"Hunting Fear" opens as Noah Bishop of the FBI puts together a uniquely skilled team - a group of talented psychics with a variety of extrasensory abilities - to assist in the investigation of crimes that have eluded the efforts of more traditional police techniques. Lucas Jordan, whose specialty is finding lost people by tuning into their emanations of fear and terror, is assigned the task of tracking down a serial kidnapper who demands a ransom and then kills his victims in rather gruesome fashion after he has received the ransom. The team's investigation takes them to Golden, North Carolina, where Jordan crosses paths with Samantha Burke, a former lover also gifted with psychic ability, working as a clairvoyant seer in a traveling carnival sideshow. County sheriff, Wyatt Metcalfe, although a dedicated capable lawman is also clearly a scoffing, cynical disbeliever in the paranormal abilities of the Special Crimes Unit and directs his investigation of the most recent kidnapping towards the staff of the traveling carnival whom he sees as troublemaking itinerant gypsies.
It soon becomes clear that the kidnapper has turned his crime spree into a personal one-on-one game with Lucas Jordan who seems unable to bring himself to face the physical and mental pain necessary to access his psychic talents - mentally touching the terrified victims by accessing their terror and fear of death. The stakes are turned up a notch and the novel careens towards an exciting finish when policewoman Lindsay Graham, Metcalfe's partner and lover, is kidnapped and imprisoned in a glass tank buried deep in a local abandoned mine.
Although not entirely a disbeliever, I started the book and, having finished, remain skeptical. That said, Hooper does a superb job of using the paranormal as a wonderful literary device to create a taut suspense thriller without going completely over the top and entering the realm of the entirely incredible! The plot line, primarily driven by realistic well-crafted dialogue, is fast-paced, easy reading and exciting. Colourful characters become warm-blooded, very real people in the minds of the readers simply by mental extrapolation from the words that come out of their mouths. Wyatt Metcalfe, in particular, is the memorable standout member of the cast in terms of his strength of character, realism, passion and obvious personal growth from the beginning through the climax of the novel. The narrative interludes describing the workings of the psychic phenomena (such as they are currently perceived and understood) are informative and add nicely to the apparent reality of the novel.
No doubt about it ... belief in the paranormal is not a pre-requisite to enjoyment of "Hunting Fear" and it can be recommended to any reader who enjoys their suspense thrillers. Hooper's novels should enjoy equal space on your book shelf with the likes of David Baldacci, Tess Gerritsen, Jonathan Kellerman and James Patterson. I'll look forward to reading "Chill of Fear", the second novel in her three part "Fear" series.
Hooper does a superb job of using the paranormal as a wonderful literary device to create a taut suspense thriller that pits Noah Bishop's FBI team of psychic special agents against a serial kidnapper and murderer.