Friday, January 15, 2010

Thriller writer Tami Hoag returns after 2-year break

From Erie Times-News --

Thriller writer Tami Hoag returns after 2-year break --

January 10. 2010 --

Although 1985 was only 25 years ago, it's almost medieval in terms of the advances in technology and crime detection. In fact, it seems nostalgic to remember a time when DNA seemed like a myth, when FBI profiling was in its infancy and cellular phones were carried in suitcases.

Best-selling author Tami Hoag uses 1985 as the backdrop for a multilayered thriller that looks at the advent of groundbreaking crime detection.

"Deeper Than the Dead" (Dutton, $26.95) also explores parental skills and how one's determination to save face can be pathological. Hoag has built a reputation for highly entertaining thrillers, but in this novel, her first after a two-year hiatus, the author hits upon a complex story that is full of plot surprises and character studies.

At the center of the book are three children from three very different homes.

Tommy's doting father is a well-respected dentist and his mother a controlling witch. Wendy's lawyer father is never home, but her mother is patient and loving.

And Dennis' father is a deputy sheriff who heaps abuse on his mother and himself.

Chillingly, Hoag tells the reader right away that one of these parents is a serial killer who has been targeting young women in the small California town where they live.

Each child's personality has been shaped by their home life. These fifth-graders' discovery of the latest victim in a park will affect each in unpredictable ways.

The only adult who seems to have the children's best interests in mind is their teacher, Anne Navarre, who has her own father issues. Trying to both shield the children and help with the investigation, Anne is drawn into the case more than she expected, especially when an intriguing FBI agent begins an investigation.

Hoag's first-rate exploration of her characters imbues "Deeper Than the Dead" with compelling plot twists. Each character has two sides -- the personality they show to the public and their not-always-pleasant private side.

The author shows the story both from the viewpoint of these children and from their parents without giving away her plot secrets. Hoag utilizes the 1985 time frame well, weaving in developments in crime detection while keeping the plot buoyant.

Tami Hoag has written 16 novels, including "McKnight in Shining Armor," "Rumor Has It," "Night Sins," "The Last White Knight" and "Still Waters."

"Deeper Than the Dead" ranks high among them.

No comments:

Post a Comment