Down the Darkest Road

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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.

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Down the Darkest Road

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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…

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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: 9781409136330
  • Publisher: Orion
  • Publication date: 5/28/2012

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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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 152 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(88)

4 Star

(33)

3 Star

(16)

2 Star

(11)

1 Star

(4)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 152 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 31, 2011

    Very disappointing!

    Up to this book, I have always like Tami Hoag and I preordered this book in anticipation. I loved Deeper than the Dead and Secrets to the Grave - they were very interesting, very action packed and had characters that you got to know and love. However, I was very disappointed in this book and I will be deleting it from my nook. It didn't have the gripping suspense and action as the other 2 books and the characters where very hard to like (let alone wanting them to thrive). Except for Det. Tony Mendez, all the characters were new. In addition, there was such harsh/vulgar language and explicate sex scenes that it was very hard to read and I skipped pages because of it. If this is the type of book Tamk Hoag is going to start pumping out, then I will find a new author to spend my time and money on.

    18 out of 24 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 8, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    great

    I love reading this book. I was instantly immersed into this fantastic, believably written story.

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2011

    Hoag hits one out of the park again

    Tami Hoag puts you in the 1980s again, and if you havent been there personally,thats ok....there is plenty of story,action, gruesome, chilling murders and suspense to keep you up all night reading The story line is awesome and has you thinking about Alice Sebolts "Lovely Bones" and "Shutter Island" to liken to period fiction. A 5 star series and I Hope she continues. Kudos to Tami!

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2012

    Disiponted

    Bad book

    4 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2012

    Not my favorite Oak Knoll book...

    I give this book 3 stars because it is Tammy Hoag and very well written. But I found the main character to be highly unlikable. She's a very disturbed woman who has encountered tragedy of the worst kind, but I don't think the reader is supposed to dislike her - which I did. I did enjoy the focus on Detective Mendez, as I enjoyed his character in the other books. I found Vince and Anne's happiness to be a welcome reprive from Lauren's misery and inner monalogue. It's a good story, but very depressing.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 29, 2011

    Awesome!!!

    I have a hard time finding authors I truly enjoy but when the pleasingly rare easy read comes along I am thrilled to get lost in the readings, which is precisely what I have done with this book. I just finished dust to dust (another of this author's books) & it was a bit more difficult to read. However, when I saw this would be coming out on the 27th I stuck with it just to hold me over long enough to get to Hoag's latest Oak Knoll book. It was WELL worth it! Even working a full time job and a f/t college student, I still finished this book in less than 2 days! It was that good, especially if you've read the others and were familiar with the characters. Please keep em coming Ms. Hoag! Happy holidays everyone. :)

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2011

    Tami Hoag

    Great book.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2012

    Awesome read!

    I have to say that for me this book was one of the better reads she has written in a while. I really enjoyed the story and had a hard time getting anything completed around my home until I finished it.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 15, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    INTENSE AND TERRIFYING

    Intense, gritty, terrifying - the latest in Tami Hoag’s Oak Knoll series is a page-turner par excellence. The time setting is the late 1980s - 90s when tracing by DNA had not been fully developed and information via computer was not as available as it is now. Hence, tracing a criminal was a much more challenging task for law enforcement officers. In this case, not only tracing but proving guilt.

    We’re introduced to the story through the eyes of Lauren Lawton who writes, “Once upon a time I had the perfect family. I had the perfect husband: Handsome, loving, successful. I had the perfect children: Leslie and Leah - beautiful, brilliant, precious girls. I had the perfect life in the perfect home, in the perfect place......And then, as in all fairy tales, evil came into our lives and destroyed us.”

    Evil came in the person of a barbarous, vile individual, Roland Ballencoa. Four years ago he had abducted Leslie or the police were pretty certain he had - but they could not prove it. Not too long after the girl’s abduction Lauren’s husband drove off a bridge; it was thought a suicide due to the stress and guilt of being unable to protect his daughter.

    Bent on revenge and driven to the point of exhaustion Lauren takes Leah and moves to Oak Knoll hoping to put at least a small part of their tragic past behind them. That is not be for she soon finds that Ballencoa is also in Oak Knoll, stalking mother and daughter. It’s all an insidious game to him, watching, frightening, taking pictures with his camera.

    Lauren is reluctant to go to the police as they’ve not helped her in the past, but considered her a royal pain in the neck for constantly pushing them to arrest Ballencoa, to find Leslie. But Ballencoa is a wily beast, evidently never breaking the law, but silently stalking. Lauren is sickened to realize that in her case the person believed to be a criminal actually has more legal rights than she does. Eventually, she does turn to Detective Tony Menendez who believes her but can see no way to help her.

    Hoag has woven a gripping tale, written in brief chapters, almost staccato-like, quick as a bullet which leaves the reader sometimes gasping, always turning pages. Down The Darkest Road is epic suspense seasoned with ravaged emotions and cliff-hanger scenes. Strong medicine so keep all the houselights on.

    - Gail Cooke

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2012

    Hvjf

    Chfjjej

    1 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2012

    One of her best!

    I have read all of Tami Hoag's novels and think this was one.of her best! I couldn't put it down!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 1, 2012

    Best of this series

    Another good one from Hoag.... Have to admit, this is not my favorite series of hers, but enjoyed this one the most so far... I expect at least one more is coming....

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 29, 2014

    I picked this up at my local Walmart, once I started reading I c

    I picked this up at my local Walmart, once I started reading I could not put it down. The author tells a tale like no other it's almost like she's lived what is writing. There is so much detail in her words it creepy. Would recommend to anyone looking for a good read 

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  • Posted June 12, 2014

    TAMI HOAG DOES IT RIGHT....ENOUGH SAID.

    TAMI HOAG DOES IT RIGHT....ENOUGH SAID.

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  • Posted April 12, 2014

    Highly Recommended

    This was another book that I didn't want to put down. Had to keep reading until the end. Very good book.

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  • Posted March 1, 2014

    Very Good

    I hope Tami continues with this series.

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  • Posted February 18, 2014

    Love it and thought it was a great ending to the series! A must

    Love it and thought it was a great ending to the series! A must read book!!!!!

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

    Posted January 20, 2014

    Down the darkest road

    One of the best books I've read in my life !

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2014

    Excellent read

    I have to disagree with the review about this book not being suspenceful I could barely put this book down I would recommend this its a great read

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  • Posted October 2, 2013

    This is the first Tami Hoag novel I've read and I really enjoyed

    This is the first Tami Hoag novel I've read and I really enjoyed it. I will be reading her other novels now. It had a great plot and the characters are well written. I fluctuated between being angry with the mother and  feeling deep sympathy for the pain she was in. I liked the secondary characters as well.. Good  read. 

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