Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Review: Deer Lake Series - Books 1 & 2: Night Sins/Guilty as Sin by Tami Hoag (audio)

Title: Deer Lake Series - Books 1 & 2: Night Sins/Guilty as Sin
Author: Tami Hoag
Series: Deer Lake Series, Books 1& 2
Narrator: Jennifer Van Dyke
Published: July 2016, Brilliance Audio
Length: 39 hours (Book 1 - 19 hours 45 minutes; Book 2 - 18 hours 32 minutes)
Source: Publisher
NIGHT SINS: A young boy disappears. There are no witnesses, no clues - only a note, cleverly taunting, casually cruel. Has a cold-blooded kidnapper struck? Or is this a reawakening of a long-quiet serial killer?

A tough-minded investigator on her first make-or-break case… A local cop who fears that big city evils have come to stalk his small town home… Together they are hunting for a madman who knows no bounds, to protect a town that may never feel safe again.

GUILTY AS SIN: A respected member of the community stands accused of a chilling act of evil. But when a second boy disappears, a frightened public demands to know: Have the police caught the wrong man? Is the nightmare continuing…or just beginning?

Prosecutor Ellen North believes she''s building a case against a guilty man—and that he has an accomplice in the shadows. As she prepares for the trial of her career, Ellen suddenly finds herself swept into a cruel contest of twisted wits, a dark game of life and death…with an evil mind as guilty as sin.

My thoughts: I became a big Tami Hoag fan, after starting her Kovac and Liska series and so when I saw this audio book available to review, I decided to give it a go - it's an older series, orginally written in 1995 and 1996, but boy oh boy did it keep me engaged and on my toes! And despite the length, I was so invested in the story - both stories, actually, and loved the way they were tied together!

Since this review is for two books, I am going to structure it a little differently. I'm going to try to keep it as concise as I can so that this doesn't become too long, plus I don't want to give away any spoilers. 

Night Sins:
The characters in this book are so well-developed and the mystery surrounding the kidnapping of Josh Kirkwood is haunting. Someone is playing a wicked game of cat and mouse with the people of Deer Lake. I loved how each section started out with the time and the temperature and wind chill - you really felt the cold and the desperation that these people were feeling. The notes that the kidnapper(s) left throughout just added to an already ominous feeling of dread. There were plenty of suspects that we are led to believe might be the "guilty" party, but the twists and turns we are taken on throw us off more often than not. The romance that brews between Megan O'Malley and the Chief offers a nice balance to all the heaviness of the case.

Guilt as Sin:
***Caveat - This book really does need to be read after reading Night Sins - a lot of what happens is based on that story! That being said, I'm going to be a bit vague, so as to not give away anything that happened in Night Sins.

Again, the characters in this book are well-developed. We have the prosecutor, Ellie North, building a case against the person responsible for kidnapping Josh Kirkwood, who is now in jail. But the question remains...did this person work alone or have an accomplice? The twists and turns that this book takes kept me guessing the entire time. I never saw the ending coming - it was brilliant! And let's just talk about the creep factor that Tami Hoag manages to deftly work into her books - she is able to create such creepy characters when she needs to - OMG...I get chills just thinking about them! Such despicable, twisted characters that have no qualms about doing whatever they want to whomever they want just to make a point. 

So, bottom line - I really enjoyed both books - but, be warned, they are long! I listened to them, back-to-back, but I happened to have a long car ride, so I had time. They don't need to be read/listened to back-to-back, but they do need to be read in order!

Audio thoughts: I am a big fan of Jennifer Van Dyke's work as a narrator, so when I saw that she was narrating these books, I was excited! She did a great job with these two stories. She gave each character their own unique voice and was consistent in each book - there were a few characters that appear in both books. Her pacing is spot on and she infuses just the right amount of tension in her voice as needed. As I mentioned, these are long audiobooks, but her narration kept it from dragging on. Well-done! 

Books in this series:
  1. Night Sins
  2. Guilty as Sin 


  1. Kristin, this sounds like a very engaging audio book. Terrific review!

  2. I listened to about half of one Tami Hoag book years ago when I was first getting into audio books but I never ended up finishing it. The plot has really stuck with me which I think shows I need to get back and finish it! This sounds like an interesting series. Tami Hoag is an author I definitely need to read more of!


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