Friday, July 19, 2013

The 9th Girl by Tami Hoag

On a frigid New Year’s Eve in Minneapolis, the driver of a rented limo is so distracted by the half-drunk and half-dressed bachelorette party taking place behind him, he’s not paying attention to the road—until a grotesque bloodied figure, with a half-melted face, tumbles from the trunk of the car ahead of him. He screeches the brakes, but too late—the limo plows into the disfigured body soon to be known in sensationalist headlines as Zombie Doe. In the ensuing chaos, the vehicle she fell from disappears.

Is Zombie Doe the ninth victim and first slip-up of a serial killer known as Doc Holiday, who’s been hunting across the Midwest but so far left no trace? Or do the differences in the murders mean that a second mad killer is on the loose, maybe one with a more personal grudge? Detectives Sam Kovac and Nikki Liska must identify her, and fast.

I expected The 9th Girl to be cheesy, slick, and shallow because of the packaging and the “Zombie Doe” angle, but it’s a readable, solidly plotted thriller, with a common theme well-threaded through the plot and subplots, and distinctive and largely believable characters. There was a focus on relationships between mothers and teenaged children from various angles that I enjoyed, and enough twists and tension to keep the pages turning quickly throughout. 

This book can stand alone, but it is the fourth book Tami Hoag’s Kovac & Liska series.
  1.  Ashes to Ashes
  2.  Dust to Dust
  3.  Prior Bad Acts 
  4.  The 9th Girl

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