Deeper Than the Dead

( 641 )

Overview

"California, 1985. Four children, running through the woods after school, stumble upon a partially buried female body, eyes and mouth glued shut. Close behind the children is their teacher, Anne Navarre, shocked by this discovery and heartbroken as she witnesses the end of their innocence. What she doesn't yet realize is that this will mark the end of innocence for an entire community, as the ties that bind families and friends are tested by secrets uncovered in the wake of a serial killer's escalating pattern of destruction." "Vince Leone, a

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Overview

"California, 1985. Four children, running through the woods after school, stumble upon a partially buried female body, eyes and mouth glued shut. Close behind the children is their teacher, Anne Navarre, shocked by this discovery and heartbroken as she witnesses the end of their innocence. What she doesn't yet realize is that this will mark the end of innocence for an entire community, as the ties that bind families and friends are tested by secrets uncovered in the wake of a serial killer's escalating pattern of destruction." "Vince Leone, a pioneering FBI investigator called in from Washington to consult on the case, is charged with interpreting that pattern. He's using a brand-new technique - profiling - to develop a theory of the murders, a strategy that pushes him ever deeper into the lives of the four children, and closer to the teacher whose bond with her traumatized students puts her on a collision course with the killer." As new victims are discovered and the media scrutiny of the investigation bears down on them, both Vince and Anne are unsure if those who suffer most are the victims themselves, or the family and friends of the killer - unaware that someone very close to them is a brutal, calculating psychopath whose reign of terror is only just getting started.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Bestseller Hoag (Kill the Messenger) ventures into serial killer territory with results sure to please her many fans, though unresolved plot threads, both intentional and inadvertent, may put off veteran readers of the genre. One fall day in 1985 in Oak Knoll, Calif., fifth-grader Tommy Crane and his sidekick, Wendy Morgan, are fleeing the class bully, Dennis Farman, through a local park when Tommy stumbles over the head of a dead woman buried up to her neck. Two hours from Los Angeles, Oak Knoll is not the sort of town where major crime is a problem, but a serial killer is on the loose who's already murdered and tortured several women and has another on deck in his secret lair. Fifth-grade teacher Anne Navarre, who counsels Tommy and Wendy, is soon at the center of the investigation being led by a hunky FBI agent, Vince Leone. This is serial killer lite with Hoag's romance roots dictating both the prose style and the unveiling of the killer. 8-city author tour. (Dec.)
Library Journal
In Hoag's newest thriller (after The Alibi Man), the year is 1985; DNA evidence and the Internet are distant glimmers on the horizon. In a sleepy California suburb, four children stumble across the body of a dead woman in the park. Young hotshot detective Tony Mendez is convinced the woman is the third victim of a serial killer and solicits the FBI. His call reaches the ears of Vince Leone, a pioneer in profiling, just returning from medical leave. The children's discovery also draws teacher Anne Navarre into the mystery. Once the team is in place, the race is on to find the killer before he strikes again. VERDICT Though it has all the elements of a serial killer thriller, Hoag's latest is really a "family thriller." Intertwining the effects of the crime on her characters, the attempt is satisfactory. Also recommended for those who enjoyed Tana French's In the Woods.—Jane Jorgenson, Madison P.L., WI
Kirkus Reviews
Nail-biting thriller about a vicious serial killer with a particularly creepy MO. On their way home from school, three fifth-graders take a detour through a neighboring woods and oh, how they'll wish they hadn't. It's a fateful detour with agonizing consequences that will render their lives nightmarish. They stumble on the corpse of a young woman, insanely mistreated, and yet there is method to the madness: "Eyes glued shut. Mouth glued shut. See no evil. Speak no evil." A message certainly, but exactly how to interpret it? The badly shaken ten-year-olds are all pupils in a class taught by Anne Navarre, who comes upon the crime scene a few minutes later. Anne is a young woman with her own firsthand experience of childhood trauma, sufficiently hurtful to make her instantly empathic. She cares deeply about her students, senses the possibility of long-term damage and, wanting only to help, finds herself contending with entrenched parental obtuseness. Enter Vince Leone, an FBI profiler dispatched from Washington who soon enough will also be caring deeply-for Anne. Meanwhile, the local cops plus Vince have come to realize that whatever fixed idea the "See-No-Evil Killer" is possessed by, he has now proclaimed it at least three times. Clearly, they have a sociopath on their hands, one of the self-anointed brilliant kind who gets off on playing catch-me-if-you-can with slow-witted, outclassed cops. The investigation intensifies, the suspect list narrows, but fear grips the quiet California community of Oak Knoll, 20,000 people no longer convinced that "things like this don't happen here."Once again, bestselling Hoag (The Alibi Man, 2007, etc.) plots craftily and creates characters readersroot for.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781616886196
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 12/29/2009
  • Pages: 421
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Tami Hoag

