions expressed here are unbiased and entirely my own.