Prior Bad Acts

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Overview

"When an unknown assailant attacks Judge Moore in a parking garage, two of Minneapolis's top cops are called upon to solve the crime and keep the judge from further harm. Detective Sam Kovac is as hard-boiled as they come, and his wisecracking partner, Nikki Liska, isn't far behind. Neither one wants to be on this case, but when Karl Dahl escapes from custody, everything changes, and a seemingly straightforward case cartwheels out of control." "The stakes go even higher when the judge is kidnapped - snatched out of her own bed even as the police
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1415927561 (EX-LIBRARY)MARKINGS AND LABELS ON COVER--MY BE RECORDED BOOKS EDITION Library Edition. Possible library labels on cover and discs. Packaged in sturdy binder. Quality ... Guaranteed. Fast Shipping. Read more Show Less

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Overview

"When an unknown assailant attacks Judge Moore in a parking garage, two of Minneapolis's top cops are called upon to solve the crime and keep the judge from further harm. Detective Sam Kovac is as hard-boiled as they come, and his wisecracking partner, Nikki Liska, isn't far behind. Neither one wants to be on this case, but when Karl Dahl escapes from custody, everything changes, and a seemingly straightforward case cartwheels out of control." "The stakes go even higher when the judge is kidnapped - snatched out of her own bed even as the police sit outside, watching her house. Now Kovac and Liska must navigate through a maze of suspects that includes the stepson of a murder victim, a husband with a secret life, and a rogue cop looking for revenge where the justice system failed." With no time to spare, the detectives are pulled down a strange dark trail of smoke and mirrors, where no one is who they seem and everyone is guilty of Prior Bad Acts.
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Editorial Reviews

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After the savage Haas family murders, nobody in Minneapolis expected to get full closure; but they did hope that convicting killer Karl Dahl would be a good start. But everything goes wrong: First, a controversial ruling by a precedent-conscious judge sets the entire community in an uproar. And then, somehow, against all possibility, the monster killer himself escapes from custody. Surprises; suspense; a truly breakneck pace.
Publishers Weekly
A simple court hearing explodes into a multifaceted case at the start of this stunning meld of thriller and police procedural from bestseller Hoag. Shortly after Minneapolis judge Carey Moore decides that the many "prior bad acts" of accused serial killer Karl Dahl can't be used in his trial, Dahl escapes from jail and someone attacks Moore. Homicide cops Sam Kovac and Nikki Liska, introduced in Ashes to Ashes (1999), are assigned to protect the judge, whom the police hate for her liberal views. Moore's disintegrating marriage and her husband's shady business dealings lead the investigation in new directions, while more murders exacerbate the hunt for Dahl. Hoag, who began her career as a romance writer, has experimented with several mystery subgenres. Here she stands above the competition, creating complex characters who evolve more than those in most thrillers. The breathtaking plot twists are perfectly paced in this compulsive page-turner, which ends on a romantic note. (On sale Mar. 28) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Dust to Dust homicide detective Sam Kovac and partner Nikki Liska are stuck with protecting an unpopular judge-and then she is kidnapped. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
"Hoag's cliffhanger scene endings and jump cuts leave the reader panting and turning the pages as fast as possible."—Boston Globe

"Chilling thriller with a romantic chaser."—New York Daily News

"The breathtaking plot twists are perfectly paced.... [A] stunning meld of thrilller and police procedural."—Publishers Weekly, starred review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781415927564
  • Publisher: Books on Tape, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/28/2006
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged

Meet the Author

Tami Hoag
Tami Hoag's novels have appeared regularly on national bestseller lists since the publication of her first book in 1988. She lives in Los Angeles.
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Read an Excerpt

Prior Bad Acts


By Tami Hoag

Random House

Tami Hoag
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0553801988


Chapter One

1

Fifteen months later

"He slaughtered a mother and two children."

Hennepin County prosecutor Chris Logan was a man of strong opinions and stronger emotions. Both traits had served him well in the courtroom with juries, not always so well in judges' chambers. He was tall, broad shouldered, athletic, with a thick shock of black-Irish hair now threaded with silver. Forty-five years old, Logan had spent twenty of those years in the criminal court system. It was a wonder he hadn't gone entirely white.

