Review: Hold Back the Dark by Kay Hooper

Posted April 16, 2018 by Sophia Rose in Reviews / 15 Comments

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Review: Hold Back the Dark by Kay Hooper
Hold Back the Dark

One StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

Series: Bishop SCU #18
Genres: Paranormal Romance, Romantic Suspense
Published by Berkley
Released on April 3, 2018
Pages: 352
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
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The Delight

After seeing Hollis and Reese come together as a romance pair as well as FBI Special Crimes partnering, I was tickled to see them back and fabulous as ever against a resident evil.  They are working with an unconventional team this time around and I enjoyed meeting all these new players.


Hold Back the Dark is the eighteenth book in this long standing paranormal thriller romance series and is also the sixth book in the sub-series within the larger one of Bishop’s SCU FBI team stories.  There is a little feeling of this book being tied in with the rest of the series, but I suppose, in a pinch, a person could grab this one out of order.  There are character charts and a list of psychic terms in the back of the book to help out.

Hold Back the Dark was an interesting one.  It felt very much like the start of a new series in ways.  It introduced a half-dozen new people, their pasts, and their gifts, their ties to the SCU and Haven and then the story got into the main case they are all working on.  With this one, I felt like the inter-personal and individual stories were more the focus than their actual case.  Like others before it in this series, it was a gritty, violent series of murders and the reader gets a sense the team and local law enforcement are up against some true evil.

Because, this built a huge front porch (all the set up and intros), I felt the overall story development was uneven.  The end was rushed and abrupt.  I was actually thinking as I neared the last pages that the story would carry over into another book, but then suddenly, wham, here’s the answers and wham, there’s the finish.  I felt more was needed to conclude this book for me with unanswered questions that were brought up earlier let alone what’s the direction for all these new characters.  As this is part of an ongoing series, I can only hope that this just means the next book will tease some of that out.

Several characters take turns being the focus and the narrators though the main pair are Hollis and Reese.  Hoillis is worried about being lead over a group that she doesn’t know and they are all heading into a huge, dark situation with apocalyptic possibilities if they fail.  She has to learn to rely on others, not try to shield them, and let people do their jobs.  I loved how Hollis heeded Bishop’s advice and lived up to his great confidence in her.  And what I really loved was seeing that, once again, Reese totally respected her as an equal partner and had no trouble with her as the lead.  He loves her, but he also respects and trusts her.

So, another thrilling  installment in the series was easily devoured.  There are some dark, gritty, and moderately squeamish descriptions when the investigators come across the grisly crime scenes, but I was able to handle it because it wasn’t told in the present just described afterward.  Those who enjoy psychic thrillers or paranormal romantic suspense would be the best fit for this book.

My thanks to Penguin-Random House for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.


Chief Deputy Katie Cole had lived in Prosperity for less than a year but had settled in to the town and her job quickly and without fuss. She had an easy manner and the knack of both talking to people and listening when they needed to talk, so even though she wasn’t a native, she had been accepted completely.

As far as she could tell, anyway.

Even though it was a smallish town, and fairly isolated, Prosperity was not entirely off the beaten path; no major highway was close, but the town was located in a section of the Appalachian Mountains considered particularly scenic, so it was the rule rather than the exception that plenty of sightseers and other tourists drove through pretty steadily from spring right up to winter.

Some of them even stopped for a few days or at least a long weekend, enjoying one of the two very nice hotels in the main part of town, good food, the scenery, and local crafts sold for reasonable prices in small shops staffed by smiling, friendly people.

Crime was practically nonexistent, in part because Sheriff Jackson Archer was a good cop and a highly respected, homegrown citizen of the town, and in part because Prosperity was . . . well, a prosperous small town. So there were enough jobs to go around and good schools that not only educated the kids but offered plenty of after-school and summer activities. On the whole the citizens were happy.

Which was maybe, Katie thought, why it struck her as so odd to feel a very unusual tension as she strolled along Main Street, stretching her legs and having a look around. She’d been vaguely conscious of an uneasiness she couldn’t pinpoint for more than a week, but now there was nothing vague about what she felt.

Except a good reason for it.

Because she didn’t see any reason for tension; it looked to her like a perfectly normal Tuesday morning in early October. There were quite a few tourists about, she noted, wearing the slightly harried but pleased look of people who were not at home but were bent on enjoyment of their surroundings.

This far south the leaves hadn’t turned yet, so that wave of visitors was still some weeks away, but the season so far had been nicely busy since spring. And now that the kids had gone back to school, Katie hadn’t had to tell even one teenager that the downtown sidewalks weren’t to be used for skateboarding, they knew that, and what was wrong with the half pipe and surrounding skateboarding area in the very nice park on the west end of town?

A normal Tuesday.

Katie said hi to a few people she knew, nodded politely to visitors she didn’t, and tried to hide her own increasing tension behind a pleasant smile as she strolled along the sidewalk.
What was bugging her? It was an uneasiness inside her, but even more it was something outside her, something she . . . sensed. She caught herself looking back over her shoulder more than once, for some reason always surprised that there was nobody following her, even watching her as far as she could see, and the part of Main Street behind her looked just as normal as what lay ahead. But the feeling had been with her too long to ignore, and it was growing stronger.

It felt like something was about to happen.

Something bad.

And what was going on with her skin? Something else that had begun days ago and had intensified. It was tingling, an unpleasant sort of pins-and-needles sensation as if she had a pinched nerve somewhere. Somewhere that it would affect her whole body. Was that even possible? What—

Get off the street.