Tami Hoag is the #1 international bestselling author of thirty books. Renowned for combining thrilling plots with character-driven suspense, Hoag first hit the New York Times bestseller list with Night Sins, and each of her books since has been a bestseller. She lives in Florida.
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Read an Excerpt

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1

My Hero

My hero is my dad. He is a great person. He works hard, is nice to everyone, and tries to help people.

His victim would have screamed if she could have. He had seen to it she could not open her mouth. There would have been terror in her eyes. He had made certain she could not open them. He had rendered her blind and mute, making her the perfect woman. Beautiful. Seen and not heard. Obedient. He had immobilized her so she could not fight him.

Sometimes he helps me with my homework because he is good at math and science. Sometimes we play catch in the backyard, which is really fun and cool. But he is very busy. He works very hard.

Her uncontrollable trembling and the sweat that ran down the sides of her face showed her terror. He had locked her inside the prison of her own body and mind, and there would be no escape.

The cords stood out in her neck as she strained against the bindings. Sweat and blood ran in thin rivulets down the slopes of her small, round breasts.

My dad tells me no matter what I should always be polite and respect people. I should treat other people the way I would like to be treated.

She had to respect him now. She had no choice. The power was all his. In this game, he always won. He had stripped away all of her pretense, the mask of beauty, to reveal the plain raw truth: that she was nothing and he was God.

It was important for her to know that before he killed her.

My dad is a very important man in the community.

It was important that she had the time to reflect on that truth. Because of that, he wouldn't kill her just yet. Besides, he didn't have the time.

My dad. My hero.

It was nearly three o'clock. He had to go pick up his child from school.

2
Five Days Later
Tuesday, October 8, 1985

"You suck, Crane."

Tommy Crane sighed and stared straight ahead.

Dennis Farman leaned over from his desk, right across from Tommy's, his fat face screwed up into what he probably thought was a really tough look.

Tommy tried to tell himself it was just a stupid look. Asinine. That was his new word of the week. Asinine: marked by inexcusable failure to exercise intelligence or sound judgment. Definition number two: of, relating to, or resembling an ass.

That was Dennis, all the way around.

He tried not to think about the fact that Dennis Farman was bigger than he was, a whole year older than he was, and just plain mean. "You suck donkey dicks," Farman said, laughing to himself like he thought he was brilliant or something.

Tommy sighed again and looked at the clock on the wall above the door. Two more minutes.

Wendy Morgan turned around in her seat and looked at him with frustration. "Say something, Tommy. Tell him he's a dork."

"Say something, Tommy,'" Farman parroted, making his voice really high, like a girl's. "Or let your girlfriend talk for you."

"He doesn't have a girlfriend," Cody Roache, Farman's scrawny toady, chimed in. "He's gay. He's gay and she's a lesbo."

Wendy rolled her eyes. "Shut up, Cockroach. You don't even know what that means."

"Yes, I do."

"Because you are."

Tommy watched the clock tick one minute closer to freedom. At the front of the room, Miss Navarre walked back to her desk from the door with a yellow note in her hand.

If someone had tortured him, held fire to his feet, or stuck bamboo shoots under his fingernails, he would have had to admit he was kind of in love with Miss Navarre. She was smart and kind, and really pretty with big brown eyes and dark hair tucked behind her ears.

"Twat," Cockroach said, just loud enough that the bad word shot like a poisoned dart straight to Miss Navarre's ear, and her attention snapped in their direction.

"Mr. Roache," she said in that tone of voice that cut like a knife. "Would you like to come to the front of the room now and explain to the rest of the class exactly why you will be staying in the room for recess and lunch hour tomorrow?"