"I'm sorry," said the defense attorney, his sarcasm belying the expression of shock. "Did I miss something? When were we suddenly transported to the Dark Ages? Aren't the accused in this country still innocent until proven guilty?"

Logan rolled his eyes. "Oh, for Christ's sake, Scott, could you spare us the act? We're all adults. We all know each other. We all know you're full of shit. Could you spare us the demonstration?"

"Mr. Logan . . ."

Judge Carey Moore gave him a level look. She had known Chris Logan since they had both cut their teeth toiling as public defenders-a job neither of them had the temperament for. They had moved on to the county attorney's office as quickly as they could, and both had made their names in the courtroom, prosecuting everything from petty theft to rape tomurder.

Sitting in the other chair across from her desk was another cog in the public defender's machine. Kenny Scott had gone in that door and had never come out, which made him either a saint battling for justice for the socially disadvantaged or a pathetic excuse for an attorney, unable to rise out of anonymity and go on to private practice. Having had him in her courtroom numerous times, Carey suspected the latter.

He looked at Carey now with the eyes of a mouse in a room full of cats. Perspiring, nervous, ready to run, scrambling mentally. He was a small man whose suits never fit-too big in the shoulders, too long in the sleeves-which somehow emphasized the impression that he was overwhelmed by his job or by life in general.

By the luck of the draw, he had gotten stuck with the job of defending the most hated man in Minneapolis, if not the entire state: a drifter named Karl Dahl, accused of the most heinous murders Carey had encountered in her career.

The scene had been so gruesome, one of the uniformed officers who had responded to the original call had suffered a heart attack and had subsequently retired from the force. The lead homicide detective had been so affected by the case, he had eventually been removed from the rotation and put on a desk job, pending the completion of psychiatric counseling.

"Your Honor, you can't allow Mr. Logan to circumvent the rules of law," Scott said. "Prior bad acts are inadmissible-"

"Unless they establish a pattern of behavior," Logan argued loudly. He had the fierce expression of an eagle.

Kenny Scott looked like he wanted nothing more than to bolt from the office and run for his life, but to his credit, he stayed in his seat.

"Mr. Dahl's previous offenses have nothing to do with this case," he said. "Criminal trespass? That hardly establishes him as a violent offender."

Logan glared at him. "What about possession of child pornography? What about breaking and entering? Window peeping? Indecent exposure?"

"He never killed anyone with his penis," Scott said.

"It's an escalating pattern of behavior," Logan argued. "That's what these pervs do. They start small and work their way up. First they get their jollies whacking off while they look at little kids in their underwear in the JCPenney catalog. When that doesn't do it for them anymore, they move on to window peeping, then to exposing themselves. Next they need to have physical contact-"

"And they jump from weenie wagging to evisceration?" Scott said. "That's absurd."

He turned back toward Carey. "Your Honor, there is nothing violent in Karl Dahl's record. The information regarding his prior convictions would be prejudicial and inflammatory. The jury would be ready to convict him based on Mr. Logan's theory, not fact, not evidence."

Logan ticked his facts off on his fingers. "We have his fingerprints at the scene. We have a complaint filed by one of the neighbors, reporting him for looking in her windows. We know he knew the victims, that he'd been hanging around the neighborhood. He had the victim's necklace in his possession at the time of his arrest-"

"He was doing odd jobs," Scott said. "He admits to having been in the Haas home the day of the murders. Mrs. Haas paid him thirty-five dollars to install some curtain rods. He stole a cheap necklace. Big deal. Other than the one neighbor, no one in the neighborhood had any complaint against him."

Logan rolled his eyes dramatically. "Every one of them said the guy was strange, that he gave them the creeps-"

"That's not against the law-"

"Good thing for you," Logan muttered.

Carey warned him again. "Mr. Logan . . ."

He gave her a familiar look from under the heavy dark eyebrows. "An eyewitness puts him at the scene-"

"At least five hours after the murders had been committed," Scott pointed out.

"Coming back to review his work," Logan said.

