North Carolina detective Jane Harper has her hands full. The body of a young woman has turned up in a local cornfield, and the sensational murder is putting pressure on a police force already dealing with a police corruption scandal. She’s also juggling a budding relationship with a fellow detective while trying to move on from a bad marriage she left in San Francisco. Add a serial killer to the mix, and it’s no wonder that Harper accepts the help of Ida Lane, a psychic who has ties to the town and its sordid history.
Hope’s Peak is the first in a series featuring Detective Harper and psychic Lane, and it’s not a bad start, though it is a little more predictable than I would have hoped. The reader is quickly clued in as to who actually committed the murders, so it is more a matter of waiting for the two women to catch the culprit than of trying to figure out who committed the deed. There is a shadowy backstory involving corruption at the highest levels of the police force that parallels the investigation and adds some intrigue to the mix.
Jane is a formidable detective, though her willingness to break rules—like having an intimate relationship with her partner and sneaking Ida into the morgue—raises some questions about her own moral standards, even as she investigates her fellow officers. The fact that she’s willing to use Ida’s talents as a seer to solve crimes also sets her apart from the typical detective, which may be an advantage in books to come. The bond between the two women, quickly cemented, is also an area that lends itself to more exploration, as does a surprising twist at the end of the story. It will be interesting to see where Jane and Ida go from here.