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The Bitter Season by Tami Hoag (Review #2)

Reviewed by Allen Hott

The Bitter Season
Tami Hoag writes great murder mysteries but believe that she almost outperformed herself on this one! Not quite sure what the title means but the story line is enough to make one’s mind turn to a slightly Bitter Season!

It really is a great read but it is also very twisted and re-twisted. It all begins with Nikki Laska, a Minneapolis detective, who is working on her first cold case which she has requested believing that it will give her more free time at night to be with her two sons.

At the same time Sam Kovac, her longtime detective partner, has just been assigned a murder case where an older couple were attacked and killed by someone using ceremonial Japanese weapons including a Samurai sword which was very valuable. The man who was killed had been a college professor who was in the midst of a possible promotion in East Asian studies at the university where he taught. Strangely enough he was battling another professor for that promotion and also strangely enough that other professor was very much involved it seems with the murdered professor’s daughter. And that mix-up is just one of the many weird coincidents that begin occurring in this story. Read the rest of this entry »

The Bitter Season by Tami Hoag

Reviewed by Teri Davis

The Bitter SeasonSupposedly change is good for us, but unfortunately we do not always adjust as well as we could, or should even if it our choice to change.

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Detective Nikki Liska has this problem. She chose to leave homicide due to the long and unpredictable hours which are difficult for a single-parent of two teenaged boys. This was her choice.

Now she is a part of the newly formed cold case unit in Minneapolis. Now she has predictable hours, at least that is what she believes entering this position. Each member of this team is going through the extensive files of cold cases, choosing what case they can successfully solve. With newness, each member is acutely aware of the need for success in order to continue and be of value to the force and to the taxpayers.

The selected case is the murder of a police officer, Ted Duffy which happened twenty-years ago. If the police could not solve it in all those years, why would the cold case unit now be able to find new information? Nikki is not pleased with this decision. Read the rest of this entry »

Secrets to the Grave by Tami Hoag

Reviewed by Allen Hott

secretstothegraveOne more great murder mystery from Tami Hoag. She writes with all the stops pulled and everything is go, go, and more go. Have yet to read one of her books that I didn’t care for.

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In the small town of Oak Knoll, California a young mother/artist is found brutally murdered with her severely wounded four year old daughter lying on the mother’s dead mutilated body. Someone not only killed her but had repeatedly stabbed her, cut off her breasts, and left a kitchen knife sticking in her vagina. Blood was all over the room, the victim, and the young girl, Haley, when the police found them. Read the rest of this entry »

The 9th Girl by Tami Hoag

Reviewed by Allen Hott

The 9th GirlProbably should read this one before Cold, Cold Heat by Tami Hoag but in some ways it doesn’t matter. They are both really great reads and keep the reader in it all the way to the end. Hoag can really write even though her tongue is pretty foul.

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What almost appears to be a zombie comes bounding out of the trunk of a car that is run into by a sliding limousine. The limo driver couldn’t control it on the ice and especially since he was watching the hijinks going on in the rear of his own vehicle. Read the rest of this entry »

Cold Cold Heart by Tami Hoag

Reviewed by Allen Hott

Cold Cold HeartThis is the best of the Tami Hoag books that I have read. She has really written quite a thriller mystery that includes plenty of insight into PTSD or its equivalent. Hoag has suffered from that problem after taking a very bad fall from a pony when she was very young. She weaves the feelings, problems, and terrible consequences of PTSD into this story brilliantly.

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A great opening has Dana Mercer having just stuck a screwdriver into the side of the head of Doc Holiday, the man who had kidnapped her. He had held her for several days doing to her whatever he wanted which included excessive beating. Read the rest of this entry »

Cold Cold Heart by Tami Hoag

Reviewed by Caryn St. Clair

coldcoldheartDana Nolan is the only victim of a serial killer to survive, but Dana is left with serious disfigurement, Traumatic Brain Injury and PTSD. While the news media is all over her story keeping the attack and her survival alive, Dana is struggling to remember the simplest things around her.  She doesn’t remember most people, places or things. She takes photographs and keeps a written log of people, directions and events to use as a reference.  She returns to her parents’ home in Indiana to recover but finds being home presents even more challenges. To start with, although she and her step father have never been particularly close, she feels edgy around him now. And its awkward being around so many people who she has a history with but she doesn’t remember. But the worst is the question that pops up almost immediately. Could the attack on Dana have any connection to what happened to her best friend Casey Grant? Casey disappeared right after high school graduation. Casey’s boyfriend, who was a suspect at the time, is also back in town. <!–more–>

