Dust to Dust

Dust to Dust

4.4 86
by Tami Hoag
     
 

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“[Tami Hoag] demonstrates just why she has become one of the hottest names in the suspense game. Bottom line: Leaves competition in the dust.”—People
 
Sorry. The single word is written on a mirror. In front of it hangs a Minneapolis Internal Affairs cop. Was it suicide? Or a kinky act turned tragic?
 

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Overview

“[Tami Hoag] demonstrates just why she has become one of the hottest names in the suspense game. Bottom line: Leaves competition in the dust.”—People
 
Sorry. The single word is written on a mirror. In front of it hangs a Minneapolis Internal Affairs cop. Was it suicide? Or a kinky act turned tragic?
 
Either way, it wasn’t murder. At least not according to the powers that be. But veteran homicide detective Sam Kovac and his wisecracking, ambitious partner, Nikki Liska, think differently. Together they begin to dig at the too-neat edges of the young cop’s death, uncovering one motive—and one suspect—after another. The cloud of suspicion falls not only on the city’s elite, but over the very heart of the police department. Someone wants the case closed—quickly and forever. But even with their careers and their lives on the line, neither Kovac nor Liska will give up. As they unearth a connection between a two-month-old murder case and one that has been closed for twenty years, they find themselves chasing a killer who will stop at nothing to keep a dark and shattering secret.
 
“Without a doubt, one of the most intense suspense writers around.”—Chicago Tribune
 
“Tami Hoag is the queen of the crime story.”—New York Post

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Without a doubt, one of the most intense suspense writers around.”—Chicago Tribune
 
“[Tami Hoag] demonstrates just why she has become one of the hottest names in the suspense game. Bottom line: Leaves competition in the dust.”—People
 
“Tami Hoag is the queen of the crime story.”—New York Post
Susan Haas
Dust to Dust is a true turn-of-the-century tale. Gay-bashing and true crime television. Powerful women and political correctness. References to Minnesota's wrestler turned-governor, cracks about Dateline and South Park, designer coffee, Rohypnol and drag queens. In the end, it comes down to whether Fallon was killed despite the fact that his father was a hero, or because of it. The story is compelling an expertly told. Plot lines smoker and ignite as the suspense builds.

And at the end, Hoag's rapid-fire scene switches tease you with bits of the answer at one end before flashing to the other end and different resolutions. The result leaves Kovac, Liska and the reader scorched.
USA Today

