I do not think that there can ever be enough books about anything and I say that knowing that some of them are going to be about Pilates.The more knowledge the better seems like a solid rule of thumb, even though I have watched enough science fiction films to accept that humanity’s unchecked pursuit of learning will end with robots taking over the world.-Sarah Vowell

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The First Prophet: A Bishop Files Novel by Kay Hooper

Kay Hooper has so far written sixteen thrillers involving Agent Bishop, the leader of the Special Crimes Unit of the FBI. This book is the first in a series that is an off-shoot of that one, which is called the Bishop Files.  It does not involve any of the SCU agents or anything that they do, but Bishop is involved, albeit, in the background, because what is going on concerns him as both the leader of the SCU and as a psychic who is concerned about other psychics.  The prologue begins with a brief battle between a man named Duran and his men preparing to attack a cabin where Brodie is protecting a psychic, when things go horribly wrong. This cracks the door open to a fight very few know about.

The story begins with Sarah Gallagher, who watches the Victorian house, in Richmond, she had pain-strikingly restored with her own hands, burn to the ground.  The fire marshal says that it is arson.  A man that should be a stranger to her, but is not, Tucker Mackenzie, a successful writer, comes up to her to talk.  She knows what he wants before he opens his mouth.  He wants what they all want.  Ever since her mugging six months ago that left her in a coma and nearly killed her, she awoke with the ability to see the future.  However, no one really wants to hear what she has to say, the truth, or that she cannot turn her ability on or off at will.  In Tucker, however, she sees something different: someone who wants to believe and someone who wants the truth, no matter how painful that truth may be. 

When Sheriff Lewis talks to her she tells him that Tucker is a friend from out of town. Its obvious that Lewis is not likely to discover who did this.  In fact, Duran is responsible, who is in town to capture or kill her, we are not sure.  Brodie is also in town with his partner, Cait, and they seem to be, once again, once step behind. What is it exactly that they want from her too?

Sarah and her business partner, Margo, have an apartment that either can use if need be, over their antiques shop.  Tucker talks his way inside and into staying the night, especially when she tells him that she thinks someone's been watching her over the past few days.  They are greeted by a black cat named Galahad, who comes and goes as he pleases, and is quite more than he seems. Every vision Sarah has had has come true. She recognizes Tucker because she has seen him in her visions.  He is part of her fate, her destiny, her journey toward her death. She sees these shadows that are coming to kill her and a grave that she falls into with  a tombstone with her name and the month of October and that year on it. Its not that long before October now. Tucker tries to convince her that surely it does not work that way, that every decision we make, changes the future, that her fate is not set in stone.  A gravestone does not necessarily mean death.  It could symbolize something else.  It is hard to convince the stubborn Sarah. 

Its hard for Sarah to conceal her worry when her friend and partner, Margo returns home from the business trip early after hearing about the fire.  Sarah has had a vision that Margo will die from a bizarre accident in the shop, which is why she sent her away in the first place.  Now she can't get her to leave.  The next day when the three are in the shop, Margo, who looks similar to Sarah, goes to get something out of a dresser for Sarah that someone called saying they left in there, while Sarah is dealing with another phone call.  Suddenly, the large dresser begins to fall.  Luckily, Tucker is there and tackles Margo and gets them both mostly out of the way and uninjured.  They call Sheriff Lewis, but he is once again, no help.  This time, Margo agrees to leave, and Tucker and Sarah decide to leave too, but they get a look at the men coming to get Sarah first and get a surprise that makes them realize that they can trust no one.

They head to a cabin that a friend of Tucker has out in the middle of nowhere.  It has secure computer access and they can rest for a while and figure out their next move. This is when Tucker begins doing searches and discovers that for the past decade psychics have gone missing or been found dead.  Someone, it seems, is out to get psychics, for some reason, and it seems they are after Sarah now.  The computer, which is not even hooked up to the internet, receives a message to them to leave now.  This alarms them, but they quickly pack up and leave, with both Duran and Brodie on their tail. 

Sarah's powers are quickly changing.  Now she can hear thoughts and project them.  There are two voices in her head, one saying something that she's not sure she should believe and the other, a gentle voice, guiding her north.  She is also able see so much more than the future and has the answer to the questions Tucker has about the woman from his past that he let down. So, following Sarah's directions, while making a few detours, they travel north hoping to meet a psychic who can help Sarah control her powers and figure out what to do.  Then things go horribly wrong.  And Sarah must decide if she will accept that her vision is written in stone or if it can be changed and if she can be the one to change it.   

Bishop became aware of the missing psychics years ago and eventfully came across Duran and Brodie. He has a vested interest in what is going on here, as the members of his unit are psychics, and while they have yet been targeted, that may change.  Also, some of these missing psychics were ones he had approached, but had declined to join, but he had never the less kept an eye on, just in case they needed help, and now they are gone. This book is really good.  The characters are real.  They make mistakes, they are flawed, they are scared (which they should be), frustrated, sad, overconfident,  too trusting, and just plain human, even if some of them do have psychic abilities.  And you really have no idea who to trust and even if you can see into the future, it does not mean that you figure it out right, which could be costly.  I am excited about the future of this sizzling new series.

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