ASHES TO ASHES by Tami Hoag

ASHES TO ASHES

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Hoag continues to exploit the theme of mutilated women (A Thin Dark Line, 1997, etc.) in a romance thriller about the hunt for a serial killer. Someone in Minneapolis is tying down women, then raping, torturing, and killing them. While they’re still alive, the attacker sticks knives into the soles of their feet, then cuts off their nipples and aureoles. After they die, he stabs them in a ritual pattern, slices off their tattoos, and burns their bodies beyond recognition; to relive his moments of triumph, he audiotapes their screams for mercy and death. He’s the “Cremator”: just another “sadistic sexual serial killer” with low self-esteem and an abused childhood behind him. His first two victims are prostitutes, but when he turns his hand to Jillian Bondurant, the daughter of a billionaire, Minnesota calls in FBI agent John Quinn, world-famous expert on serial killers and related ilk. In the Twin Cities, Quinn is reunited with his ex-lover Kate Conlan, a former FBI expert in violent crime and the only woman he could ever really love. After the death of her daughter and a bitter divorce, Kate has moved to Minnesota and become a victim- and witness- advocate. In that capacity, she’s assigned to watch over Angie DiMarco, a runaway teenager who spied the Cremator while she was turning a trick in the park. As lots of tawdry details are dug up about Jillian (incest, etc.), the killer tortures and murders another woman, kills a small dog (in romance, always a sign of irredeemable evil), then begins to plot against Kate herself. Hoag’s strong dose of S&M resolves in fire, blood, stabbings, and Kate spread-eagled on a table. Though Hoag grows more and more adept at juggling a complex plot, her sort of violent entertainment isn—t for everyone.

Pub Date: March 9th, 1999
ISBN: 0-553-10633-3
Page count: 496pp
Publisher: Bantam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 1999




Kirkus Interview
Tami Hoag
January 15, 2016

In Tami Hoag’s latest thriller The Bitter Season, 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 distracted by an especially brutal double homicide: a middle-aged husband and wife bludgeoned to death in their home. 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. “This tense psychological thriller shows Hoag at the top of her game,” our reviewer writes. View video >

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