Sunday, January 18, 2015

Review: Cold Cold Heart by Tami Hoag

In Tami Hoag's latest standalone thriller, we are introduced to the once beautiful and successful Dana Nolan. She has survived the most horrific ordeal that has claimed the life of countless victims before his serial killer escapades took center stage around the country. But, she is not that woman who killed her attacker, she is the After-Dana. 

Dana moves back to the small town of her youth as she struggles to come to terms with her new self. She suffers from brain damage where her short term memory often fails and she wakens to the face of a monster. Doc Holiday, carved into her face so badly, plastic surgery still won't bring back the face that many have come love during their daily dose of news. Not only does short term memory fail Dana, but she doesn't remember much of her past. Not until a familiar face from her past brings up memories of her long lost best friend.

Enter John Villante Jr. He is back dealing with his past and his own brain injury and PTSD. Wow... did not realize brain injury ran so rampant in this book. Anyway... John is back in the small town along with Dana except he is trying to stay as far away from the limelight as possible. As a teen, he dated one of the most popular girls but he remained on the wrong side of the tracks in every way possible. Not ever being fully accepted amongst peers or even in his own home, John goes to the army in an effort to escape the accusations of killing his then missing girlfriend and creating a life for his self. After surviving Afghanistan he just wants some peace. But if he received one, then we wouldn't have much of a story now would we.

What I love, and have always loved of Hoag's novels, are how detailed and descriptive they are. She doesn't hesitate to introduce us to characters who are survivors and readers would like to survive. Although "after" Dana is a bit brash and flighty, her brain injury allows me to feel bad for her and not shout at her like the woman who always runs, then stumbles, in a horror flick. Her limitations didn't come off as so exhausting. Thank you Tami Hoag!

Tami Hoag also manages to keep you guessing about who's the true killer. There are so many possible or potential killers that I was (and wasn't) surprised when one of them was finally revealed. The only thing I didn't appreciate is the reasoning behind the seven year old murder mystery. It was way too cliche and predictable. While the other red herring was just simply packaged away too simply and quickly with no mystery whatsoever. 

Ultimately, I enjoyed Tami Hoag's Cold, Cold Heart. I have always been a fan of hers and can remember devoting many hours to her other series. It is the ultimate survivor's novel and proves that the will to survive never goes away no matter what life throws at you. Cold, Cold Heart reminds me that no matter what, where there's life, there's hope.   ***

Copy provided by Penguin Group via Netgalley

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