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Cold Cold Heart    by Tami Hoag order for
Cold Cold Heart
by Tami Hoag
Order:  USA  Can
Dutton, 2015 (2015)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Tami Hoag fans who enjoyed The 9th Girl will remember that lovely young reporter Dana Nolan was a victim of the serial killer the media named Doc Holiday. Though she survived (barely), the brain damaged young woman who eventually emerged from months of medical treatments, rehab and psychological counseling was a very different person from the somewhat naive girl abducted by a vicious torturer.

Now, almost a year later in Cold Cold Heart, Dana returns to her home town where she stays with her (not surprisingly) overprotective mother Lynda and cold stepfather Roger, who is clearly more concerned with his political campaign than with Dana's well being. Badly scarred and disfigured, she suffers post-traumatic stress syndrome, as well as horrific flashbacks and nightmares, though she does not remember details of her suffering or the brutal killer who put her through it.

Back home, Dana finds herself growing increasingly curious about the unsolved disappearance of her best friend through childhood, Casey Grant. Casey went missing after their high school graduation. Focusing on that, and digging into the case, helps Dana with her own issues. She also reconnects with her high school boyfriend, Tim Carver, who (once slated for great things at West Point) has returned to their small time as a Deputy.

Also back in town is Casey's ex-boyfriend, John Villante, who suffers PTSD after injuries sustained in Iraq and has been forced (through lack of funds) to move back home and live with his malicious brute of a father (John's mother left them when he was very small). No-one has his back, except perhaps the stray dog that he feeds and gradually bonds with. Both he and Dana eventually decide they will no longer remain victims.

Though I guessed the villain of the piece without too much difficulty, I still found Cold Cold Heart totally engrossing for its portrayal of two terribly damaged individuals. Their plight is heartbreaking. And don't miss Tami Hoag's Author's Note at the back of the book, which elaborates on TBI (traumatic brain injury) and PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder).

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