Roache wore his most stupid expression behind his too-big glasses. "Uh, no."

Miss Navarre arched an eyebrow. She could say a lot with that eyebrow. She was sweet and kind, but she was no pushover. Cody Roache swallowed hard and tried again. "Um…; no, ma'am?"

The bell rang loudly, and everyone started to bolt from their seats. Miss Navarre held up one finger and they all froze like they were in suspended animation.

"Mr. Roache," she said. It was never a good thing when she called someone Mr. or Miss. "I'll see you first thing tomorrow morning at my desk."

"Yes, ma'am."

She turned her attention to Dennis Farman, holding up the note in her hand. "Dennis, your father called to say he won't be able to pick you up today, and you should walk home."

The second Miss Navarre dropped her hand, the entire fifth-grade class bolted for the door like a herd of wild horses.

"Why don't you stand up to him, Tommy?" Wendy demanded as they walked away from Oak Knoll Elementary School and toward the park. Tommy hiked his backpack up on one shoulder. "'Cause he could pound me into a pile of broken bones."

"He's all talk."

"That's easy for you to say. He hit me once in dodgeball and I didn't breathe for like a week."

"You have to stand up for yourself," Wendy insisted, blue eyes flashing. She had long, wavy blonde hair like a mermaid's, which she was always wearing in the styles of rock stars Tommy had never heard of. "Otherwise, what kind of man are you?"

"I'm not a man. I'm a kid, and I want to stay that way for a while."

"What if he went after me?" she asked. "What if he tried to hit me or kidnap me?"

Tommy frowned. "That's different. That's you. Sure, I'd try to save you. That's what a guy is supposed to do. It's called chivalry. Like in the Knights of the Round Table or Star Wars."

Wendy flashed a smile and wound one blonde braid into a shape like a cinnamon roll pressed against her ear. "Does that make me Princess Leia?" she said, batting her eyelashes.

Tommy rolled his eyes. They turned off the sidewalk and onto a trail that cut through Oakwoods Park.

Oakwoods was a big park with part of it clipped and cleared and set up with picnic pavilions and a bandstand and playground. The rest of it was more wild, like a forest with simple trails cut through it. A lot of kids wouldn't cut through the park because there were stories about it being haunted and homeless weirdos living in it, and someone claimed they once saw Bigfoot. But it was the shortest way home, and he and Wendy had been going this way since they were in the third grade. Nothing bad had ever happened.

"And you're Luke Skywalker," Wendy said.

Tommy didn't want to be Luke Skywalker. Han Solo had all the fun, blasting around the galaxy with Chewbacca, breaking the rules and doing whatever they liked.

Tommy had never broken a rule in his life. His day-to-day existence was orderly and scheduled. Up at seven, breakfast at seven fifteen, to school by eight. School let out at three ten. He had to be home by three forty-five. Sometimes he walked. Sometimes one of his or Wendy's parents picked them up, depending. When he got home he would have a snack and tell his mother everything that happened that day. From four until six fifteen he could go out and play—unless he had a piano lesson—but he had to be cleaned up and at the dinner table at six thirty sharp.

It would have been a lot more fun to be Han Solo.

Wendy had moved on to other topics, chattering about her latest favorite singer, Madonna, who Tommy had never heard of because his mother insisted they only listen to public radio. She wanted him to grow up to be a concert pianist and/or a brain surgeon. Tommy wanted to grow up to be a baseball player, but he didn't tell his mother that. That was between him and his dad.

Suddenly, behind them, came a blood-curdling war cry and what sounded like wild animals crashing through the woods.

"CRANE SUCKS!!!!"

"RUN!!" Tommy yelled.

Dennis Farman and Cody Roache came leaping over a fallen log, their faces red from shouting.

Tommy grabbed Wendy's wrist and took off, dragging her along behind him. He was faster than Dennis. He'd outrun him before. Wendy was fast for a girl, but not as fast as he was.

Farman and Roache were catching up to them, their eyes bugging out of their heads like a gargoyle's. Their mouths were wide-open. They were still yelling, but Tommy could only hear the pounding of his heart and the crashing sound they made as they bounded through the woods.

"This way!" he yelled, veering off the trail.

