Series: Krewe of Hunters #17
Published by Harlequin MIRA on September 29th 2015
Genres: Paranormal mystery, Paranormal romantic suspense
Source: the publisher through NetGalley
Also in this series: Phantom Evil, Heart of Evil, Haunted Destiny, Deadly Fate, Darkest Journey
Also by this author: Phantom Evil, Flawless, Heart of Evil, Haunted Destiny, Deadly Fate, Darkest Journey
The newest entry in Heather Graham's popular Krewe of Hunters series, The Hidden, is a page-turner—a story that brings past and present together in a completely unexpected way! Can the same killer strike again—a hundred and fifty years later? Estes Park, Colorado, is a place of serenity. But it wasn't always so serene. Shortly after the Civil War, Nathan Kendall and his wife were murdered there, leaving behind a young son. The crime was never solved. Now historian Scarlet Barlow is working at a small museum attached to a B and B, the same building where that murder occurred. She recently came to Colorado, reeling after her divorce from FBI agent Diego McCullough. Diego—who's just been asked to join the Krewe of Hunters, a unit dealing with "unusual" situations… When Scarlet unwittingly takes pictures of people who've been murdered—just like the Kendalls a hundred and fifty years before—the police look at her with suspicion. Then the museum's statues of historic people, including Nathan Kendall, begin to talk to her, and she knows it's time to call her ex-husband. Diego heads to Estes Park, determined to solve the bizarre case that threatens Scarlet's life—and to reunite with the woman he never stopped loving.
I received a review copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.
And another Heather Graham fan is born…
My blogging friends have been telling me I would like Graham’s books for a while now. They were right! The Hidden is right up my alley: suspenseful but not too gruesome or scary, well-plotted, and with a good dose of both romance and the paranormal. I’d class it as paranormal romantic suspense, with the emphasis on the first and third words. The romance was enjoyable – I liked both Scarlet and Diego very much – but the balance is probably 2/3 mystery, 1/3 romance, and it was the mystery that kept me reading late into the night.
The Krewe of Hunters refers to both an elite FBI group that deals with the paranormal, and the series of books about them. This was my first introduction to the Krewe, and I had no trouble jumping in. Because Scarlet and Diego are both relatively new to the Krewe, it was easy for Graham to slip in the background information I needed without it feeling like an infodump. It’s actually the 17th book in the series, but only one prior book is mentioned directly (and it’s one I’ll probably skip, since I don’t do zombies.)
I loved the setting – a ranch near Estes Park, Colorado. Graham describes both so well that I could easily picture them (and would love to visit them!) Plot and setting are integrated well. The way the murders are tied to the ranch’s history limits the number of characters and possible suspects somewhat, but there’s still a tourist town nearby, so you can’t rule out someone from there, which heightens the suspense.
Graham really kept me guessing who the murderer was. I suspected someone right off the bat, then discounted that person later on. I went through about 6 suspects in my head before I got to the end – and discovered my first suspicion was actually correct. A fair number of people had opportunity and/or means, and since the motive wasn’t clear until close to the end, it was very hard to narrow it down. And Graham adds several twists to the plot that completely surprised me.
Both hero and heroine are really likeable and believable. Diego is almost too perfect a hero: strong, compassionate, and completely dedicated to keeping Scarlet safe and to finding and stopping the murderer. Scarlet is smart and equally strong in her way, but she’s understandably frightened, especially by the uncanny things that keep happening around and to her. It is clear neither has ever stopped loving the other, which makes the resumption of their relationship a foregone conclusion. Hence, there is much more tension in the mystery plot than in the romance, but that was fine with me.
The book does have a few weaknesses. One development stretched my credulity a bit far – and I don’t mean the ghosts. The Krewe members suggest and carry out a scheme to try to unveil the murderer. It’s certainly something that Krewe agents would be comfortable with, but not something I can see anyone believing that normal FBI agents would involve themselves with. Character reactions to the plan are mixed, but no one ever asks, “WTH? What kind of FBI agents are you?” – which would have been my first reaction.
The other thing that bothered me is that a character has a turnaround in their attitude toward Scarlet which is never really explained. That really irks me as a reader; if someone’s behavior changes, show me why.
On the whole, though, I really enjoyed The Hidden, and will definitely be reading more of Graham’s Krewe of Hunters series. Luckily for me, I already have books #1 and #13 on my Kindle… and you can bet I’ll be checking the library for more!
Challenges: COYER Scavenger Hunt #14 – any type of crime novel
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- COYER Scavenger Hunt - Summer 2015