I reviewed Tami Hoag's Cold, Cold Heart recently. I'd only read one previous novel by her (The Ninth Girl),but I enjoyed them both. So on a library visit, I checked out the first three in the series.
Ashes to Ashes (Sam Kovac and Nikki Liska Bk. 1)
When a serial killer known as the Cremator turns from killing and burning prostitutes to the daughter of a billionaire, the hunt for the killer takes a more public and energetic turn.
Kate Conlan, a former FBI agent and current victim/witness advocate, is called in to work with a frightened and reluctant young girl, who stumbled away from the latest murder scene. The billionaire father of the victim has friends in the FBI and manages to get Special Agent John Quinn, hot shot FBI profiler, involved in the case. Kate Conlan and Quinn have history, and Kate is not at all happy with his addition to the team.
Kate is a feisty, determined woman, and her introductory scene is a memorable one. From then on, I was definitely in her corner.
Kovac and Liska are secondary characters, but well-rounded and sympathetic. The two detectives ground the series, even as other characters take the lead.
Plenty of twists, brisk pace, lots of witty repartee. Couldn't wait for the next one.
Read in Dec.; review scheduled for Jan.
Crime/Police Procedural. 2000. 576 pages.
Sam Kovac and Nikki Liska get much more attention in this second installment. Both detectives evolve personally as the reader learns more about them.
When an Internal Affairs officer is found hanged in an apparent suicide, Sam is particularly disturbed because Andy Fallon is the son of a department legend, Iron Mike Fallon--and Iron Mike was something of a mentor to Sam early in his career.
Suicide, accident, murder? Kovac and Liska find evidence of corruption, cover-up, and connections to both recent and decades old cases.
The clever banter continues, as does the development of secondary and minor characters. The ability to populate a novel with "real" people is one of Hoag's skills in this series. Minor characters are not simply pawns to help advance the narrative; they feel like genuine individuals even if their roles are small.
Read in Dec.
The brutal murder of a mother and her two young foster children leads to the arrest of Karl Dahl. When Judge Carey Moore rules against the inclusion of Dahl's prior criminal record, prosecutors and police are enraged. Then Dahl escapes, and Judge Moore finds her life in danger, even as she must deal with the scathing comments and threats from everyone who believes Dahl is guilty. Sam Kovac and Nikki Liska, assigned to protect the judge, now need to apprehend Dahl.
In the meantime, Judge Moore is coming to some unpleasant realizations about her husband, and one of the cops on the original case goes rogue, determined to get the man he believes responsible for the gruesome murders. The sub-plots tie together, sometimes in unexpected ways.
Another exciting and fast-paced installment in Hoag's series featuring Kovac and Liska.
I've now read all the books in this series, although I did have to go back and pick up these first three after reading the two more recent entries. Hoag switches back and forth between featuring the detectives and letting them slide into the background while other characters receive the focus. However, whether or not Sam and Nikki take precedence or make token appearances, this is a great series.
Crime/Police Procedural. 2006. 570 pages.