Review Blog

Jan 26 2016

The bitter season by Tami Hoag

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Kovac and Liska, bk 5. Orion Books, 2016. ISBN 9781409151999
(Age: Adult - 16+) Recommended. Detectives. Murder. Kovac and Liska return in this chilling murder mystery. Nikki Liska has moved to the cold case squad, in the hope that the transfer will give her more time to spend with her two sons. Kovak has a new young detective, who he has to train. Then Liska's cold case, involving the murder of a sex crimes detective 20 years earlier, intersects with a gory killing of a university professor and his wife that Kovak is investigating, and both have to use all their skills to solve the murders and evade danger.
In a gripping story Hoag has intertwined the two cases in a way that keeps the suspense at a high level. She also introduces a young woman, Evi Burke, who was in and out of foster homes as a child and who has managed to drag herself off the streets, marry and have the life that she could only dream of when she was a child. Her back story and the danger from the past that is stalking her is compelling reading.
Hoag's characters are fully realised: The way that Liska's manages her ex-husband behaving like a teen, her love for her two boys and the stresses of being a single parent, give a depth to her personality. Foster homes and foster children are also a theme for Hoag, and the fact that Evi has managed to put her past behind her makes for an involving story. Kovak too is at his best, putting the young detective through his paces.
Although the 5th in the series, this can be read as a stand-alone novel, and readers new to the series will probably want to go back and read other stories with these two detectives.
Not for the faint hearted, The bitter season is an intense and gripping read, with enough twists and turns to keep the reader guessing to the end.
Pat Pledger

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