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Down the Darkest Road Hardcover – December 27, 2011

313 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Before her daughter, Leslie, then 16, was abducted four years ago, Lauren Lawton had been a lovely woman. But with no assailant or body ever recovered, she has devoted all her energy to trying to keep Leslie’s case in the headlines while simultaneously not neglecting her younger daughter, Leah, now nearly 16 herself. In an apparent attempt to make a clean start, Lauren and Leah leave Santa Barbara and head to the fictional Oak Knoll, a high-end pastoral retreat in the foothills. How is it, though, that Ronald Ballencoa, the monster whom Lauren is convinced took and probably murdered her daughter, also now resides in Oak Knoll? Lauren’s obsession with Ballencoa is well known to and mostly disregarded by law enforcement in many local jurisdictions, but new-on-the-scene Deputy Mendez doesn’t dismiss Lauren’s pleas and hopes to be the one to finally bring some closure to the fractured family. Mendez, a protégé of legendary profiler Vince Leone (star of many Hoag thrillers), teams up with the feisty Danni Tanner, the original detective on the case (sparks fly between these two). Hoag takes obvious pleasure in keeping her setting circa 1990, before DNA technology had advanced to where it is today and before mobile communications rendered many otherwise tense situations easy-breezy. The setting and her consummate skill as a plotter add to plenty of old-school thrills that pack a punch and will leave fans breathless. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Hoag is on a remarkable streak: since 1995, she has written 30 books, and all 30 have appeared on the New York Times best-seller list. Her publisher will be doing everything in their marketing power to ensure that the streak hits 31. --Mary Frances Wilkens


The latest chiller from Tami Hoag is a winner. GOOD HOUSEKEEPING 20120201 It's gripping, highly emotional and I would definitely recommend it. ESSENTIALS 20120201 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton (2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 052595239X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525952398
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.6 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (313 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #608,623 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Tami Hoag is the #1 international bestselling author of more than thirty books published in more than thirty languages worldwide, including her latest thrillers--COLD COLD HEART and THE 9TH GIRL. Renowned for combining thrilling plots with character-driven suspense, Hoag first hit the New York Times Bestseller list with NIGHT SINS, and each of her books since has been a bestseller. She leads a double life in Palm Beach County, Florida where she is also known as a top competitive equestrian in the Olympic discipline of dressage. Other interests include the study of psychology, and mixed martial arts fighting. A woman of eclectic tastes, to say the least, Tami was recently asked to list seven things people may not know about about her: 1. I was once offered a job by a private investigator. 2. I have a license to carry concealed weapon, but never do. I took the course for research purposes. 3. My high school guidance counselor encouraged me to become an actress, but I thought that was too impractical (Of course, there's nothing practical about being a writer, either, but at least I'm not obligated to look good on a daily basis.) 4. I used to sing at weddings. 5. While I have no intention of ever getting married again, I love watching Say Yes To The Dress 6. I have legitimate knockout power in my right hand, and I'm not afraid to use it. 7. When I'm stressed out, all tech devices around me go haywire. I've stopped watches, and fried hard drives. I once killed a television in a store display by merely touching it. I'm better off sticking to life's simple pleasures--like books!

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 46 people found the following review helpful By R. Lane on December 27, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Imagine having your sixteen-year old daughter abducted; disappear without knowing if or where she's alive. Imagine knowing who took her and not being able to do anything about it! This is the situation Lauren Lawton finds herself in for the last four years.

The Lawton family was once a happy family of four, husband and wife, with two daughters: Leslie and Leah, living a charmed life in Santa Barbara, California. Leslie being abducted has destroyed that. Lance, Lauren's husband couldn't take the pain of losing Leslie, and in a tragic accident, he drove off a mountain road two years after Leslie's disappearance. For the last four years, Lauren's main focus in life is finding a way to make the man responsible, Roland Ballencoa pay. Needing a change in scenery for both her and Leah, Lauren decides to leave Santa Barbara and move to a small college town north, Oak Knoll. This all seems to be working out well until Lauren thinks she sees Roland in Oak Knoll, at the grocery store! Has he followed them up there or is her mind, tired from grief and lack of sleep, playing tricks on her? Lauren drops everything and pursues him out of the parking lot to see if it's really him. This captures the attention of Detective Tony Mendez, whom we've already met in the past two books. He pulls Lauren over for her erratic driving. When Tony finds out whom Lauren is and who she thinks she's seen he goes to work finding out more about this case. Tony wants to know if this child predator has moved into his backyard, and what his plans are. Also, if there is a female around in distress, Tony is there to save the day (can I have a Tony, please?)!

