Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Review: The 9th Girl by Tami Hoag

The 9th Girl by Tami Hoag
Dutton Adult
June 2013
Format: e-book, 417 pages
Source: Publisher via Netgalley

#1 New York Times bestselling author Tami Hoag brings back her fan-favorite Minneapolis investigators Sam Kovac and Nikki Liska in the haunting new thriller The 9th Girl.

"Kovac had seen more dead bodies than he could count: Men, women, children; victims of shootings, stabbings, strangulations, beatings; fresh corpses and bodies that had been left for days in the trunks of cars in the dead of summer. But he had never seen anything quite like this . . . "

On a frigid New Year's Eve in Minneapolis a young woman's brutalized body falls from the trunk of a car into the path of oncoming traffic. Questions as to whether she was alive or dead when she hit the icy pavement result in her macabre nickname, Zombie Doe. Unidentified and unidentifiable, she is the ninth nameless female victim of the year, and homicide detectives Sam Kovac and Nikki Liska are charged with the task of not only finding out who Zombie Doe is, but who in her life hated her enough to destroy her. Was it personal, or could it just have been a crime of opportunity? Their greatest fear is that not only is she their ninth Jane Doe of the year, but that she may be the ninth victim of a vicious transient serial killer they have come to call Doc Holiday.

Crisscrossing America's heartland, Doc Holiday chooses his victims at random, snatching them in one city and leaving them in another, always on a holiday. If Zombie Doe is one of his, he has brought his gruesome game to a new and more terrifying level. But as Kovac and Liska begin to uncover the truth, they will find that the monsters in their ninth girl's life may have lived closer to home. And even as another young woman disappears, they have to ask the question: which is the greater evil--the devil you know or the devil you don't?

My thoughts: I am definitely late to the game once again when it comes to reading authors who've been around for a while. I had heard of Tami Hoag in the past but just never got around to picking up any of her books until I was offered the chance to read an early copy of The 1st Victim, a special e-short story that sets up the main storyline of Tami Hoag's latest book, The 9th Girl. Well, now having read both books, I can say without a doubt that she is going on my to-read list!

The 9th Girl in the latest in Tami Hoag's Kovac and Liska series. They believe they have a serial killer on their hands and are trying to determine if the latest Jane Doe, or in this case, Zombie Doe, is a victim of their Doc Holiday. The problem is that Zombie Doe seems to have injuries not consistent with all the other victims that they attribute to Doc Holiday. Has the serial killer changed MOs or do they have another killer on their hands?

I love the relationship between Kovac and Liska - it's filled with tension yet there's something solid that holds the partnership together. Not having read the earlier books, I don't know all that's transpired between them but they definitely share something. I'm anxious to read the earlier books just to see what their story is.

A major theme running through this book is the use of social media by teens. Just how much do the parents know about their children and their activities? While reading this book, I happened to be reading another book that also touches upon this topic. Both come at it in different ways, but I think the end result is that parents aren't always aware of what their teenagers are up to and at times it could be to their detriment. In the case of this book, Liska's older son went to school with their Zombie Doe, and it's his online activity that helps clear some things up.

I love a good psychological thriller that keeps me guessing til the end and this one certainly does. There are quite a few twists and turns that really throw you and only add to the suspense. I will definitely be keeping an eye out for more Tami Hoag books.

Do you find that there are common themes that come up in the books you read?

Books in this series:

       1.   Ashes to Ashes
       2.   Dust to Dust
       3.   Prior Bad Acts
       3.5   The 1st Victim
       4.   The 9th Girl



  1. I've read the first 3 books (awhile ago) and look forward to this one. Will check out the novella. Great review.

    1. I need to pick up the earlier 3 books - hoping my library has them!


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