"That doesn't make any sense. Coming back that late in the day, when people would be arriving home from work-"

"So he was back to kill the father and the oldest kid-"

"Just where did you get your crystal ball, Logan?" Scott asked. "Maybe we can all run out and get one. Maybe the state can buy them in bulk and distribute them to every law enforcement agency-"

Carey arched a brow in disapproval. "Put the sarcasm away, Mr. Scott."

Logan jumped in again. "This is a clear exception to the rule, Your Honor. The man is a serial killer at the front end of his career. If we don't stop him now-"

Carey held up a hand to stave off any more arguments. Her head ached as if it had been crushed by a millstone. Through law school and the years working her way up the ranks, her goal had been to sit in these chambers, to wear the robes, to be a judge.

At that moment, she wished she had listened to her grandmother and honed her secretarial skills as a fallback should she not land a suitable husband.

Presiding over felony proceedings was a responsibility she had never taken lightly. Because she'd come from a successful career as a prosecuting attorney, people expected her to be biased toward the prosecution-an expectation she had worked hard to dispel.

As a prosecutor it had been her job to vigorously pursue the conviction of defendants. As a judge, her job was to preside fairly, to take no sides, to keep the scales of justice in balance so that every verdict was reached based solely on the relevant facts and evidence presented.

Carey couldn't take sides, no matter what her personal feelings might be. In this case she had her work cut out. Two children had been brutalized, tortured, murdered, left hanging by their necks from the ceiling of a dank basement.

She was a mother herself. The idea of someone harming her daughter evoked an emotion so strong there were no words adequate to describe it. She had viewed the crime scene photos and the videotape. The images haunted her.

The children's foster mother had been raped, sodomized, tortured, her body sliced open from throat to groin. The coroner had determined that the woman had died first, though there was no way of knowing what might have taken place before her very eyes prior to her death. She might have been made to watch while unspeakable acts were committed on the children. The children might have been made to watch while unspeakable acts were committed on her. Either way, a nightmare from the darkest, most primal, fear-filled corner of the human mind.

But as a judge, Carey couldn't attach those atrocities to the defendant on trial before her. Her decision on the matter before her now couldn't be swayed by her own fears or disgust. She couldn't worry how people would react to her ruling. A criminal trial was not a popularity contest.

A fine theory, at least.

She took a breath and sighed, the weight of the matter pressing down on her. The attorneys watched her. Kenny Scott looked like he was waiting for her to pronounce sentence on him. Logan's impatience was palpable. He stared at her as if he believed he could influence her mind by sheer dint of will.

Carey quelled the sick feeling in her stomach. Move forward. Get it over with.

"I've read your briefs, gentlemen," she said. "And I'm well aware of the impact my decision will have on this case. I can guarantee neither of you would want to be sitting in this chair right now."

Logan would have argued that, she knew. Bias was a way of life for him. "Right with might" was his motto. If he believed something, then it was so-no arguments. But he held his tongue, held his breath, poised to leap out of his chair. Carey met his gaze full-on.

"I don't see an exception here," she said.

Logan opened his mouth, ready to rebut.

"You'll allow me to finish, Mr. Logan."

His face was flushed red with anger. He looked at the wall.

"Mr. Dahl's prior acts may point in a particular direction, suggesting a possible path of future criminal behavior," she said. "However, he has no history of violent crimes, and this court can't foresee what Mr. Dahl might do in months or years to come. At any rate, we aren't allowed to try people for crimes they have yet to commit."

"Your Honor," Logan said, his voice tight from holding back the need to shout. "Violent criminals are made over time. Mr. Dahl's record-"

"Is inadmissible," Carey said.

If people could have been put away for crimes they had yet to commit, Chris Logan would have been led away in handcuffs. The fury in his eyes was murderous.

Kenny Scott barely contained himself from leaping out of his chair and doing a victory dance. Carey stared at him, and he slouched back down and swallowed the joy of his victory. He wouldn't think it was such a good thing after the news hit the press, Carey thought.

People generally demonstrated less loathing for public defenders than headline defense attorneys. They were, after all, civil servants toiling away for low wages, devoting their lives to help the unfortunate. But as soon as her ruling was made public, Kenny Scott would suddenly become an enemy of the state. Defending the indigent was one thing. Getting an accused murderer off was quite another.

"Your Honor," Scott said, ready to strike while the iron was hot. "In view of your ruling, I don't see that the prosecution has enough evidence to support the indictment-"

Logan came out of his chair.

Eyes popping, Scott looked at the man looming over him. "I move that the charges be dismissed," he said, talking as fast as he could, trying to get all the words out of his mouth before Logan could grab him by the throat and crush his larynx.

"Motion denied," Carey said with a calm that belied her inner tension. "Sit down, Mr. Logan, or I'll have you removed."

Logan glared at her, defiant. He didn't sit, but he moved away from Kenny Scott and went over by the wall, his hands jammed at his waist, nostrils flaring as he tried to gather himself.

"But Your Honor," Scott argued, "the state has no direct evidence linking my client to the crimes. No fingerprints on the murder weapons-"

"He wiped them clean," Logan growled.

"No blood evidence on his clothes-"

"So he ditched the clothes."

"No DNA evidence-"

"He used a condom-"

"Not so much as a hair-"

"The guy doesn't have any," Logan snapped. "He shaves his body clean so he won't leave any hairs behind. What does that tell you?"

"He does it for hygiene reasons," Scott said. "The guy's a transient. He doesn't want to pick up lice."

Logan made a rude sound and rolled his eyes dramatically.

Carey turned to him. "Well, Mr. Logan? What do you have on Mr. Dahl?"

"I'm supposed to lay out my entire case in front of him?" Logan said, incredulous.

"Do you have a case to lay out?"

"He's got conjecture, supposition, and coincidence," Scott said.

"I've got a grand jury indictment," Logan said.

"And the Cracker Jack box it came in?"

"It's good to know you have so much respect for our criminal justice system, Mr. Scott," Carey said without humor.

Scott stammered, tripping backward, trying to cover his mistake. Carey held up a hand to forestall the attempt. She wished the earth would open and swallow Kenny Scott and Chris Logan and this entire nightmare case.

"The indictment stands," she said. "A jury can decide if the state has a case strong enough to convict your client, Mr. Scott."

She gave Logan a look she knew he recognized from their years together on the same side of the bar. "And if you don't, Mr. Logan . . . God help you."

She rose behind her desk and nodded toward the door. "Gentlemen . . ."

Kenny Scott bounced up from his seat. "But Your Honor, shouldn't we revisit the idea of bail?"

No."

"But my client-"

"Should consider himself damned lucky to have a guarded building between himself and the public," she said. "Considering the climate of the community, bail would not be in your client's best interest.

Quit while you're ahead, Mr. Scott."

Scott bobbed and nodded. "Yes, ma'am."

"Don't call me ma'am."

"No. I'm sorry, Your Honor. I meant no disrespect."

"Please leave."

"Yes, ma- Of course."

He held up his hands as if to concede his stupidity, then fumbled to grab his briefcase and nearly tripped himself on his way out the door.

Logan remained for a moment but didn't say a word. He didn't need to. Carey knew exactly what was going through his mind. Then he huffed a sigh and walked out like a man with a purpose.

The bottle of scotch in his bottom right-hand desk drawer.

"Have one for me," she muttered.


Excerpted from Prior Bad Acts by Tami Hoag Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 104 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(53)

4 Star

(28)

3 Star

(11)

2 Star

(5)

1 Star

(7)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 106 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 6, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Wonderful, I'm hooked!

    I started reading her books from the newest going back and I am so hooked! I feel the newer ones are better but the twists and turns as well as the incredible ability to put the reader into the story continue throughout! Hoag is my favorite right now, I can't get enough of these stories!

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted May 22, 2011

    Prior Bad Acts

    This is the first and last Tami Hoag book I will ever read. I thought that her story line was great and the entire book was expressive and gripping. However, I found the use of such fowl language appalling. Some of our best authors have been able to write novels that have been #1 best selling books without the use of gutter language. Someone once said that a person who needs fowl language to speak does not have a very good vocabulary. I agree. While I loved the imagination of the story line, it was very hard to skip over the language. Sorry about that Tami.

