Select one of the keywords
Deeper Than the Dead    by Tami Hoag order for
Deeper Than the Dead
by Tami Hoag
Order:  USA  Can
Dutton, 2010 (2010)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

In her latest thriller, Deeper Than the Dead (which by the way has a spectacular cover), Tami Hoag proves herself to be a master of misdirection right up to the zinger on the very last pages.

The story centers on serial killings (of fragile and vulnerable young women whose eyes and mouths are glued shut and eardrums pierced) in 1984 Oak Knoll, California. Four fifth graders (bully Dennis and his sidekick Cody chasing friends Tommy and Wendy) discover the first corpse carefully exhibited by the killer in the woods near their school. Their teacher, Anne Navarre (who did graduate work in psychology before dropping her chosen career to look after her ailing and ungrateful father), worries about the children's reactions and helps them as best she can.

What made this chiller totally engrossing for me is the way the author successively shines the light of suspicion on the schoolchildren's families, and shows how different what goes on behind closed doors is from these adults' public faces. Indeed Dennis (the son of the town's controlling and physically abusive chief deputy) targets Tommy because he envies his idyllic home life - but it, just like the others, is not as perfect as it appears. How do the kids' families relate to the victims? Many had links of various kinds to the Thomas Center for Women.

Local police are somewhat at a loss in dealing with multiple murders - and the general increase in violence that they trigger - in their sleepy little community. Recovering (and still on leave) after miraculously surviving a shot in the head, FBI Behavioral Sciences Unit legend Vince Leone hears about the case from Sheriff's Detective Tony Mendez, who took one of his courses. He flies in to help with the search for the unsub reporters quickly dub the See-No-Evil killer, but keeps his participation below the radar of his FBI superiors.

As suspense builds to a crescendo, the story's leads discover that 'After looking death in the face, all of life's other choices become so much simpler and cleaner.' If you enjoy thrillers with a strong human element and a touch of romance, then you don't want to miss the highly recommended Deeper Than the Dead, which will keep you guessing and on an adrenaline rush until you turn the last page.

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more Mystery books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews