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Deeper Than the Dead

Cover of Deeper Than the Dead

Deeper Than the Dead

Oak Knoll Series, Book 1
by Tami Hoag
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A serial killer terrorizes a small California town in this gripping thriller from #1 New York Times bestselling author Tami Hoag.
California, 1985—Four children and young teacher Anne Navarre make a gruesome discovery: a partially buried female body, her eyes and mouth glued shut. A serial killer is at large, and the very bonds that hold their idyllic town together are about to be tested to the breaking point.
Tasked with finding the killer, FBI investigator Vince Leone employs a new and controversial FBI technique called "profiling," which plunges him into the lives of the four children—and the young teacher whose need to uncover the truth is as intense as his own.
But as new victims are found and pressure from the media grows, Vince and Anne find themselves circling the same small group of local suspects, unsure if those who suffer most are the victims themselves—or those close to the killer, blissfully unaware that someone very near to them is a murderous psychopath...


From the Paperback edition.

A serial killer terrorizes a small California town in this gripping thriller from #1 New York Times bestselling author Tami Hoag.
California, 1985—Four children and young teacher Anne Navarre make a gruesome discovery: a partially buried female body, her eyes and mouth glued shut. A serial killer is at large, and the very bonds that hold their idyllic town together are about to be tested to the breaking point.
Tasked with finding the killer, FBI investigator Vince Leone employs a new and controversial FBI technique called "profiling," which plunges him into the lives of the four children—and the young teacher whose need to uncover the truth is as intense as his own.
But as new victims are found and pressure from the media grows, Vince and Anne find themselves circling the same small group of local suspects, unsure if those who suffer most are the victims themselves—or those close to the killer, blissfully unaware that someone very near to them is a murderous psychopath...


From the Paperback edition.
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  • From the book Featured iPhone App Excerpt

    1

    My Hero

    My hero is my dad. He is a great person. He workshard, is nice to everyone, and tries to help people.

    His victim would have screamed if she could have. He had seen toit she could not open her mouth. There would have been terror in hereyes. He had made certain she could not open them. He had renderedher blind and mute, making her the perfect woman. Beautiful. Seenand not heard. Obedient. He had immobilized her so she could notfight him.

    Sometimes he helps me with my homework becausehe is good at math and science. Sometimes weplay catch in the backyard, which is really funand cool. But he is very busy. He works very hard.

    Her uncontrollable trembling and the sweat that ran down the sidesof her face showed her terror. He had locked her inside the prison ofher own body and mind, and there would be no escape.

    The cords stood out in her neck as she strained against the bindings.Sweat and blood ran in thin rivulets down the slopes of her small,round breasts.

    My dad tells me no matter what I should alwaysbe polite and respect people. I should treat otherpeople the way I would like to be treated.

    She had to respect him now. She had no choice. The power was allhis. In this game, he always won. He had stripped away all of her pretense,the mask of beauty, to reveal the plain raw truth: that she wasnothing and he was God.

    It was important for her to know that before he killed her.

    My dad is a very important man in the community.

    It was important that she had the time to reflect on that truth. Becauseof that, he wouldn't kill her just yet. Besides, he didn't have thetime.

    My dad. My hero.

    It was nearly three o'clock. He had to go pick up his child fromschool.


    2
    Five Days Later
    Tuesday, October 8, 1985

    "You suck, Crane."

    Tommy Crane sighed and stared straight ahead.

    Dennis Farman leaned over from his desk, right across from Tommy's,his fat face screwed up into what he probably thought was a reallytough look.

    Tommy tried to tell himself it was just a stupid look. Asinine. Thatwas his new word of the week. Asinine: marked by inexcusable failureto exercise intelligence or sound judgment. Definition number two: of,relating to, or resembling an ass.

    That was Dennis, all the way around.

    He tried not to think about the fact that Dennis Farman was biggerthan he was, a whole year older than he was, and just plain mean."You suck donkey dicks," Farman said, laughing to himself like hethought he was brilliant or something.

    Tommy sighed again and looked at the clock on the wall above thedoor. Two more minutes.

    Wendy Morgan turned around in her seat and looked at him withfrustration. "Say something, Tommy. Tell him he's a dork."

    "Say something, Tommy,'" Farman parroted, making his voicereally high, like a girl's. "Or let your girlfriend talk for you."

    "He doesn't have a girlfriend," Cody Roache, Farman's scrawnytoady, chimed in. "He's gay. He's gay and she's a lesbo."

    Wendy rolled her eyes. "Shut up, Cockroach. You don't even knowwhat that means."

    "Yes, I do."

    "Because you are."

    Tommy watched the clock tick one minute closer to freedom. Atthe front of the room, Miss Navarre walked back to her desk from thedoor with a yellow note in her hand.

    If someone had tortured him, held fire to his feet, or stuck bambooshoots under his fingernails, he would have had to admit he was kindof in love with Miss Navarre. She was smart and kind, and reallypretty with big brown eyes and dark hair tucked...

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    October 19, 2009
    Bestseller Hoag (Kill the Messenger
    ) ventures into serial killer territory with results sure to please her many fans, though unresolved plot threads, both intentional and inadvertent, may put off veteran readers of the genre. One fall day in 1985 in Oak Knoll, Calif., fifth-grader Tommy Crane and his sidekick, Wendy Morgan, are fleeing the class bully, Dennis Farman, through a local park when Tommy stumbles over the head of a dead woman buried up to her neck. Two hours from Los Angeles, Oak Knoll is not the sort of town where major crime is a problem, but a serial killer is on the loose who's already murdered and tortured several women and has another on deck in his secret lair. Fifth-grade teacher Anne Navarre, who counsels Tommy and Wendy, is soon at the center of the investigation being led by a hunky FBI agent, Vince Leone. This is serial killer lite with Hoag's romance roots dictating both the prose style and the unveiling of the killer. 8-city author tour.

  • Kirkus

    Starred review from November 15, 2009
    Nail-biting thriller about a vicious serial killer with a particularly creepy MO.

    On their way home from school, three fifth-graders take a detour through a neighboring woods and oh, how they'll wish they hadn't. It's a fateful detour with agonizing consequences that will render their lives nightmarish. They stumble on the corpse of a young woman, insanely mistreated, and yet there is method to the madness:"Eyes glued shut. Mouth glued shut. See no evil. Speak no evil." A message certainly, but exactly how to interpret it? The badly shaken ten-year-olds are all pupils in a class taught by Anne Navarre, who comes upon the crime scene a few minutes later. Anne is a young woman with her own firsthand experience of childhood trauma, sufficiently hurtful to make her instantly empathic. She cares deeply about her students, senses the possibility of long-term damage and, wanting only to help, finds herself contending with entrenched parental obtuseness. Enter Vince Leone, an FBI profiler dispatched from Washington who soon enough will also be caring deeply—for Anne. Meanwhile, the local cops plus Vince have come to realize that whatever fixed idea the"See-No-Evil Killer" is possessed by, he has now proclaimed it at least three times. Clearly, they have a sociopath on their hands, one of the self-anointed brilliant kind who gets off on playing catch-me-if-you-can with slow-witted, outclassed cops. The investigation intensifies, the suspect list narrows, but fear grips the quiet California community of Oak Knoll, 20,000 people no longer convinced that"things like this don't happen here."

    Once again, bestselling Hoag (The Alibi Man, 2007, etc.) plots craftily and creates characters readers root for.

    (COPYRIGHT (2009) KIRKUS REVIEWS/NIELSEN BUSINESS MEDIA, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.)

  • Library Journal

    December 15, 2009
    In Hoag's newest thriller (after "The Alibi Man"), the year is 1985; DNA evidence and the Internet are distant glimmers on the horizon. In a sleepy California suburb, four children stumble across the body of a dead woman in the park. Young hotshot detective Tony Mendez is convinced the woman is the third victim of a serial killer and solicits the FBI. His call reaches the ears of Vince Leone, a pioneer in profiling, just returning from medical leave. The children's discovery also draws teacher Anne Navarre into the mystery. Once the team is in place, the race is on to find the killer before he strikes again. VERDICT Though it has all the elements of a serial killer thriller, Hoag's latest is really a "family thriller." Intertwining the effects of the crime on her characters, the attempt is satisfactory. Also recommended for those who enjoyed Tana French's "In the Woods".Jane Jorgenson, Madison P.L., WI

    Copyright 2009 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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Tami Hoag
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