This story is set in the same universe as Tami Hoag's previous novels Deeper than the Dead and Secrets to the Grave (Oak Knoll, #2).
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful By DocG on December 29, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
While I found the first two Oak Knoll books to be great reads I was
somewhat disappointed in the characters in this one. There was no
development of the Hewitt character and I was unsure of why he was
even needed, as he seemed an afterthought. I also was disappointed
in the fact that the cutting done by the daughter was never resolved.
I did enjoy catching up with Anne and her family and to see where
Mendez may be heading. If there is another one in this series, I will
probably read it, but I still feel that the author rushed this one.
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36 of 43 people found the following review helpful By ice cream lover on December 27, 2011
Format: Hardcover
great book! it's not every writer who can create a page-turning, nail-biting, mind-blowing story without leaving a trail of bloody corpses or gory fright-fests in every chapter. this book feels real and that's what makes it so scary and disturbing. the mother is both horrible and heroic, and the combination is fascinating. this would make for a great 'what would you do if you were in her shoes?' discussion! hoag is always a winner and this is no exception. make it a movie!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jazzyc on March 18, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I'm an avid tami hoag fan and have read all of her triller books, the first of which that got me hooked on her writing being Guilty as Sin. Since then she has been on my must read list. I purchase the minute her latest release comes out without a second thought. Usually I enjoy all of her books. This time however I was left very disappointed. Too much time was spent on Lauren Lawton feeling sorry for the situation she was in that I could not feel sympathetic towards her. Her characteriztion was just flat and I don't know if this was intentional or not. The plot was too predictable because I knew without even skimming to the end where the twist in the story was going. It was just that obvious. I also felt too much time was harped on about the technology advances they were hoping would occur in the near future. It got a tad bit annoying hearing the characters say that over and over rather than just focus on the present day. It seemed forced upon too much in the dialogue. The issue with Leah's character was also never fully addressed and just seemed to be thrown in there. The story sort of dragged on only for the ending to be rushed. All in all it was just a predictable okayish read and i expect so much more from one of my fav authors.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Etana on May 23, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This author has chosen a heartwrenching subject, namely the kidnapping and killing of the protagonist's young daughter. Ms Hoag describes vividly the mother's devastation, including her fears for and need to protect a second daughter from the killer who is still at large. Also described is the blindness of our legal system. However, in an attempt to describe the suspected man, the author clutters page after page with direct quotations of the pervert's profanity. Why? It's unnecessary and ruins the whole effect. The sense of commiseration and tenderness that the author engenders at the beginning fizzles out, and the reader is left with pornography literature. What a shame.

Ms. Hoag can benefit from studying ROOM, by Emma Donaghue, where a similar tragedy is described in much more even diction.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Pat Fordyce on January 25, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I had a hard time when starting this novel, seemed like so much sadness, anger, and fear. I am a staunch Tami Hoag fan, so I wouldn't give it up. WOW. It picks up and never stops until the last page. We meet Lauren a very sad, broken, fearful woman, who has lost her daughter. Her husband's suicide haunts her, and she has such fear for her youngest child, it is like living in a jail cell. She feels such anger at her deceased husband, I felt, rightly so, since he took the cowards way out and left her to carry the burden on her own. She has moved to a new town to try and start over....or has she? The twists and turns of this story kept me riveted. Plus, the bonus of hearing how Anne and Vince are doing from her previous novel. I find it difficult to not give "spoilers" , it's just one of those novels you want to talk about! Hopefully, Ms. Hoag's next novel will tell us how Detectives Mendez and Tanner are doing! I would have given this book five stars, but I have to admit I had some dreams about child abduction, more like nightmares! I would definitely give the novel 4 1/2 Stars if I could!
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