"Kovac had seen more dead bodies than he could count: men, women, children; victims of shootings, stabbings, strangulations, beatings; fresh corpses and bodies that had been left for days in the trunks of cars in the dead of summer. But he had never seen anything quite like this...."
On a frigid New Year’s Eve in Minneapolis, a young woman’s brutalized body falls from the trunk of a car into the path of oncoming traffic. Questions as to whether she was alive or dead when she hit the icy pavement result in her macabre nickname, Zombie Doe. Unidentified and unidentifiable, she is the ninth nameless female victim of the year, and homicide detectives Sam Kovac and Nikki Liska are charged with the task of not only finding out who Zombie Doe is but who in her life hated her enough to destroy her. Was it personal? Or could it just have been a crime of opportunity? Their greatest fear is that not only is she their ninth Jane Doe of the year but that she may be the ninth victim of a vicious, transient serial killer they have come to call Doc Holiday. Crisscrossing America’s heartland, Doc Holiday chooses his victims at random, snatching them in one city and leaving them in another, always on a holiday. If Zombie Doe is one of his victims, he has brought his gruesome game to a new and more terrifying level. But as Kovac and Liska begin to uncover the truth, they will find that the monsters in their ninth girl’s life may have lived closer to home. And even as another young woman disappears, they have to ask the question: Which is the greater evil - the devil you know or the devil you don’t?
©2013 Tami Hoag (P)2013 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
I like mysteries (particularly British ones, historical fiction and nonfiction, science fiction and fantasy.
Zombie Doe, a young girl who had been tortured and was dead or nearly dead by New Years Eve, is thrown from the trunk of a dark sedan into the path of a party limousine. If she wasn't dead before she certainly was after she fell into a snarl of holiday traffic. Thus begins another of the Nikki and Sam serial killer adventures set in midwinter Minnesota.
Pros: Hoag is a competent writer so I don't regret buying and listening to this novel.
Cons: This is a narrator that I am not familiar with and I don't particularly care for his reading style. His female voices are particularly annoying.
The characters are lacking in development. I really had no emotional attachment to the kids (and Hoag generally does kids well) or to any of the victims. Usually there is a bit of ambiguity about the adult characters in her previous books leading to suspense, but it was clear right off who the bad guys were.
I also think that Hoag made a mistake making this a "message" story. There was a theme involving bullying in high school that sometimes had me skipping pages. I would cheerfully have turned most of the kids over to the serial killer. Georges St. Pierre got mentioned a lot and I finally broke down and googled him while writing this.
I missed the Sam and Tinks' (Nikki) cohesiveness as a Homicide partnership present in most of the other books. Tinks and Sam both seemed tired. The numerous references to the daughter that Sam gave up to his ex-wife as a infant made me wonder if this was foreshadowing a future book.
I don't regret the time I spent reading this book, but I'm certainly not going to reread it like I have many of her prior suspense novels.
I'm a cheese maker who spends a good part of the day doing repetitive chores that can be made downright enjoyable by a good audio book.
I suppose there is some demand for a book about a tough-but-gentle mom/cop who loves her children but hates people who mutilate and murder innocent-but-misunderstood teenage girls, but I didn't realize I was contributing to it when I plunked down my credit towards this supposed mystery/suspense/thriller.
I'm frankly baffled by the good reviews this book has gotten, so I assume there is an appetite for these ingredients:
1: A corpse nicknamed Zombie Doe by the Minneapolis Police Force, because she looked like a zombie bouncing out of the trunk of a speeding car.
2: A curmudgeonly cop with an estranged daughter about the same age as Zombie Doe and a penchant for introspection.
3: A conflicted female cop who frets she works too hard and long for society at the expense of her fractured family
4: A conflicted female cop's teenaged son who thinks his mother works too long and hard at his expense, but shows real grit in the face of bullying and makes his mother proud because he's actually a great kid even if he's a free thinker and not one of the popular kids.
5: A self-centered mother of a troubled teen-aged girl who cares more about herself than her daughter (Imagine how that's going to end up!).
6: A diabolical serial killer.
7: A psychologist with a weakness for troubled teenaged girls and their mothers.
The recipe this book seems to follow is to combine these ingredients (along with a pinch of schmaltz and maybe a dash of self-righteousness ) and just shake and serve.
More predictable than mysterious, and more pedantic than suspenseful, this audiobook was about as thrilling as a Public Service Announcement.
I am a Tami Hoag fan. Read most of her novels and really looked forward to her latest. What a disappointment! can't believe she wrote this novel that seemed to me to be a poor summer read. no intrigue, character study, or personal relationships trials and tribulations. the narrator was a sleeper, who had a metronome cadence that put me to sleep. I tried but could not finish this book. Tami what happened???
The book was incredibly boring, especially in the beginning. Long, lengthy descriptions, "pages and pages" that did not advance the plot at all. Might have worked better reading as a book so I could skip pages - hard to do with a "book on tape".
I almost bailed on this book numerous times. Ultimately the last quarter of the book was pretty good.
Haven't read anything by Tami Hoag in quite awhile and I remember now why I enjoy her books so much. This one starts out so gruesome I almost put it down, glad I didn't. Great plot along with terrific characters makes for one superb read. You won't be disappointed.
Great character study
One of the poems the deceased wrote was heartbreaking
At the auditorium
Bullying at its Best (Or Worse)!