Wendy looked back, yelling, "FART-MAN!!"

"JUMP!!" Tommy shouted.

They went over the edge of an embankment and flew through the air. Farman and Roache came flying after them. They landed like so many stones, hitting the ground and tumbling.

All the colors of the forest whirled past Tommy's eyes like a kaleidoscope as he rolled, until he finally came to a stop on a soft mound of dirt.

He lay still for a moment, holding his breath, waiting for Dennis Farman to jump on him. But he could hear Dennis moaning loudly somewhere behind him.

Slowly Tommy pushed himself up on his hands and knees. The ground he was on had been turned over recently. It smelled like earth and wet leaves, and something else he couldn't name. It was soft and damp and crumbly like someone had dug it up with a shovel. Like someone had buried something…; or somebody.

His heart jumped into the back of his throat as he raised his head…; and came face-to-face with death.

3

At first, all Tommy could see was that the woman was pretty. She looked peaceful, like in The Lady of the Lake. Her skin was pale and kind of blue. Her eyes were closed.

Then slowly other things came into focus: blood that had drizzled down her chin and dried, a slash mark across one cheek, ants marching into and out of her nostrils.

Tommy's stomach flipped over.

"Holy shit!" Dennis exclaimed as he came to stand beside the grave.

Cody Roache, dirt on his face, glasses askew, screamed like a girl, bolted, and ran back the way they had come.

Wendy was as white as a sheet as she stared at the dead woman, but, as always, she had her wits about her. She turned to Dennis and said, "You have to go call your dad."

Dennis wasn't listening to her. He got down on his hands and knees for a closer look. "Is she really dead?"

"Don't touch her!" Tommy snapped as Dennis reached out a grubby finger to poke at the woman's face.

He had only ever seen one dead person in his whole life—his grandmother on his father's side—and she was in a coffin. But he knew it just wasn't right to touch this woman. It was disrespectful or something. "What if she's just asleep?" Dennis said. "What if she was buried alive and she's in a coma?"

He tried to push up one of the woman's eyelids, but it wouldn't budge. He couldn't seem to take his eyes off the woman's face. To Tommy it looked as if something had been digging at the grave. One of the woman's hands was out of the dirt, as if she had been trying to reach out for help. The hand was mangled, like maybe some animal had chewed on her fingers, tearing flesh and exposing bones.

He had fallen right on top of a dead woman. His head swam. He felt like someone had just poured cold water over him.

As Dennis reached out to touch the woman again, a dog stepped out of some bushes on the other side of the body and growled deep in its throat.

None of them moved then. The dog was mean-looking, white with a big black spot around one beady eye and over the small ear. The dog moved forward. The kids moved backward.

"He's protecting her," Tommy said.

"Maybe he killed her," Dennis said. "Maybe he killed her and buried her like a bone, and now he's back to eat the body."

He said it as if he hoped that was the case, and he couldn't wait to watch the next gruesome scene.

Then as suddenly as it had appeared, the dog stepped back into the bushes and was gone.

In the next second, a man in a sheriff's deputy's uniform appeared at the top of the bank the kids had tumbled over. He looked like a giant looking down at them, his hair buzzed flat on top, his eyes hidden by mirrored sunglasses. He was Dennis Farman's father.

Tommy stood well back from the deputies who had come with yellow crime-scene tape to mark off the area around the shallow grave.

He should have been home by now. His mother was going to be really mad. He had a piano lesson at five. But he couldn't seem to make himself leave, and he thought maybe he wasn't supposed to.

The light was fading in the thick woods. Somewhere out there was a mad dog, and maybe even a murderer. He didn't want to walk home anymore.

The adults on the other side of the tape weren't paying any attention to him or Wendy. Dennis hung around just outside the tape, trying to get a better look as the deputies did their jobs.

Cody Roache had run all the way back to the street and nearly got himself run over by Dennis's father in his squad car. Tommy had heard the deputies telling each other. Mr. Farman had come straight to the scene, but Cody had not come back.

"I wonder who she is," Wendy said quietly. She sat on the stump of a tree that had been cut down over the summer. "I wonder how she died."

"Somebody killed her," Tommy said.

"I think I want to go home now," Wendy said. "Don't you?"