The commanding voice in her head was something she had experienced enough times in her life to obey without question. She glanced around quickly, knowing she was too far from the station and her office, too far from her Jeep, her apartment.

And there were people everywhere.

Without many options, Katie slipped through one of the few narrow alleyways to be found downtown, this one far too narrow to do anything creative with; it was just a musty-smelling passage between brick buildings, out of the sunlight and so growing mold or algae or something on the walls and the concrete floor. At the back, behind each of the buildings on either side, tall wooden fences enclosed small areas where the trash was discreetly hidden from the businesses and homes behind Main Street.

Quickly, Katie stepped inside one of the areas, knowing she wouldn’t be visible unless someone on a rooftop was peering down at her. She wrinkled her nose at the faint rancid smell of garbage even though it was further hidden from sight by the big rolling trash containers, their lids closed.

She barely had time to sort of brace herself in one corner, the tall wooden fence support on two sides, before she was hit with something so powerful it literally stole her breath.
She dimly felt herself sliding down the wood, trying to do that rather than fall over the garbage cans.

Then everything went black.


Romance Roundabout #113 RS
New Release #51
Literary Pickers #89 scuba




About Kay Hooper

Kay Hooper was born in California, in an air force base hospital since her father was stationed there at the time. The family moved back to North Carolina shortly afterward, so she was raised and went to school there.
The oldest of three children, Kay has a brother two years younger and a sister seven years younger. Her father and brother are builders who own a highly respected construction company, and her mother worked for many years in personnel management before becoming Kay’s personal assistant, a position she held until her untimely death in March 2002. Kay’s sister Linda works as her Business Manager, Events Coordinator, and is playing a major role in the creation and operation of The Kay Hooper Foundation.

Kay graduated from East Rutherford High School and attended Isothermal Community College — where she quickly discovered that business classes did not in any way enthrall her. Switching to more involving courses such as history and literature, she also began to concentrate on writing, which had been a longtime interest. Very quickly hooked, she asked for a Christmas typewriter and began seriously working on her first novel. That book, a Regency romance titled Lady Thief, sold to Dell Publishing in 1980. She has since published more than 60 novels and four novellas.

Kay is single and lives in a very small town in North Carolina, not far from her father and siblings. Deigning to live with her are a flock of cats — Bonnie, Ginger, Oscar, Tuffy, Felix, Renny, and Isabel — of various personalities who all like sleeping on manuscripts and whatever research happens to be spread across Kay’s desk. And living amongst the many felines are two cheerfully tolerant dogs, a shelter rescue, Bandit, who looks rather like a small sheepdog, and a Sheltie named Lizzie.

Kay Robbins is a pseudonym used by her.

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.

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Alyssa Susanna
4 years ago

Ooooo, romantic suspense! This sounds neat. Squeamish moments though??? I am such a scaredy cat when it comes to scary/squeamish. LOL. I’m glad you enjoyed this book, Sophia!

Have a lovely week. =)

Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

Sophia Rose
4 years ago
Reply to  Alyssa Susanna

Yeah, I’m not a big one for squeamish either so getting a recap of what happened off scene with that stuff works just fine for me. 😉

Thanks, Alyssa! Wishing you a good one, too.

Kimberly Caffeinated Reviewer

I notice she does this with her books, sort of series within series.

Sophia Rose
4 years ago

Yes, it confused me at first, but she put a guide together to explain it so now I’m merely a little clueless. LOL

4 years ago

it’s too bad about the answers given like that but it looks good otherwise

Sophia Rose
4 years ago
Reply to  Melliane

Yes, I was so disappointed in the rushed ending, but the rest was good.

Debbie Haupt
Debbie Haupt
4 years ago

Too bad about the rushed ending but you’ve just convinced me to get back to this series Sophia Rose I think I stopped a couple of years ago when my contract reviews got so crazy. Thanks

Sophia Rose
4 years ago
Reply to  Debbie Haupt

Yeah, I’m crossing my fingers that some things will get addressed in the next book. I have to go back and read pretty much the first fifteen so you’re in good company. 😉

Carole's Random Life
4 years ago

I still need to read Kay Hooper. I am almost confused about where to start with this series. Sounds like a decent read even if it had a few issues.

Sophia Rose
4 years ago

Yes, it does get confusing for sub-series inside the main series, but she does have a list. It’s usually grouped by three or four in an arc. I’ve only read the last three and did alright.

4 years ago

18th book of the series but still as good?! That’s amazing Sophia Rose. Haven’t read anything from the author yet but I think I’ll start by checking out this series 😉

Sophia Rose
4 years ago
Reply to  Vanessa

Yes, she certainly has written quite a few. I’ve only read the last three, but plan to go back for the earlier ones.

4 years ago

I used to read this series a long time ago. I think I read probably the first 8 or so and then stopped once I started blogging. I can’t believe she is still writing it! It was really good back then, but I wonder at the way she chose to end this one-doesn’t seem right does it?

Sophia Rose
4 years ago
Reply to  Lorna

Oh neat, that you’ve read so many of them. I hope to go back and get the earlier ones. I’ve only read the last three.

Yes, it was odd. She took all that time introducing all those new people and their psychic talents and issues and then just dropped hints before the end. No resolution save a quick current mystery reveal that actually came from left field. I liked the book right up until then. Hopefully, she’ll resolve a bunch of that stuff.

4 years ago

it’s too bad about the answers given like that but it looks good otherwise