Monday, February 23, 2015

Review: Ashes to Ashes by Tami Hoag (audio)

Title: Ashes to Ashes    
Author: Tami Hoag   
Series: Kovac & Liska, #1    
Narrator: David Colacci 
Published: November 2014, Brilliance Audio (re-release)   
Length: 18 hours 26 minutes  
Source: Personal copy via Audible 

He performs his profane ceremony in a wooded Minneapolis park, anointing his victims, then setting the bodies ablaze. He has already claimed three lives, and he won’t stop there. Only this time there is a witness. But she isn’t talking.

Enter Kate Conlan, former FBI agent turned victim/witness advocate. Not even she can tell if the reluctant witness is a potential victim or something more troubling still. Her superiors are interested only because the latest victim may be the daughter of Peter Bondurant, an enigmatic billionaire. When Peter pulls strings, Special Agent John Quinn gets assigned to the case. But the FBI’s ace profiler of serial killers is the last person Kate wants to work with, not with their troubled history. Now she faces the most difficult role of her career—and her life. For she’s the only woman who has what it takes to stop the killer . . . and the one woman he wants next.

My thoughts: I only started reading (or in this case listening to) Tami Hoag a few years back and I have to say I really enjoy her books. I had been sent her short story, The 1st Victim, which was a prequel to her novel, The 9th Girl. Little did I know that these two books were part of a series that she was coming back to after a long absence. Enjoying both of them, I promised myself I would go back and pick up the earlier books when I had the chance. Fortunately for me, Brilliance Audio happened to re-release the audio for the first two, so I snatched them up via Audible and now I'm just hoping they will be doing the same for the third one.

I will say with this book, I was a bit confused at first, because I went into the book knowing it's the first in the Sam Kovac/Nikki Liska series, but felt that they really weren't front and center the whole time. Kate Conlon and John Quinn, in my opinion, really seemed to get more focus than Kovac and Liska. That's not to say that Kovac and Liska weren't part of the book, because they certainly were, they just seemed to be more like supporting characters than main ones. And, I really liked Kate and Sam - they had a history prior to this book and due to the case they are all working on, are brought back together. They have serious chemistry and I'd love to see them continue in a series of their own.

The case itself is pretty intense and gruesome, and there are plenty of twists and turns throughout. It's fast-paced with lots of action and, being the first in the series, plenty of character development. The suspense builds nicely, but at times is ramped up and each time I thought I had figured out who the Cremator was, another development popped up to change my mind. I love books like that, where I am constantly kept on my toes. I'm really looking forward to seeing how the next two books are set up and I'm also curious if Kate and Sam appear in any future books...I guess I'll have to read on to find out!

Audio Thoughts: This is the first time I've listened to David Colacci narrate a book and I thought he did a fantastic job with this book. He was able to give each character their own unique voice and even did a fairly good job with the female characters - not being overly dramatic when emotion was needed. I'm excited he's narrating the second book in this series and really hope he does the third if Brilliance re-releases it.

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 have been considering reading this book for a while. I think I have THE 9TH GIRL already. Nice to know that the audio works well. I read Hoag's trilogy that's set in the 1980's last year. It starts with DEEPER THAN THE DEAD. Have you read that one? Set in the era when profiling was just beginning. I liked it very much.

    1. Oh...I have not read Deeper than the Dead, but will add it to my list. So far, I've only read the books that are part of this series and just have Prior Bad Acts left. I finished Dust to Dust a week or so ago. I do have Cold Cold Heart on my shelf - in audio. I heard that while it's not part of the Kovac/Liska series, they do make an appearance, and that it is is loosely connected to The 9th Girl.

  2. Somehow I missed Tami Hoag until recently when I got one of her books on audio and ended up really liking it. I'll definitely have to look for this in either print or audio. I like how she wove together a number of different aspects and it sounds like she did a great job with that in this series as well.


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