Tommy didn't answer her. He felt like he was inside of a bubble, and if he tried to move the bubble would burst and all sorts of feelings would wash over him and drown him.

People had come into the park to see what was going on. They stood up on the bank—teenagers, a mailman, one of the janitors from school.

As he watched them, Miss Navarre appeared at the edge of the group. She spotted him and Wendy right away and made her way down to them.

"Are you guys all right?" she asked.

"Tommy fell on a dead person!" Wendy said.

Tommy said nothing. He had started to shake all over. Inside his head all he could see was the dead woman's face—the blood, the gash in her cheek, the ants crawling on her.

"A deputy came into the school and said something had happened," Miss Navarre said, looking over at the place where the dead lady was. She turned back then and touched Tommy's forehead and brushed some dead leaves out of his hair. "You're really pale, Tommy. You should sit down."

Dutifully he sat down on the stump beside Wendy. Miss Navarre looked as pale as either of them, but there was no more room on the stump.

"Tell me what happened," she said.

The tale spilled out of Wendy like rushing water. When she came to the part where Tommy fell on the grave, Miss Navarre closed her eyes and said, "Oh my God."

She bent down to Tommy's level and looked him straight in the eyes. "Are you all right?"

Tommy gave the smallest nod. "I'm okay."

His voice sounded like it came from far away.

"Wait here," she said. "I'm going to ask the deputies if I can take you home."

She walked over to the yellow tape stretched between the trees and tried to get the attention of Dennis Farman's dad, who seemed to be the big shot on the scene.

The two exchanged words. Miss Navarre gestured toward Dennis. Farman's father shook his head. They were arguing. Tommy could tell by the way they were standing—Miss Navarre with her hands on her hips, Mr. Farman puffing himself up and leaning over her. Then Miss Navarre raised a hand and ended the discussion.

She was angry when she came back, although she did her best to hide it. Tommy could feel it all around her like frozen air.

"Come on," she said, reaching out her hands to them. "I'm taking you home."

At ten Tommy generally considered himself too old to hold hands with an adult. He couldn't remember the last time his mother had held his hand. Kindergarten, maybe. But he didn't feel so grown-up now, and he took Miss Navarre's soft, smooth hand and held on tight as she led them away from the terrible scene and out of the woods.

But the scene came with Tommy, stuck in his head; he felt sick at the idea that it might never go away.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 641 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(261)

4 Star

(203)

3 Star

(92)

2 Star

(49)

1 Star

(36)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 644 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 8, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    This is an exhilarating serial killer thriller

    In 1985 in Oak Knoll in Southern California, fifth-grader Tommy Crane and Wendy Morgan run away from the class bully Dennis Farman and his flunkie Cody Roach when the fleeing pair trips over over the head of a dead woman. The victim was buried in the woody section of Oakwood Park up to her neck; her eyes and mouth glued shut. Their fifth grade teacher Anne Navarre tries to help the two children cope.

    Sheriff's Detective Tony Mendez has just come home from attending an eleven-week profiling class at the FBI Academy. He points out this is the third victim in two years, but Dennis' father Chief Deputy Frank Farman says it is only two inside their jurisdiction and insists "signatures" have nothing to do with the case. Sheriff Cal Dixon points out the differences in the profile between this case and the previous two. Meanwhile Anne becomes the prime suspect as FBI Agent Vince Leone arrives to lead the investigation.

    This is an exhilarating serial killer thriller made fresh by using the mid 1980s as the date so that profiling remains voodoo to some old time law enforcement officials. The story line is fast paced from the moment Tommy trips over the head of the mostly interred victim and never slows down until the climax in a hospital room and a drive on the Interstate. Although too many threads are left dangling even for a sequel or two, fans will relish Tamu Hoag's enjoyable Reagan Era police procedural.

    Harriet Klausner

    15 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 21, 2010

    Loved It!

    I could not stop reading Deeper Than the Dead by Tami Hoag. I think its her best book yet. I liked it so much I bought the hardback for my mom, who also loved it. It is a crazy, dark story that keeps you guessing up 'til the very end. Of course I guessed totally wrong, but that's the way I like my murder/mysteries. I want to be surprised so I can read it again and find every detail and clue I missed. I am not really a hard core murder/mystery buff, but I have now read two of Tami Hoag's books and I am very impressed. Her writing hooks you right away and leaves you needing to read "just one more chapter" before you go to sleep. Be careful, you will find yourself reading into the wee hours of the night without even getting sleepy!