<em>Cold Cold Heart</em> was an interesting book but a hard one to categorize. There obviously are a couple of mysteries to be solved. Will Dana uncover the truth behind her friend’s disappearance and was the attack on her related to what happened to Casey?  But the mysteries are over shadowed by the very interesting look at Traumatic Brain Injury and PTSD. It is clear from the writing that the author knows these conditions well and it is revealed in a note at the end of the book that indeed she herself suffered a mild brain trauma as a child. What also comes through is this is a subject she feels strongly about and she needed to write about. The constant descriptions of what Dana was going through was hard reading at times and frequently took me out of the story.

This book has the feel of the beginning of a new series. When the book ended, there were a few things that just didn’t seem to be wrapped up. Nothing major, but if this is the first in a new series it should be interesting what Hoag has in store for Dana in the future.

Down the Darkest Road by Tami Hoag

Down the Darkest Road Reviewed by Allen Hott

Tami Hoag is a great creator of intense suspense/thriller novels. She has done it again with this one. Lauren Lawton is very deeply disturbed due to the recent events in her life. It began when her eldest daughter, sixteen at the time, was taken by some type of predator. No evidence of where she is or if she is still alive and after four years of wondering just about everyone except Lauren has given up hope of finding the missing daughter. And again everyone including the police have about given up hope of catching the culprit who did the kidnapping. Lauren still has hopes!

Not too long after Leslie, the daughter, went missing Lauren’s husband was killed in a car wreck which many believed was actually his way of committing suicide. He even more than Lauren had been crushed with the disappearance of his daughter because he felt directly responsible for her safety.

After all that happened Lauren decided for the sake of her youngest daughter, Leah, it would be best if they moved from Santa Barbara to attempt to mend their wounds. The move did allow Leah to make some new friends and begin to somewhat get over the loss of her sister and dad. However it did nothing for Lauren. She continued in her state of depression even in new surroundings. Read the rest of this entry »

Deeper Than Dead by Tami Hoag (Review #2)

Deeper Than DeadReviewed by Allen Hott

A killer is on the loose in a small town in California in 1985. One of the first bodies discovered happened to be discovered by four grade school children cutting through the woods on their way home from school. With that discovery the locals become concerned about the possibility of a serial killer. Local cops try to play down the incident to keep the town as calm as possible as well as to keep the killer from getting too much notoriety.

Interwoven into the main plot is the reaction of the four children not only to the finding of the dead body but also how they react to each other. The most timid has many immediate problems. Some of which are brought on by the finding but some of the more serious are brought on by a different child who is a bully.

Lucky for them (and the story) their teacher has a fair amount of child psychology training. She becomes very involved in helping them through their troubled times.

As the case becomes more and more part of the daily lives of the townspeople one of the detectives who has recently undergone some FBI training decides on his own to call in help from one of his FBI trainers.
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Deeper Than the Dead by Tami Hoag

Deeper Than the Dead by Tami HoagReviewed by Cy Hilterman

I have always been a fan of Tami Hoag’s writing, wishing she wrote more books because of her great stories, characters, mysteries, and plots that the reader will not see coming. Deeper Than The Dead is no different except I think it may be even better than its predecessors. The time line for this book is 1985 so Tami had to go back and study history of that period when very few of today’s’ electronics existed. As I read I was astounded at how far we have advanced in electronics, especially in law enforcement. Profiling and DNA are two of the most advanced things that have given those in law enforcement far better tools than they had in 1985.

Several teenagers, Tommy Crane, Dennis Farman, Wendy Morgan, and Cody Roache were connected throughout the story, some good, and some bad involvement. Dennis was the “bad boy” but his father, Frank, was a sheriff’s deputy so he could do no wrong. Sure he couldn’t! Anne Navarre was their teacher who tried to assist any of her students through any problem and at any time. When the boys left school one day and took the back woods path through the park to go home, fussing and feuding as usual, they tripped and fell into a body with its arm sticking out above ground. UCKY they felt and the event changed most of their future actions and mind set, except bad boy Dennis, to never wanting to see such a thing again. The site was near the school so when Anne Navarre heard the shouts she rushed to them to assist in their grief. The body was that of a young woman that had been brutalized and also had her eyes and mouth glued shut and her ears punctured, making her sight unforgettable. Read the rest of this entry »