I can honestly say that this book creeped me out a lot. With Hoag setting the first scene with a graphic description of the murder victim, and how our bodies break down after death, I may have been off food for several hours while I finished this book.
It seems this days I am destined to read book series out of order. I read book #3 last year, and finally went and bought book #2. I will so just go buy book #1 just so I can complete the “Oak Knoll” series eventually though.
Unlike with book #1, the town of Oak Knoll is not dealing with another serial killer. Instead, a single mother (Marissa Fordham) is found hacked to pieces. Marissa’s four year old daughter is also found and it’s apparent whoever killed her mother, thought they killed her too. When the sheriff is called into investigate, they find themselves trying to figure out who hated Marissa enough to end her life. This leads several characters down a long winding path of trying to figure out who Marissa is, why did she move to Oak Knoll, and who could have hated her enough to kill her.
I have read enough of Tami Hoag’s books to be familiar with how her book flow will go. She tends to have several POVs in the book. In this one she has detective Tony Mendez, child advocate Anne Leone, retired FBI agent, Vince Leone. We also have a woman who is dealing with the fact that her marriage is over, her daughter, a troubled young boy that Anne is trying to be there for, Marissa’s best friend who also lives in Oak Knoll, etc. At times the book felt a bit too messy with trying to follow the main plot and the sub-plots that popped up.
I did think though that the final reveal of the main plot didn’t make a lot of sense to me. I think due to the dozens of red herrings we get while reading, still had me going huh at the end. And of course I maybe got a little bit tired of the Anne is in danger again thing that kept happening. At one point I wondered if it would be better if she was just had police protection wherever she went.
I didn’t really jibe with any one character. Probably because for except for Tony, the other characters don’t pop up in book #3. I heard from a friend that if I read book #1, that maybe I will like everyone in this book more. Hope so. My main thoughts are that Anne and Tony were unprofessional throughout. And the whole what will happen to Marissa’s daughter thing didn’t sit well at all with me when we find out about her beginnings as well.
The writing is typical Hoag, though I have to say I hated the whole jump scare thing she had going on at the end of certain chapters. We would have Vince staring at a door and thinking someone is inside and the book would do “And Vince would wish that he was faster” and the book would skip into another chapter.
Probably the best thing about these books is that it is set in the early 1980s. So this is before you had a lot of tools that police and forensic scientists have available today. So you can test blood type, but not DNA at a scene. This leads to a lot of old fashioned leg work and interviewing.