Deeper Than the Dead by  Tami Hoag

 

After reading the reviews, I raced to buy this book and dove right in.  I wanted to love it…honest!  In the end, however, it was just a strong “like”.  

First the premise.  In short, it works!  The plot line is believable and gripping, and Hoag adds just the right amount of suspense to each round in this game of cat and mouse.  

What I took issue with, however, was Hoag’s tendency to step back and add commentary to the narrative that caused me to loose touch with the book itself.

For example, when discussing DNA testing, Hoag writes “We keep hearing DNA profiling as the coming thing, but it can’t come out fast enough…” and “it would be a miracle for Law enforcement when the technology came.”  

She repeats this annoyance when talking about missing children and the fact that technology will someday make it easier to find them in a national database; when speaking about the lack of computers; and when referring to the antiquated process for matching fingerprints.

 

It’s as if she’s stepping back and saying, “Now remember, it’s only the 80s!”–she gives the reader no credit for remembering that fact.  For me, that alone caused a hiccup, removing me from the action at hand.  Even some of the dialogue points to a contrived method of letting us know it’s not yet the 21st century.  

When Janet Crane tells Vince her husband has a cell phone, Hoag reminds us that cell phones in the 80s weren’t the sleek little numbers they are today.  She does so with this line from Vince:  “You have to carry the damn things around in a suitcase.”  

Yes, Tami…we remember.  In spite of these bumps in the road, however, I did roll over them as the pages almost turned themselves.  Every twist brought a new red herring; every chapter, yet another twist.  

They tangled and tumbled into one another, and I was most definitely pulled along for the ride.  My final issue with the book, though, was this:  the threads left hanging, as if they had come unraveled from a cheap suit and no one had bothered to cut them off.  

 

Whose remains were they in the hog pen?  How did they get there?  What happened when Morgan realized that Vince DID tell his wife he was arrested for soliciting a prostitute?  And the conclusion?  Well, let’s just say there was none.  

The end left me looking for another chapter.  

I have to tell you, though…even if there IS a sequel, I don’t think I’ll be reading it.  

I felt cheated out of a sense of finality after such an investment in reading.

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