Out Of The Shadows
by Kay Hooper, contemporary (2000)
Bantam, $6.50, ISBN 0-553-57695-X

I haven't read any of the other two books in Kay Hooper's Shadows trilogy. I actually browsed through them at the bookstore and realize these are the books that I may buy but chances are I'd never get around to reading them (look at my Tami Haog thrillers collecting dust in the TBR mountain of mine). But I do tell myself I will check of the last book that features the psychic FBI dude Noah Bishop.

After all, now that Fox Mulder has more or less left the X-Files and Angel only comes on once a week (dang!), I need my daily tortured-hero fix from somewhere else.

Out Of The Shadows, to my horror, reveals what a gloomy guy Noah is. And worse, he doesn't seem to have any sense of humor. A gloomy face in a gloomy situation is not my idea of a dream guy. Oh well.

But the mystery or thriller in this book is pretty well done, albeit a standard one. In sleepy Gladstone, young people are getting tortured and killed in gruesome ways, and the local law enforcement team, led by sheriff Miranda "Randy" Knight, has no recourse but to call in the FBI Spooky Squad led by Noah Bishop.

Noah and Randy actually share a Bitter Past, where he has hurt her badly and now he decides to try and make it up to her. By the way, this isn't a standard old-affair-ruined-by-overwork/mistrust issue - Randy is also psychic, but unlike Noah, she tries to deny her gifts. Old tensions flare anew as they work to solve the case of the serial loonybin killer.

Since this serial killer targets youngsters, what are the chances that Randy will have a sixteen-year old sister that will be the Fresh Meat of the Hunting Season? If there's one thing Out Of The Shadows hasn't, it's the element of unpredictability.

Oh yes, the dialogs sparkle, the violence stops short of being outright gory or gratuitous (shucks), but really, Randy and Noah are two of the most miserable fellows I've read in quite a time. They have baggages, but they also just can't seem to smile unless it's a smile of extreme bitterness. Here, people make jokes to ridicule themselves. They are stressed, they are fed up, they are bitter, but dang, they will probably die if they crack a smile.

Fox Mulder makes jokes, you know. Sometimes, the strongest people are those who can laugh at the face of adversity.

Out Of The Shadows is a pretty standard serial-killer-in-small-town affair, really. It's nothing different from all the usual cop stuff on TV, on bookstores, on movie theaters. Only this time around, someone left out all the one-liners that could have provided some much-needed levity.

Rating: 75

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