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Though she began as a romance writer, Hoag (A Thin Dark Line; Guilty As Sin; etc.) has found commercial success in several crime subgenres. Here she tries her hand at the police procedural, and though her story and characters are mostly the stock-in-trade of cop-house fiction, Hoag's verve lets her pull something fresh from the musty old squad room. The nude body of Andy Fallon, a gay Internal Affairs officer with the Minneapolis Police Department, is found hanging from a beam in his bedroom. It looks like a simple suicide, but detectives Sam Kovac and Nikki Liska have doubts, fueled in part by the desire of police brass to forget about the death as quickly as possible. Fallon is the son of department hero Iron Mike Fallon, a paraplegic since his shoot-out with a cop killer 20 years ago. On the day of his son's funeral, Iron Mike kills himself; at least that's how it looks. But as Kovac and Liska begin to realize, it's likely that someone killed the Fallon men--someone willing to eliminate anyone else brave enough to pursue the case. As the tough-talking detectives approach the killer, Hoag lays out a juicy assortment of suspects and subplots. There's Andy Fallon's closeted longtime lover; his seedy brother; a sexy disturbed teen; the Hennepin County prosecutors' office; a cadre of gay-bashing cops; the sultry, haunted female head of Internal Affairs; and a publicity-hungry police captain with his own TV show. Hoag does a fine job of hiding the keys until just the right moment, when all the mysteries come neatly together. The weary Kovac and the ball-busting Liska are all-too-familiar types, yet Hoag renders them so crisply they're not only tolerable but engaging. Both detectives had secondary roles in Hoag's 1999 Ashes to Ashes; they play well on center stage. (Aug.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Library Journal
Andy Fallon, a gay Minneapolis police officer, hangs dead in his bedroom. A week later Iron Mike Fallon, a former cop and Andy's father, shoots himself with his service revolver. Detectives Nikki Liska and Sam Kovac are not happy with the suspicious circumstances and the too-swift closing of both cases. They continue to nose around, causing unexpected people to react to their search with panic, threats, and attempted murder. What is the secret behind these deaths, and how are all the people connected? Hoag's story is well told; revelations come slowly and tantalizingly, and the characters are well drawn. Toward the end of the tale, explanation and detail are ignored to some extent in favor of suspense and action, but this does not detract from the overall quality of the book. Nick Sullivan reads with versatility and feeling. Recommended for all collections. Joanna M. Burkhardt, Univ. of Rhode Island Coll. of Continuing Education Lib., Providence Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Pam Lambert
With the same sleight of hand displayed in last year's Ashes to Ashes, Hoag sets her sharply drawn characters on a harrowing journey...her wintry tale of crime and punishment packs a powerful punch...killer suspense.
People Magazine
Kirkus Reviews
A gay cop is found hanged. Was it suicide, murder, or kinky sex gone wrong? Street-smart Minneapolis police detectives Sam Kovac and Nikki Liska, back on the beat after Ashes to Ashes (1999), learn a lot about autoerotic asphyxiation while trying to crack the case. Sam and Nikki remain tough but likable protagonists as they investigate a long list of possible suspects: the victim's alcoholic father, a partially paralyzed cop; a jealous older brother with a taste for violence; a mysterious blond socialite of amazing strength; a hero cop turned crime-show host; and so on. But the detectives also view a home video unwittingly left to posterity by a hapless devotee of self-stimulation through suffocation that suggests the possibility of accidental death. (The author points out, somewhat in the style of a public-service announcement, that many teenage suicides by hanging may well be experimentation of this kind gone tragically wrong.) Unlike the sadistic sexual practices on display in Ashes to Ashes, this particular perversion is more pathetic than titillating, although Hoag tries hard to crank up the suspense. Energetic, down-to-earth prose and realistically gritty dialogue help push the workmanlike plot to its complex conclusion, but a notepad and pencil may come in handy to remember who shot whom, when, and why. Unfortunately, the author has chosen to write about a milieu with which she is clearly unfamiliar: urban gay life (here, exclusively male). Not wanting to offend or get too far into the seamier side of gay culture, Hoag settles for bland political correctness and a balanced ratio of 50 percent good gay guys to 50 percent bad gay guys. In dramatic terms, they cancel eachotherout, and none of them is particularly believable. For all the double-crosses, dire threats, and crashing around with guns, the story just isn't thrilling or chilling. But it does move—and fast. Clear directions, but don't try the rope trick at home.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780345547385
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
05/28/2013
Pages:
512
Sales rank:
195,301
Product dimensions:
4.20(w) x 7.30(h) x 1.30(d)

Meet the Author

Tami Hoag’s novels have appeared regularly on national bestseller lists since the publication of her first book in 1988. She lives in Florida.

Read an Excerpt

"They oughta hang the son of a bitch came up with this shit," Sam Kovac groused, digging a piece of nicotine gum out of a crumpled foil pack.

"The gum or the wrapper?"

"Both. I can't open the damn package and I'd rather chew on a cat turd."

"And that would taste different from a cigarette how?" Nikki Liska asked.

They moved through a small throng of people in the wide white hall. Cops heading out onto the steps of the Minneapolis city hall for a cigarette, cops coming back in from having a cigarette, and the odd citizen looking for something for their tax dollar.

Kovac scowled down at her from the corner of one eye. Liska made five-five by sheer dint of will. He always figured God made her short because if she had the size of Janet Reno she'd take over the world. She had that kind of energy—and attitude out the wazoo.

"What do you know about it?" he challenged.

"My ex smoked. Lick an ashtray sometime. That's why we got divorced, you know. I wouldn't stick my tongue in his mouth."

"Jesus, Tinks, like I wanted to know that."

He'd given her the nickname—Tinker Bell on Steroids. Nordic blond hair cut in a shaggy Peter Pan style, eyes as blue as a lake on a sunny day. Feminine but unmistakably athletic. She'd kicked more ass in her years on the force than half the guys he knew. She'd come onto homicide—Christ, what was it now?—five or six years ago? He lost track. He'd been there himself almost longer than he could remember. All of his forty-four years, it seemed. The better part of a twenty-three-year career, for certain. Seven to go. He'd get his thirty and take the pension. Catch up on his sleep for the next ten years. He sometimes wondered why he hadn't taken his twenty and moved on. But he didn't have anything to move on to, so he stayed.

Liska slipped between a pair of nervous-looking uniforms blocking the way in front of the door to Room 126—Internal Affairs.

"Hey, that was the least of it," she said. "I was more upset about where he wanted to put his dick."

Kovac made a sound of pain and disgust, his face twisting.

Liska grinned, mischievous and triumphant. "Her name was Brandi."

