Late one July night the bodies of two men who owned an occult bookstore are found near a lake in the small mountain resort town of Clearwater, North Carolina. Pentagrams and astrological symbols have been carved on the victims' faces and chests, and police believe the murders may have been part of a satanic ritual. |
In the wake of the killings, fear and suspicion spread through this quiet, Bible Belt community, whipped up by the zealous and charismatic evangelist Brother Gabriel Slocumb. Soon a modern-day witch hunt threatens the lives of all who are thought to be occultists.
But some people in Clearwater have different ideas. Taylor Honeycutt, the handsome and wealthy owner of the town's General Motors dealership, worries that his younger brother Cal might be involved and that Cal's life is also in danger. He begins his own investigation by asking Charlotte McCrae, a Boston astrologer who grew up in Clearwater, to help him decipher the symbols left on the bodies of the murder victims. Charlotte's sister, Aggie, is certain the town's religious zealots are trying to scare "undesirables" out of town. Police Detective Joe Bob Blankenship suspects that a powerful real estate developer with political clout may have a role in the murders. Others in town believe that the slayings were sexually motivated and may be the work of a jealous lover.
Through the use of an ancient form of astrology known as horary, Charlotte tracks down the murderers and discovers a startling criminal operation involving some of Clearwater's most prominent citizens. But in so doing, she risks her own life and Taylor's.
Hidden Agenda is a tale of dark secrets, religious rivalry, and how far people will go to satisfy their own personal agendas. It is also a love story of two people caught up in a dangerous quest that forces them to confront frightening truths about their friends, their families, and themselves.