This mystery has Hoag’s trademark mix of excellent character development and good plot complexity
This is the second in Tami Hoag’s Deeper than the Dead series. It is a first rate sequel. We are reacquainted with Vince Leon, the retired FBI profiler, his new wife Anne and the other detectives from the Oak Knoll PD. The action centers on the brutal murder of a local artist and single mother Marissa Fordham. Marissa’s daughter Haley is the only witness to this murder but is traumatized and unable to identify the killer. Haley is taken in by Vince and Ann because Ann is a child psychologist and perhaps able to carefully and lovingly extract the information from Haley. Murder suspects abound! An autistic college professor, a powerful local family the Bourdains, a music professor, are all introduced. Vince and other detectives undertake the investigation. The disappearance of Marissa’s friend Gina increases the tension.
Hoag is excellent at slowly revealing clues to the mystery. The setting for these books is a small town in California in 1985. All of the forensic techniques that modern day crime solving uses – DNA matches, national criminal data bases, instant internet searches, ubiquitous cell phones and other forms of communication are unavailable to these detectives. This allows Hoag to control the pace of the story and increase the suspense. People are always in suddenly dangerous situations and unable to call for help. This mystery has Hoag’s trademark mix of excellent character development and good plot complexity. Additionally the denouement so often the weakest part of detective fiction works well. Tami Hoag fans will be happy, new readers should also enjoy this story without the need to have read the first book in the series
I read an advanced reader copy of this book provided by the publisher.