Tami Hoag's 'Deeper Than The Dead': A Review

Pages: 421

Rating: ****

The best advice I can give to the frugal reader is to not be afraid of rummaging through bargain bins. Amongst the riff raf, you can still find some hidden gems. This is how I came across Hoag's 'Deeper Than The Dead'. If you've been following my reviews, then you'll remember that I was quite taken by her novel 'Down The Darkest Road'. So you can imagine my delight to find one of Hoag's novels in one such bin. At first I was nervous, I didn't want this book to be below standard, thus being why it's at such a marked down price. Fortunately, my fears were laid to rest after the first few chapters. As an earlier novel in her career, I can see a difference in Hoag's writing style, and it's nice to see her progression as a writer.

If you read 'Down The Darkest Road', then you will recognize the cast of characters as 'Deeper Than The Dead' is the first entry into the Oak Knoll series, and it tells the story of how Anne, Vince and Tony become intertwined.

Anne Navarre is your common place disgruntled school teacher. While she deeply loves her students, she wonders if life cheated her out of a more prestigious lifestyle. Forced to take care of her elderly sexist father, she doesn't have any room in her life for anything other than her classroom. That is, until three of her students stumble upon the body of a murdered woman on their way home from school. Anne's world is flipped as she's called in to help deal with the mental disturbances that the children may be experiencing after uncovering the body. As the gruesome details of the murder come to light, detectives start connecting this death to several others, and Oak Knoll, this small family oriented town, is officially being plagued by a serial killer. But who is it? it could be anyone and suspicious neighbors start accusing neighbors. Lead detective Tony Mendez is put in charge of leading the investigation. As another young woman goes missing, Mendez plays his ace in the hole and calls in legendary FBI profiler Vince Leone. With Leone on the scene, the investigation heats up, and Anne finds herself in the middle of it all. Counseling the traumatized children and acting as guardian are just a few of her new duties. Now that Anne is getting so much publicity, the killer is getting closer and closer to Anne in the hopes of shutting her down. Can Tony and Vince find the killer before he claims another victim? Or are Anne's attempts to help all in vain?

Let me start by saying that Hoag has built herself a nice little world inside the dreamy Oak Knoll. She has done well bringing the little community to life. I think that's one my favorite things about Hoag's style, her ability to bring things to life and make her characters jump right off the pages. Anne stands out wonderfully as a lead character. She is the perfect girl next door that shouldn't be underestimated. When she writes from Tommy's perspective, she captures the child's innocence perfectly. The book is a fun read. It kept me guessing at the killer's identity until the very end. While the perpetrator was always in the back of my mind, there were others who always seemed to be just a little more guilty. 'Deeper Than The Dead', was an interesting story. While I had a hard time putting down the book, it just seemed to drag on. I'm not saying that the book is boring, but time seemed to flow more slowly in the story. I'm only giving the novel four stars because of the slower pace. Hoag is definitely a talented writer, and I would recommend her to anyone. Don't be discouraged by my less than perfect score, go find a Hoag novel today. If you're an aspiring writer like myself, you can certainly learn something from her technique.

Deeper Than the Dead
Deeper Than the Dead

You can find Deeper Than The Dead here, plus links to other great books by Tami Hoag.

 

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