Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Down the Darkest Road by Tami Hoag


Down the Darkest Road, the third book in Tami Hoag’s Oak Knoll series, is provocative, intriguing, and, definitely not for the squeamish. I find this series fascinating since it predates so many developments in forensic science, while the police know the changes are coming, and are often frustrated by that knowledge. In this case, with a book set in 1990, the police are unable to analyze a small amount of blood because the sample could be destroyed. It’s a small amount of blood that could have prevented so much tragedy.

Lauren Lawton now defines herself as the mother of a missing child. Her oldest daughter, Leslie, went missing in 1986 when she was sixteen. Four years later, the police have not been able to find evidence against the man that Lauren knows took her daughter. Now, with her husband dead, and her youngest daughter, Leah, about to turn sixteen, Lauren moves to Oak Knoll, hoping to finally end the years of uncertainty and turmoil.

But, Lauren is still living a nightmare, and when she thinks she sees her suspect, she runs into Detective Anthony Mendez of the Oak Knoll Sheriff’s Department. He has a great deal of sympathy for the grieving, angry mother, but his hands are tied, because the suspect hasn’t done anything illegal in Oak Knoll. And, his investigation only leads him to other jurisdictions where Lauren Lawton has created more trouble than the suspect has. Now, with a suspect, an angry woman, and a determined detective all in Oak Knoll, there can only be a confrontation.

Lauren Lawton has an outlet for her frustration, and she writes some of the narration, explaining her viewpoint. And, Mendez, the series protagonist, is an appealing character. But, it’s Leah Lawton, Lauren’s surviving daughter, who stands out. It’s her feelings that are so hard to read. “Sometimes Leah thought it didn’t even register with her mother that she had gone through the same experience her parents had when Leslie was taken.” Leah feels guilt, and she can’t turn to her mother. Leah cuts herself, searching for some relief. Her parents sent her away, and she didn’t see them for a month while they searched for Leslie. “It had been as if the only daughter they had was the one that was missing, and they forgot about the one right there, the one that hadn’t broken the rules, the one that hadn’t been grounded and gone out anyway.” Leah Lawton is the character that breaks your heart.

Despite some of the disgusting details, it’s hard to put down Tami Hoag’s Down the Darkest Road. And, I knew the twist about half-way through the book. Even so, I had to continue to read to see the train wreck. It was obvious there was going to be a tragic confrontation. Hoag knows how to force readers to continue to turn the pages.

Tami Hoag’s website is www.TamiHoag.com.

Down the Darkest Road by Tami Hoag. Dutton. ©2012. ISBN 9780525952398 (hardcover), 432p.


FTC Full Disclosure – Library book

13 comments:

Kay said...

I enjoy this series and I'm looking forward to reading this one. I'm also glad that she is moving the series forward in time, bit by bit.

Lesa said...

Me, too, Kay. It's been fascinating to watch the slight changes in forensic procedures, and to see the frustration when the police know progress is just tantalizingly out of reach.

Marce said...

I love the disgusting description especially when it is done well.

I keep saying to try her books, I need to do that.

Rosemary said...

Hi lesa

I think this might be a bit too gory for me.

We've just had power restored after a 24hr+ cut - we had terrible storms yesterday. Last night I was reading that Dana Stabenow book in bed with a torch! Finally finished it this evening and enjoyed it.

Thanks for the information about the new Jennifer Chiaverini book. I like some of hers - I think at one point they became a bit repetitive, but they seem to have picked up again lately. Do you like Joan Medlicott?

Lesa said...

Marce, If you like that kind of description, you need to start with the first in the series, although they could all stand alone. I'd go with Deeper Than the Dead to begin.

Lesa said...

Rosemary,

I follow the lads from Celtic Thunder on Twitter, so I knew about your winds, sleet and rain. Nasty weather you had yesterday. So, you were reading about Alaska in the middle of your own storms?

I've never gotten around to Joan Medlicott, although I introduced my mother to her books, and she really likes them. Just haven't taken the time.

Rosemary said...

Lesa, I think you fill your time pretty well! I have the opposite thing with my mother - I like all the 'cosies' and she can't stand them - loves all the blood and guts stuff. Shortly after my father died - over 40 years ago now - she stayed up late watching Psycho in our creaky old house; I still haven't watched it...

Lesa said...

I'll read a little of everything, Rosemary. But, I certainly wouldn't watch Psycho by myself in a creaky old house. I don't blame you for not watching it! And, I love it when people dont' fit the mold, and unexpected people love blood and guts, or men at the library love the romances. I think it's great they've found something they like to read, no matter what it is.

caite said...

You liked this one more than I did. For me, it was my least favorite of a series that I really like.

my review...http://caitesdayatthebeach.blogspot.com/2011/12/review-of-down-darkest-road.html

Lesa said...

Thanks, Caite. I'm heading off to read your review now.

Karen C said...

I enjoy Tami's writing but confess I haven't started this series yet. I'm going to have to go in hiding to make a dent in my TBR list!

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Kris Meyer said...

I've always enjoyed this author but haven't read something of hers for awhile. Sounds like I need to get back to it!