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2010

    Deep Than Dead

    I had a little bit of a hard time getting into the characters and plot but it was well written and carried everything that was going on very well. The children were well placed throughout the story as well as the adults. I especially liked the FBI agent's input into the investigation without trying to take over and the mentoring he was doing. The young teacher was a wonderful addition to the characters which showed a dedicated,caring person and very tolerant of a father who was a very bitter and self centered man. It was difficult at times to remember what it was like back in the 80's when the DNA was just coming into the picture and cell phones were almost non-existant. (How did we ever survive?)

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 23, 2010

    Stunning Return

    In a stunning return to writing, Tami Hoag changes the game by returning her readers to forensics of the past in "Deeper than the Dead". As fans, we find books cluttering the store shelves where protagonists need only turn on their blackberry to solve the most heinous crimes. It often seems to be a competition-similar to that of our favorite television shows-to offer us storylines that are more and more implausible yet easily solved using state-of-the-art technology.

    "Deeper than the Dead" returns us to a time where crimes are solved using instinct, people skills and good old-fashioned hard work. Without the benefit of computers or mobile devices, the authorities begin their manhunt when a small group of children stumbles upon the body of an unknown woman. In this small, peaceful California town-where families go to get away from crime-appearances are everything and the anxiety escalates as the body count rises and the suspect pool expands.

    Hoag's fans will agree that she has always had an amazing knack for creating strong, believable characters with interlocking plot lines but
    "Deeper than the Dead" displays a new chapter in this author's body of work. Readers will find themselves locked into a true gut wrenching suspense; surprised until the very end as unexpected turns remind us that books aren't always predictable.

    Reviewed by Suspense Magazine
    www.suspensemagazine.com

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 25, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Worth reading

    At the beginning, I thought this was going to be written with a feminists' agenda. That was short-lived. I found this author to be sensitive to all views. Although I sensed who the culprit was (and there were many possibilities) it was the author who revealed at the end....and then some. I recommend this book to the avid reader. I plan to look for her other works.....enjoy....xcptnc (pronounced "acceptance")

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2010

    Good Who-done-it!

    Just when I thought I knew who the bad guy was, it changed ... several times!! Bad language was only used in appropriate place to tell us what kind of person we are dealing with. Not too much sexual discriptions to distract from the thrilling plot. I love it when I'm surprised at an ending, and I was!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2010

    Just the kind of book that my circle of friends love to read.

    I really enjoyed this book. I actually couldn't put it down. Every page was a new twist with something happening. You get to know the characters and feel their emotions, while wanting to hurry to the next page.One of the best books I've read in a long time.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 21, 2011

    Amazing Hoag!

    The story is very fast paced, something you can't put down and forget about it for a hour. I had to read, breathe, sip my hot tea every now and then because that's how hot it was!! Hoag delivers punches after punches, and leaves you wondering what's next. Some of the characters - you can't help but feel sorry for. I enjoyed reading this book. This one was probably one of her best written books ever, and hope she continues in the same line with this. I'd be interested to see Mendez's character develop after the surprise ending of her book. Let's just say...the ending was a total mind-blowing surprise! I'm still trying to reel my head around it!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 21, 2011

    A TERRIFIC read!

    I have not been a Tami Hoag fan. I've tried in the past to get into her books, but the books haven't clicked with me. Not so with this new series: setting in 1985, during the early criminal profiling era appealed to me as I lived it live myself. Also, extremely appealing is the character development of the two protagonists: Vince and Anne. They are attention grabbing characters with fascinating backgrounds and character traits. I could not get enough of those characters, and can't wait to read the next in this series. The voice of the characters is real; I found myself reading SLOWLY, just so the book would not end! Now, THAT is the mark of a terrific read!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 1, 2011

    UNBELIEVABLE

    I am an avid reader of all the popular authors of fictional literature, and this is by far the most engulfing book I have ever read. From word one, I was hooked. I cannot remember another book having such a hold on me as this one did. 5 stars is not enough for this captivating story. Be prepared, dear readers, to feel your heart literally rise and fall in your chest. I finished the book in 5 days. A must read if you're a fan of the serial crime novel. BRAVO

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 15, 2011

    LOVE THIS BOOK!

