DUST TO DUST by Tami Hoag

DUST TO DUST

Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

A gay cop is found hanged. Was it suicide, murder, or kinky sex gone wrong? Street-smart Minneapolis police detectives Sam Kovac and Nikki Liska, back on the beat after Ashes to Ashes (1999), learn a lot about autoerotic asphyxiation while trying to crack the case.

Sam and Nikki remain tough but likable protagonists as they investigate a long list of possible suspects: the victim’s alcoholic father, a partially paralyzed cop; a jealous older brother with a taste for violence; a mysterious blond socialite of amazing strength; a hero cop turned crime-show host; and so on. But the detectives also view a home video unwittingly left to posterity by a hapless devotee of self-stimulation through suffocation that suggests the possibility of accidental death. (The author points out, somewhat in the style of a public-service announcement, that many teenage suicides by hanging may well be experimentation of this kind gone tragically wrong.) Unlike the sadistic sexual practices on display in Ashes to Ashes, this particular perversion is more pathetic than titillating, although Hoag tries hard to crank up the suspense. Energetic, down-to-earth prose and realistically gritty dialogue help push the workmanlike plot to its complex conclusion, but a notepad and pencil may come in handy to remember who shot whom, when, and why. Unfortunately, the author has chosen to write about a milieu with which she is clearly unfamiliar: urban gay life (here, exclusively male). Not wanting to offend or get too far into the seamier side of gay culture, Hoag settles for bland political correctness and a balanced ratio of 50 percent good gay guys to 50 percent bad gay guys. In dramatic terms, they cancel each other out, and none of them is particularly believable. For all the double-crosses, dire threats, and crashing around with guns, the story just isn’t thrilling or chilling. But it does move—and fast.

Clear directions, but don’t try the rope trick at home.

Pub Date: Aug. 8th, 2000
ISBN: 0-553-10634-1
Page count: 368pp
Publisher: Bantam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 2000




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 >

MORE BY TAMI HOAG

FictionTHE BITTER SEASON by Tami Hoag
by Tami Hoag
FictionCOLD COLD HEART by Tami Hoag
by Tami Hoag
FictionDOWN THE DARKEST ROAD by Tami Hoag
by Tami Hoag