Down the Darkest Road

Down the Darkest Road

4.2 157
by Tami Hoag
     
 

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Once upon a time I had the perfect family. Then, as in all fairy tales, evil came into our lives…

Four years after Lauren Lawton’s sixteen-year-old daughter disappeared, the world gave up the girl for dead. Lauren’s husband took his own life. Her younger daughter is looking only for what’s left of her childhood. But Lauren neverSee more details below

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Overview

Once upon a time I had the perfect family. Then, as in all fairy tales, evil came into our lives…

Four years after Lauren Lawton’s sixteen-year-old daughter disappeared, the world gave up the girl for dead. Lauren’s husband took his own life. Her younger daughter is looking only for what’s left of her childhood. But Lauren never surrendered. She knows who took her child, and there’s not a shred of evidence against him.

Looking for a fresh start, Lauren and her younger daughter Leah move to idyllic Oak Knoll. So has Lauren’s suspect. And it feels that history is about to repeat itself.

Leah is turning sixteen, and Oak Knoll has a cunning predator on the hunt. But as sheriff’s detective Tony Mendez and his team sift through the circumstances of an increasingly disturbing case, a stunning question changes everything they thought they knew…

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Bestseller Hoag’s so-so third thriller set in the small California community of Oak Knoll (after 2010’s Secrets to the Grave) focuses on 42-year-old Lauren Lawton, who arrives in Oak Knoll in 1990 with her nearly 16-year-old daughter, Leah. Four years earlier, Lauren’s other daughter, Leslie, disappeared at age 16 in Santa Barbara, where the police never managed to find a shred of tangible evidence against the obvious suspect in the abduction, creepy photographer Roland Ballencoa. The trauma of Leslie’s unknown fate and her father’s subsequent suicide left Lauren emotionally shattered and barely able to function. But Oak Knoll proves no refuge. Within months, she’s horrified to spot Ballencoa in town. Despite Lauren’s best efforts to shield Leah from further terror, history repeats itself. The major plot twist won’t surprise many readers, and neither the characters nor the cliché-hobbled story line are among Hoag’s best work. Author tour. Agent: Andrea Cirillo. (Dec.)
Kirkus Reviews
In Hoag's (Secrets to the Grave, 2010, etc.) latest literary suspense novel, Lauren Lawton, "ragged and torn and shredded," has retreated to bucolic Oak Knoll to heal. The Lawtons lived the perfect life in nearby trendy Santa Barbara, and then their older daughter, Leslie, only 16, disappeared. It was certainly kidnapping, although no body was ever discovered. Lauren's husband couldn't recover from the tragedy and eventually died, apparently a suicide. Lauren always believed she knew who took Leslie, and her relentless pursuit of the shadowy Roland Ballencoa cost Lauren her social reputation and the support of the police. As the story moves to Oak Knoll, Hoag's regulars, Sheriff Detective Tony Mendez and retired FBI profiler Vince Leone and his wife Anne, a counselor, enter the narrative. Mendez begins an investigation, slowly coming to comprehend that Lauren isn't simply a woman mired in an unreconcilable past. Mendez learns that Ballencoa, a part-time photographer who has supposedly gone straight after serving time for a youthful sex crime, has followed Lauren to Oak Knoll. An intriguing new character in the familiar Hoag milieu is Santa Barbara police detective Danni Tanner, hard-bitten, cynical, sarcastic and totally dedicated. As Mendez probes deeper into Ballencoa's history and finds little solid evidence, Lauren relentlessly pushes for action, considers vigilantism and nears collapse because of guilt over her emotional neglect of younger daughter, Leah, now the same age as Leslie when kidnapped. With a shady private investigator named Gregory Hewitt as catalyst, the narrative ramps up to a gut-wrenching and violent conclusion, albeit one that leaves a minor plot point adrift. Hoag has an eye for a writerly turn of phrase—"another verse in a poem of futility"—which makes it all the more disconcerting to stumble upon a cliché or to find the author posing an analogy that compares both the bad guy's and the hero's gaze to that of a shark. A mesmerizing psychological drama on loss, guilt, frustration and implacable, unexplainable evil.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781101553626
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
12/27/2011
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
512
Sales rank:
15,976
File size:
1 MB
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher

Praise for Down the Darkest Road

Down the Darkest Road is eerie, suspenseful, tragic, and thought provoking.”—USA Today

“A mesmerizing psychological drama on loss, guilt, frustration and implacable, explainable evil.”—Kirkus Reviews

“The setting and [Hoag's] consummate skill as a plotter add to plenty of old-school thrills that pack a punch and will leave fans breathless.”—Booklist

“Hoag…rais[es] the tension with every page that turns.” —The Huffington Post

“Well written, well executed and darn near brilliant.”—All About Romance

“This taut novel of suspense is a true nail-biter.”—Library Journal

“If you have time to read only one book, you really should make it this one. You won't regret it.”—Suspense Magazine

“With complex characters and crisp, believable dialogue, [this] is a sophisticated thriller.”—Houston Press

“A masterful tale…Ms. Hoag knows how to take her readers on a frightening ride.”—New York Journal of Books

And for Tami Hoag

“One of the hottest names in the suspense game.”—People

“One of the most intense suspense writers around.”—Chicago Tribune

“One of the most intelligent and crafty suspense writers working today.”—Bookreporter.com

“[Hoag’s] reputation…is well-earned.”—South Florida Sun-Sentinel

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