The victims are always the same; beautiful, successful and blond. Yet someone was able to coax these intelligent women away from safety. Someone was able to gain their trust long enough to do the unthinkable. Their shocking murders have terrified the inhabitants of a small peaceful town and its police chief, Rafe Sullivan, knows he has to find answers fast before another woman is lured to her death.--Sense of Evil by Kay Hooper, Published 2003 by Bantam Books. Audio book produced by Recorded Books.
The peaceful southern town of Hastings, South Carolina is destroyed when a serial killer strikes. Three victims so far, all blond, beautiful and successful. Police Chief Rafe Sullivan requests assistance from the FBI and is dismayed when he meets the team’s lead investigator—blond, beautiful (and psychic) Isabel Adams.
Isabel convinces Rafe that she’s the best agent for the job because of her successful track record. She’s also been tracking this particular serial killer ever since he killed her best friend ten years ago. Working with her is new agent Hollis Templeton (from Touch of Evil) who, because of her own encounter with evil, has become a medium (she communicates with spirits).
Rafe, Isabel, Hollis and Rafe’s top detective Mallory Beck get to work on finding the killer. His previous M.O. was to strike once a week for six weeks, so they need to work fast before he claims his fourth victim.
The first victim, Jamie Brauer, had been acting oddly in the weeks leading up to her death. Afterward, details of her secret sex life have come to light and the police begin to find connections between her and the other two victims, but it’s not enough. Who else did she play her closet games with, and what happened to the box of photographs her younger sister said she found a few weeks before her sister was killed?
A reporter goes missing, but she’s a brunette, not blond. Did she get too close to the truth and become the fourth victim, or does her disappearance have another explanation? And is there a connection to yet another recently discovered dead body, months old?
Isabel is on the killer’s list, but is she fourth, fifth or sixth? After a fourth blond victim is found, Rafe and Isabel know that Isabel is next. Together, the team race to find a box of photos that hold the key to solving the entire mystery
Comparing the three books in this series, I think Whisper of Evil was the best. It was clean, crisp and just enough twists to keep the reader interested through to the final page. Touching Evil was good, but predictable in a lot of ways. Sense of Evil, by comparison, had excellent elements, especially with the sex angle and the connection between the victims—and an ending that, for me, I wasn’t really expecting. (Well, maybe a little…you know how you draw up a list of suspects in your mind? This person was on my list, but mainly because I figured if there was going to be a twist, this person fits the twist.) My main issue with Sense of Evil was that there were too many characters. I had no trouble keeping track of the main characters, but when the individual reporters and police kept taking the stage with their stories, I got a little confused. They all came together in the end, but it was still a little confusing.
Because of this confusion, I give this story THREE and a HALF STARS. If I could have kept better track of the characters, maybe I would have made it four.