A Thousand Steps

A Thousand Steps
A Thousand Steps by T. Jefferson Parker

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The Bitter Season by Tami Hoag- Feature and Review


#1  New York Times Bestselling author Tami Hoag returns to the bestselling series of her career with a Kovac and Liska case that will delight fans and new readers alike.

A murder from the past. A murder from the present. And a life that was never meant to be... As the dreary, bitter weather of late fall descends on Minneapolis, Detective Nikki Liska is restless. After moving to the cold case squad in order to spend more time with her sons, she misses the rush of pulling an all-nighter, the sense of urgency of hunting a murderer on the loose. Most of all she misses her old partner, Sam Kovac.

Sam is having an even harder time adjusting to Nikki's absence, saddled with a green new partner younger than pieces of Sam's wardrobe. Sam is distracted from his troubles by an especially brutal double homicide: a middle-aged husband and wife bludgeoned and hacked to death in their home with a ceremonial Japanese samurai sword. Nikki's case, the unsolved murder of a family man, community leader, and decorated sex crimes detective for the Minneapolis PD, is less of a distraction: Twenty years later, there is little hope for finding the killer who got away.

On the other end of the spectrum, Minneapolis resident Evi Burke has a life she only dreamed of as a kid in and out of foster homes: a beautiful home, a family, people who love her, a fulfilling job. Little does she know that a danger from her past is stalking her perfect present. A danger powerful enough to pull in both Kovac and Liska and destroy the perfect life she was never meant to have.


The Bitter Season (Kovac and Liska, #5)The Bitter Season by Tami Hoag
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Bitter Season by Tami Hoag is a 2016 Dutton Books publication.

Back before everyone was trying to write the next “Gone Girl”, Tami Hoag was pumping out solid romantic suspense novels and edge of your seat thrillers. She has found a nice solid niche with her own brand of psychological thriller, in the Kovac and Liska series, this being the fifth installment.

Tami Hoag has always been one my ‘go to’ authors and I do make every effort possible to read every single one of her novels. This book, like all the others before it, drew me in immediately, and for the most part held my undivided attention from start to finish.

For those who have followed this series, you will find some things have changed just a bit, as
Liska joins the newly minted cold case squad, and Kovac is breaking in a new partner. But, never fear, the dynamic duo will soon find their paths crossing once more, in this dark, lurid, tale of suspense and mystery.

“Thou hast spoken right, ‘tis true. The wheel is come full circle…” from King Lear- William Shakespeare

Liska’s first assignment in the cold case squad is to solve a twenty-five-year old murder in which a sex crimes officer was killed while chopping wood at his family home. Naturally, with his line of work, he had enemies, but as Liska begins taking a closer look at the man’s family, friends and neighbors, she hits a nerve… or two.

Meanwhile, a much despised college professor and his wife are brutally murdered in their posh home, and Kovac is once more in the spotlight as the lead detective.

“If there’s one thing I can assure you about working Homicide, it’s that you are going to see some of the most mentally F’d-up family situations you can imagine. After all the years I’ve been doing this job, just when I say I’ve seen everything, somebody comes up with some new and different way to be a sick, perverted wack job. Never judge a family by their address or bank account,” he went on. “And never underestimate the power of the American public to utterly shock and disappoint you.” – Kovac

These words of warning Kovac gives his new partner proved prophetic as this case turned out to be one twisted tale of family dysfunction and abuse, which led to tragic consequences for so many people.

I was spellbound by the cold case more so than the murder of the professor and became annoyed by the intrusion of that part of the story. Of course the two cases are intertwined, and I confess, I literally gasped out loud with shock at the way it all came together. I never saw it coming, and for someone as jaded as I am, that’s saying something.

The only complaint I have is that going into the home stretch the story slowed down to a crawl without anything interesting taking place. There are portions of the book that could have been skipped over which would have helped to keep the timing sharp and the suspense from losing momentum.

However, the wait is worth it in the end, which left me feeling short of breath, and completely stunned. This is a traditional psychological thriller, gritty and dark, and disturbing, as it should be, but also emotional and sad, with a realistic conclusion, that left me feeling unsettled and maybe even a little melancholy, but happy that the truth was finally revealed, no matter how difficult it was to absorb.

Overall, this is another solid effort by one of my favorite authors.

 4 stars




Tami Hoag is the #1 internationally bestselling author of more than thirty books published in more than thirty languages worldwide, including her latest thrillers—BITTER SEASON, COLD COLD HEART and THE 9TH GIRL. Renowned for combining thrilling plots with character-driven suspense, Hoag first hit the New York Times Bestseller list with NIGHT SINS, and each of her books since has been a bestseller.

She leads a double life in Palm Beach County, Florida where she is also known as a top competitive equestrian in the Olympic discipline of dressage. Other interests include the study of psychology, and mixed martial arts fighting. A woman of eclectic tastes, to say the least, Tami was recently asked to list seven things people may not know about her:

1. I was once offered a job by a private investigator.

2. I have a license to carry concealed weapon, but never do. I took the course for research purposes.

3. My high school guidance counselor encouraged me to become an actress, but I thought that was too impractical (Of course, there's nothing practical about being a writer, either, but at least I'm not obligated to look good on a daily basis.)

4. I used to sing at weddings. 5. While I have no intention of ever getting married again, I love watching "Say Yes To The Dress."

6. I have legitimate knockout power in my right hand, and I'm not afraid to use it.

7. When I'm stressed out, all tech devices around me go haywire. I've stopped watches, and fried hard drives. I once killed a television in a store display by merely touching it. I'm better off sticking to life's simple pleasures--like books

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