22 March 2016

Review: THE BITTER SEASON, Tami Hoag

  • this edition published 2016
  • source: my local library
  • ISBN 978-0-525-95455-2
  • 408 pages
  • Kovac/Liska #6
  • author website includes an excerpt and some discussion questions
Synopsis (author website)

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.

My Take

We have become used to multi-stranded police procedurals, but with its 3 strands THE BITTER SEASON is just a bit different. Hoag manages to keep the mystery of their convergence alive until almost the very end.

There is another plot line too: Detective Nikki Liska has recently moved into Cold Cases, thinking it will be more of a 9 to 5 job and that she will have more family time with her teenage sons. But she is not sure she has done the right thing - she misses the adrenalin surge of the homicide investigation, as well as her friends in that squad. And to top it all, her first cold case is nearly twenty five years old and focusses on the murder of a high profile cop. There is resentment from a retired cop that she has been given a case that has almost been his life work.

The tension in the second half of the story was very well done.
A good read.
My rating: 4.5

Kovac / Liska series (list from Fantastic Fiction)
1. Ashes to Ashes (1999)
2. Dust to Dust (2000)
3. Prior Bad Acts (2006)
     aka Dead Sky
3.5. The 1st Victim (2013)
4. The 9th Girl (2013)
5. Cold, Cold Heart (2014)
6. The Bitter Season (2016)



Terra Hangen said...

Sounds like a good book, I like cold case investigations and people missing their ex-partner on the force, etc.

Marce said...

I keep looking at Ashes to Ashes on my bookshelf, I think I am just going to download it on my Kindle because I really want to try Tami H. Her books always get my attention.


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