The Criminal Investigative Division offices had been newly refurbished. The walls were the color of dried blood. Kovac wondered if that had been intentional or just trendy. Probably the latter. Nothing else in the place had been designed with cops in mind. The narrow, gray, two-person cubicles could just as well have housed a bunch of accountants.

He preferred the temporary digs they'd had during the remodeling: a dirty, beat-up room full of dirty, beat-up desks, and beat-up cops getting migraines under harsh white fluorescent lights. Homicide crammed into one room, robbery down the way, half the sex crimes guys wedged into a broom closet. That was atmosphere.

"What's the status on the Nixon assault?"

The voice stopped Kovac in his tracks as effectively as a hook to the collar. He bit a little harder on the Nicorette. Liska kept moving.

New offices, new lieutenant, new pain in the ass. The homicide lieutenant's office had a figurative revolving door. It was a stop on the way for upwardly mobile management types. At least this new one—Leonard—had them back working partners instead of like the last guy, who'd tortured them with some bullshit high-concept team crap with rotating sleep-deprivation schedules.

Of course, that didn't mean he wasn't an asshole.

"We'll see," Kovac said. "Elwood just brought in a guy he thinks is good for the Truman murder."

Leonard flushed pink. He had that kind of complexion, and short, white-gray hair like duck fuzz all over his head. "What the hell are you doing working the Truman murder? That's what? A week ago? You're up to your ass in assaults since then."

Liska came back then, wearing her cop face. "We think this guy's a two-fer, Lou. He was maybe in on Nixon and Truman. I guess the Nation wants to start calling the Bloods the Dead Presidents."

Kovac laughed at that—a cross between a bark and a snort. "Like these dickheads would know a president if he pissed on them."

Liska looked up at him. "Elwood's got him in the guest room. Let's go before he uses the L word."

Leonard stepped back, frowning. He had no lips, and ears that stuck out perpendicular to his head like a chimpanzee's. Kovac had nicknamed him the Brass Monkey. He was looking as if solving a murder would ruin his day.

"Don't worry," Kovac said. "There's more assaults where that one came from." He turned away before Leonard could react, and headed for the interview room with Liska.

"So this guy was in on Nixon too?"

"Beats me. Leonard liked it."

"Brass asshole," Kovac grumbled. "Someone should take him out and show him the fucking sign on the door. It still says 'Homicide,' doesn't it?"

"Last I looked."

"All he wants is to clear assaults."

"Assaults are the homicides of tomorrow."

"Yeah, that'd make a great tattoo. I know just where he can put it."

"But you'd need a miner's hat to read it. I'll get you one for Christmas. Give you something to hope for."

Liska opened the door and Kovac preceded her into the room, which was about the size of a spacious coat closet. The architect would have described it as "intimate." In keeping with the latest theories on how to interview scumbags, the table was small and round. No dominant side. Everybody equal. Pals. Confidants.

No one was sitting at it.

Elwood Knutson stood in the near corner, looking like a Disney cartoon bear in a black felt bowler. Jamal Jackson had the opposite corner, near the totally useless and empty built-in bookcase, and beneath the wall-mounted video camera, which was required by Minnesota law to prove they weren't beating confessions out of suspects.

Jackson's attitude hung on him as badly as his clothes. Jeans that would have fit Elwood were slipping off his skinny ass. A huge down coat in Nation black and red colors puffed up around his upper body. He had a lower lip as thick as a garden hose, and he stuck it out at Kovac.

"Man, this is bogus. I din' off no-body."

Kovac lifted his brows. "No? Gee, there must be some mistake." He turned to Elwood and spread his hands. "I thought you said he was the guy, Elwood. He says he's not the guy."

"I must have been mistaken," Elwood said. "My profuse apologies, Mr. Jackson."

"We'll have a radio car take you back home," Kovac said. "Maybe have them announce over the bullhorn to your 'hood that we didn't mean to bring you in. That it was all a big mistake."

Jackson stared at him, the lip moving up and down.

"We can have them announce specifically that we know you weren't really involved in the murder of Deon Truman. Just so there's no mistake what we had you in for. We don't want a lot of bad rumors going around about you on account of us."

"Fuck you, man!" Jackson shouted, his voice jumping an octave. "You trying to get me killed?"

Kovac laughed. "Hey. You said you didn't do it. Fine. I'll send you home."

"An' the brothers think I talk to you. Next thing, my ass is horizontal. Fuck that!" Jackson paced a little, pulling at the short braids that stuck up in all directions on his head. His hands were cuffed together in front of him. He gave Kovac the eye.

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