Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Secrets to the Grave by Tami Hoag

You don't have to have read Tami Hoag's Deeper Than the Dead to read Secrets to the Grave, but it helps.  The first book introduced Vince Leone, a special agent with the FBI's Behavioral Science Unit, and teacher Anne Navarre.  Following the traumatic incidents in the first book, a suspect was arrested, Anne is waiting to testify in the trial, Leone is now a consultant and married to Anne, and the small town of Oak Knoll, California is back to normal.  I can't set up this book without those details, but I won't give away anything more to spoil the earlier book.

Hoag sets this series in 1986, which makes it interesting to watch the sheriff's department investigate crimes.  They lack the tools common today, from computers to DNA analysis.  And the officers are aware that technology is just tantalizingly out of reach in the future.  That doesn't make it easier to prove the case against the suspect from Deeper Than the Dead.  And, the investigators will struggle in the violent case in Secrets to the Grave.

Artist Marissa Fordham definitely had secrets.  When her body was found, violently stabbed and violated, she was covered in blood.  This was definitely a personal crime.  She left behind a four-year-old daughter, Haley, who saw the killer, but was so traumatized she would only scream until Anne, in her role as a child advocate, stepped in to sooth her.  However, in 1986, again, there was little information about childhood memory of traumatic events, and the sheriff's department could only rely on old-fashioned investigation.  It was an investigation that turned up a number of men in Marissa's life, a great deal of money, and the chilling fact that Marissa Fordham never existed.  When Anne was given temporary custody of Haley, she once more put herself in the path of a vicious killer, with a great deal to lose if Haley could identify the person who killed her mother.  And, Vince Leone can only hope he and the Sheriff's Department can track down a killer before that person reaches the woman he's grown to love.

I'm hoping there will be more books in the Deeper Than the Dead series.  Hoag has given us fascinating characters, from Vince and Anne Leone to Deputy Tony Mendez.  In fact, all of the members of the Oak Knoll Sheriff's Department are interesting, with that black humor cops use, and their sense of teamwork.   Tami Hoag's Secrets of the Grave has everything I normally dislike in a book.  There's extreme violence, a woman and child in jeopardy, and more suspense than I normally care for, nail-biting suspense.  In this case, Hoag's characters, and her use of the past as a time period with tantalizing possibilities for criminal investigation in the future, push me to read these books.  And, I highly recommend Deeper Than the Dead, and, even more, Secrets of the Grave.

Note:  I was given my ARC so I could participate in the TLC Book Tour for Secrets of the Grave.   And, one lucky winner can win a copy of both books, Deeper Than the Dead and Secrets of the Grave, provided by the publisher.  If you would like to enter to win this contest, email me at  Your email should include the subject heading, "Win Tami Hoag," along with your name and mailing address.  The giveaway is limited to US/Canada only (no PO Boxes).  The contest will end Thursday night, Jan. 13 at 6 PM MT.  The winner will be drawn, notified, and the publicist will send the books.  Good luck!

Tami Hoag's website is:  Her site on Facebook is:

Secrets to the Grave by Tami Hoag.  Penguin Group (USA), ©2010. ISBN 9780525951926 (hardcover), 464p.

FTC Full Disclosure - I received my ARC as part of the TLC Book Tour.


Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

I think it would be interesting to read a police procedural set in the 80s, with totally different ways of investigating. The characters sound intriguing, too.

Lesa said...

It is interesting, Elizabeth, especially with the cops' awareness that there are tools that will be available to them in the near future, but they don't have them yet. Very good characters as well.

Janet C said...

I hope there will be more in this series, too. I reread the first book last week, and ran out to get this one the first day it was out.

Lesa said...

I thought the first one was good, Janet. But, I liked this second one even more. I'm glad you like them.

Kay said...

I'm thinking I will read this one next or the book after next. I toyed wtih rereading the first one, but I don't think so. I too hope this will be a series that the author will continue for a while. Thanks for sharing, Lesa!

bermudaonion said...

I've never read any of Hoag's work, and I'm wondering why. This sounds really good to me.

Lesa said...

Kay, I don't think you need to go back and reread the previous books. You already know the few characters that continue in this. I didn't go back, and Hoag gave readers enough reminders without rehashing the entire book. Plus, the suspect from the previous book hasn't gone to trial yet, so you get reminders of the case, since it's still looming large. I think this one is even better.

Lesa said...


There are so many authors I haven't picked up, and I would like to read them...someday. I hope you enjoy Tami Hoag, if you try her books. You might have known she started out as a romance writer, and didn't pay attention when she went to thrillers. She was one of the women writers my husband liked. (smile) So, enjoy!

Anonymous said...

ive read the book but does milo find ou about her husband and marissa?