I am a middle and high school teacher and would love for all parents and teens to read this book. I've never seen such accurate, spot on descriptions of teen behaviors WITH reasons why, as I've read in this book. Ms Hoag gets right inside their heads and hearts of kids today. Although this was a good mystery with twists and turns that kept it interesting, I really was impressed with her teen characters and their behaviors and reasons for them. Bullying, secrets, being different, trying to fit in-all struggles for kids today. I liked it because it was a good mystery but I think mothers and fathers of teens would learn something from it too-namely what is going on in their child's world today which is far different than theirs! (By the way, schools would never use this book because of "gasp" some sexual content inferred, but never described)
I would advise listeners not to give up on this story. It appears to be a little confusing in the beginning with an inference of being a story about a 'zombie.' But, it is not. It took me several chapters to really get a grasp of the storyline. But when I did, I found it to be very interesting. The people involved seemed to be very real and ones that were truly identifiable. I found myself thinking, 'I know people like this.' Unfortunately, toward the end, it became a little too graphic for my taste; but I enjoyed this book.
I am someone who enjoys audible books very much now that they exist. As a young student (real young) I can remember a teacher telling me how books can transport people to different places & open up a whole new world. This is how listening to audible books make me feel. Now if I can just stop falling asleep while listening to them at night I would be fine. Ha ha
This is the first book I have read in the Tami Hoag series & I so enjoyed it for a number of reasons. First the story line is very good. It is filled with mystery, intrigue & not over the top with continuous gore. I just couldn't put this book down & I was glad my car was in the shop for 5 days so I could keep listening day & night. Second, the characters are so together & interesting & true to life & the twist & turns in the story only add to the unexpected suspense. Three, I especially appreciate a book where I can honestly learn something from the text & this book filled that void very well. It reminded me of the old 'Cat Who Murder Mysteries', by Lillian Braun. Four, the narration itself by David Collacci was worth the listen & was excellent. He made me want to become a narrator - go figure. But there was more than just reading the book, I felt like I was watching a live play on stage with so much talented verbal input. Five, but what was so neat was the wonderful humor cast throughout the book itself. I was glad there was no one around to hear me laughing out loud. When I find a book that can do that without destroying the main jest of the book I am in seventh heaven. I give this book a big Kudo & will be looking for more from this author. To me it had it all.
P. S. And even though I have a recent Masters degree in Psychology there was l lot to chew on regarding how teenages think, act & feel today. Make that a number six reason i enjoyed this book..
Myst/thrillers and ✨fun fantasies✨are my favorites but always open for a good story.
Sam Kovac and Nikki Lyska make a great detective team, Kovak is an old school, loaner, sleuth and Syska is a younger, divorced mother of two. Both are flawed but their flaws only add to their charm, they fit together and offset each other at the same time. Tami Hoag did an outstanding job of making this a stand alone book while keeping it intriguing enough to make me want to start with the first book in the series. The relatability of the characters and the crisscrossing threads of the mystery, helped to keep the pace up and the story interesting.
There is a zombie girl, a serial killer and a kidnapping. What more could you want from an entertaining crime thriller. David Colacci always dose a fabulous job narrating, his voice is perfect for Kovac and even added to Lyska's personality.
What a wide range of reviews!
Not having read this author before, I am glad I didn't just stop at the first three or four reviews for I liked this book. I am thrilled I took a chance.
It's a police story that I found somewhat believable. It's tough being a working mother, especially of teenagers. I found this to be very realistic of that without being too whinny. Very plausible. The story was engaging in a way that kept my attention to the bitter end. I am looking forward to reading more of the author's work.
The narrator did a decent job - I don't get the beef.
"one of hoag's best"
This is definitely one of Hoag's best! The characters are rich, the plot develops like a finely tuned roller-coaster, and the end is super. It catches the reader in the beginning and doesn't let go until the last page.Detective parters Liska and Kovac are well-paired. Liska is believable and real as an experienced homicide cop who is also the mother of two teenage sons. She has mothering skills we can all identify with, and Kovac works so well with her, we love them together. Loved the investigation, the plot, and how Hoag wrapped it all up.
"Excellent all round!"
Thoroughly enjoyed all aspects of this - great story that is faced paced from the off, lots of twists and turns, a good solid plot and characters that are believable and enjoyable.
Great narrator, good non-irritating voice and a good performance of different characters.
Would recommend this book to anyone that likes crime novels.
The story was ok, but it seemed to be all about unruly teenagers and their intolerable behaviour. Maybe American youngsters behave this badly - but I found it boring and unacceptable. I found the whole thing tedious in parts, but I did manage to get to the end of it. Not my cup of tea at all!
My first introduction to Tami Hoag was 'the 1st Victim' an interlinked short story that is set shortly before this book begins. I thought that was excellent and wondered if Tami Hoag could keep up such excellent characterisation and plotlines for a full length novel. Well she can! Having been disappointed by the most recent audiobooks of my old favourites Karin Slaughter, Tess Gerritsen and Harlan Coben it has been great to discover another American crime writer to keep me listening! I loved the characters of Kovac and Liska and found myself completely immersed in their world and in a Minneapolis winter.
"Run of the mill thriller"
A young girl's body is thrown from a car boot on New Year's Eve, the police are finding it hard to trace her identity, so she earns the nickname Zombie Doe, due to the acid burning she suffered.
The police officer in charge is struggling with home versus work life, feeling she is letting her kids down. Her eldest has problems of his own with bullying at school. Could Zombie Doe be one of the bullied kids?
"Not as good as I expected"
This was a slow starter for me and I very nearly gave up within half an hour. The narrator's voice just irritated me, it was so slow and tortuous, and I just couldn't enjoy the story. Then I tried speeding it up to 1.5 and it improved a lot! I was able to set the narrator to one side and enjoy the story.
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