    2 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2006

    Prior Bad Acts

    This is by far the best book from Hoag. The complex structure of charactors, scenes, plots were well converted into something really readable, enjoyable and educating.You don't have to be a layer to love this book.It will open your eyes up and you can never close them down.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 22, 2006

    Great Courtroom Thriller

    This is the best courtroom thriller so far this year. I consider this novel Tami Hoag's redemption for Kill the Messenger. The characters are great, the story is edge of your seat entertainment, and the ending is superb. This is a must buy!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted March 6, 2006

    Great Read

    I could not put this book down. It kept my interest and kept me up at night so I could continue to read it. This book you should buy

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted March 1, 2014

    Riveting!

    This book was exciting from beginning to end, you can't put it down-

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

    Posted October 22, 2013

    Goid Good read!

    Good story line with interestig characters. Cant wait to read her next one.

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  • Posted December 28, 2012

    Very enjoyable.

    Tami Hoag has created two interesting characters – Kovac and Liska. Kovac is a hard older – classical fictional male detective. While Liska is a younger female decective, who is also somewhat hardened by her experience. The interplay with these two is somewhat stereotypical. Both Prior Bad Acts and Dust to Dust are very enjoyable reads. I have recommended these to other I know who like the genre.

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  • Posted December 23, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    3 Stars

    I have read two other novels by Tami Hoag (Deeper than the Dead and the sequel to it) and in this book she sticks to the same formula as far as the development of the plot and the characters. Was easy to get into but a bit predictable....

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2012

    Suspenseful

    Tami Hoag always writes about strong characters. I would recommend this to anyone who wants a real good gripping story.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted February 15, 2012

    Loved it!

    So good!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2011

    Very enjoyable reading!

    This was my first time reading this author and I enjoyed the book very much. I was able to keep track of the characters and follow the plot eventhough I sometimes had to put it away for a few days. There was plenty of suspense and twists and turns to keep me coming back.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 20, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Amazing twists and turns!!!!

    This was one of the best books I have read in some time. It goes along and all of a sudden just when you think there is only one way the story could go - WHAM!! The author takes you in a completely unseen direction. I hope I can find a book to follow this intensity.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 28, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    fun read,

    what ive come to expect from Hoag, last minute twists and turns that keep u reading till the very end!

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  • Posted January 21, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Tension & Interesting Characters = Satisfying Ending

    A first Tami Hoag book for me and read within a few days. I read that the characters, Kovac and Liska, were introduced in previous books but Hoag creates enough background and full, flawed characters that there wasn't any feeling of "must have missed something". Hoag builds turn-paging tension that leads the reader to a satisfying ending. Thoroughly enjoyed the book.

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  • Posted June 20, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Prior Bad Acts Thrilling

    This author is a part of my wifes' personal library and I needed something else to read. I have read an earlier book by her and it was okay. This book was indeed a surprise. It definitely kept me involved. I like how the author has woven some true facts into her stories to make them more realistic. Among those known truths, the loss of officers by suicide. It can be tough being an officer.

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  • Posted November 23, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Hoag has improved over the years

    The first time I read a novel by Tami Hoag I threw it down in disgust; it read like a badly written combination of a potboiler and Harlequin romance, with a liberal dose of sex thrown in. <BR/><BR/>Apparently Hoag has learned from experience, however, because this new novel is her best work so far. And while I was easily able to guess the identity of Judge Carey Moore's assailant, this didn't detract from the suspense Hoag built up in her story - not to mention that built up by the narrator of the audiobook, Holter Graham, who seemed to know exactly the right tone to take at each critical point of the book. <BR/><BR/>This is the first time that I know of that Hoag has used characters from another of her books, and I hope it's not the last time she'll use them. I'd like to meet her detectives, Kovac and Liska, again - not to mention Judge Moore and her adorable five-year-old daughter Lucy.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 29, 2008

    Can't put it down!

    This was the first Tami Hoag book I had ever read and it kept my eyes glued to the pages until the very end! I love a great mystery and this one kept me on the edge of my seat!

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

    Posted June 4, 2008

    loved it

    im not really into reading,but i couldnt put this book down. just got another book of hers yesterday!!

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

    Posted February 3, 2008

    I loved this book.

    This is the first book I read by this author. I didn't want to put it down! I can't wait to read other books by her.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 106 Customer Reviews

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