    CAN'T PUT IT DOWN...AM READING IT EVERY WHERE I GO, CAN'T WAIT TO SEE "WHO DONE IT"! WRITTEN SO WELL. IT IS LIKE YOU ARE ACTUALLY LIVING IT WITH THEM. CAN'T WAIT TO READ HER OTHER BOOKS NOW! MY GRANDAUGHTER IS READING A COPY I BOUGHT FOR HER AS WELL. SHE IS BEATING ME. SHE CAN'T WAIT TO FINISH IT AS WELL! WE DISCUSS THE BOOK AND TRY TO FIGURE WHO THE KILLER MAY BE. SO MUCH FUN AND WONDERFUL READING. GRUESOME, BUT THRILLING!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 29, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    SCARY! INTENSE!

    Four Families and a Serial Killer...Scary, intense with plenty of twists and turns! Worth your time!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 15, 2010

    Deeper Than the Dead

    When four children stumble across the body of a young, female, homicide victim in a local public park, lives are changed forever. Not only for the children but for the rest of the town as well. A community is rocked by the revelation of horror in the midst of their sleepy little town. Tami Hoag takes us on a page turning, nail biting ride through this tale and leaves us wondering what will become of the youths who were changed forever on that fateful day. (A great read, not to be passed by!)

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 15, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A look at the start of scientific crime solution.

    An engaging thriller that that takes place in 1984, the dawn of modern criminal investigation tools that we now take for granted. No DNA tests, computer records, fingerprint matches done by eye alone and more. The FBI think tank "The Nine" are just starting to scientifically investigate crime, i.e. profiling, taking a closer look at the smaller but very important factors that make each crime unique.
    In a sleepy California college town, four fifth graders are running through a wooded park when one falls onto a murdered woman who is buried up to her neck. They react in different ways and are lucky to have a committed teacher that tries to help them deal with their gruesome discovery. She also winds up helping the police and FBI by providing a conduit for information. She finds out many secrets that lie behind the 'small town' facade. Will that prove to be the tipping point that leads to the solution? Can they solve the mystery before anyone else is killed?

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2010

    One of her best

    I couldn't put this book down. I have read several of her books and this book is right up with her best.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 22, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Thrilling

    Tami Hoag did it again. The book is thrilling, rife with suspense and emotion. She explores the parent-child relationship, mostly abusive, and how it can mold and change us. I must admit, I had moments of true fear while I read and found I coudln't put the book down. I felt that I knew who the serial killer was the entire time, but she keeps throwing in suspects that make second guess ourselves--she literally keeps us guessing until the very end. I can't wait for her next book!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 7, 2010

    Another serial killer thriller. Hoag sets her story in the mid-1980's, when the technology available/unavailable to investigators seems almost primitive in these days of CSI/24,etc. Fun read, good plot twists. Don't expect enlightenment, but fun.

    OK, so I enjoy a serial killer thriller as much as the next guy. This one was even more fun to read because I was actually an adult in the mid-80s and remember these types of story-lines on TV shows. The absence of techno here makes the investigators efforts and thought processes a more central part of the story than many contemporary thrillers.

    Hoag renders a tight plot-line and keeps the story moving toward the inevitable discovery of the killer/killers. Standard, but well written and entertaining for an afternoon read.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 6, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Tami Hoag is back with a vengeance!

    Great book that will keep you reading til all hours! Three children & their teacher find the body of women and the local police discover they have a serial killer on the loose. The killings marks the end of innocence for a small California town in 1984 as the ties that bind families are tested by secrets yet uncovered and everyone is a suspect in these brutal killings. You will follow the lives of the teacher, the cops, the locals and the children who found the body, never ever figuring out who dunnit til the very last neatly wrapped up chapter. BRAVO!!! If you loved Guilty as Sin as much as I did, this one somehow tops it!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2011

    Amazing!!

    One of the best books Ive read! Picked it up on a whim and loved every page of it!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 6, 2011

    A page turner

    Great suspense novel. I just downloaded the next book in the series and can' t wait to start reading!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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