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Prior Bad Acts Hardcover – March 21, 2006

237 customer reviews
Book 3 of 4 in the Kovac/Liska Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. A simple court hearing explodes into a multifaceted case at the start of this stunning meld of thriller and police procedural from bestseller Hoag. Shortly after Minneapolis judge Carey Moore decides that the many "prior bad acts" of accused serial killer Karl Dahl can't be used in his trial, Dahl escapes from jail and someone attacks Moore. Homicide cops Sam Kovac and Nikki Liska, introduced in Ashes to Ashes (1999), are assigned to protect the judge, whom the police hate for her liberal views. Moore's disintegrating marriage and her husband's shady business dealings lead the investigation in new directions, while more murders exacerbate the hunt for Dahl. Hoag, who began her career as a romance writer, has experimented with several mystery subgenres. Here she stands above the competition, creating complex characters who evolve more than those in most thrillers. The breathtaking plot twists are perfectly paced in this compulsive page-turner, which ends on a romantic note. (On sale Mar. 28)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Law-enforcement officials throughout Hennepin County thought they'd have an advocate on the bench when one of their own--former state prosecutor Carey Moore--became a criminal-court judge. Her Honor, however, knows that she will be scrutinized for favoring the prosecution, so she makes sure to rule evenly. But "even" is not the way the D.A.'s office would describe her handling of the case against defendant Karl Dahl. The cops and prosecutors are sure that Dahl is the one who brutally raped and murdered a mother and her two children, but they recognize that the evidence is highly circumstantial. Admitting Dahl's "prior bad acts" into evidence, they argue, would establish a pattern of behavior, whereas Dahl's attorney maintains that the evidence would be prejudicial. When Carey sides with the defense, her decision ignites a series of events that begins with her being brutally attacked. Then Dahl escapes, and homicide detectives Sam Kovak and Nikki Liska give chase. A first-rate thriller with an ending that will knock your socks off. Mary Frances Wilkens
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam (March 21, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553801988
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553801989
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.3 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (237 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #274,153 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

37 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Cheryl Tardif on September 18, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I've been a Tami Hoag fan for years and she has never let me down when I want an enjoyable, fast-paced thrilling read. In Prior Bad Acts she gives you enough twists and turns you'll feel you're on a roller coaster without brakes!

I love Tami's humor and realistic dialogue, and her character development is 4-dimensional. I was `in love' with these characters in Ashes to Ashes, and then Dust to Dust, and am ecstatic that they're back. Sam Kovac and Nikki Liska are awesome protagonists with sizzling chemistry. Hoag has a winning team!

Prior Bad Acts is one of my favorites and if you're new to Tami's novels, I highly recommend you pick up a copy, curl up in a chair with the doors locked and settle in for a suspenseful ride. She really knows how to tell a good story! Kudos, Tami!

~ Cheryl Kaye Tardif
Author of Divine Intervention
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By SDRTX on April 17, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Detectives Sam Kovac and Nikki Liska from DUST TO DUST are back for an encore peformance. This time their investigation involves one of Minneapolis's most grisly crimes, the murder a mother and her two foster children. Judge Carey Moore's decision to disallow suspect's Karl Dahl's prior criminal record has upset many in the community. Judge Moore is mugged in the parking garage and later threatened. To make matters worse Karl Dahl escaped from prison. Now Kovac and Liska must find Dahl , protect Judge Moore and apprehend a rogue cop while continuing their on-going investigation of the Haas case.

Hoag delivers a standard crime thriller, but with engaging characters and a well-paced plot. A couple of warnings-leave enough time to read it and the violence is rather graphic. Weak stomachs beware.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By E. Bukowsky HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 8, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Tami Hoag's "Prior Bad Acts" features Minnesota Judge Carey Moore, a beleaguered woman who is on the firing line both personally and professionally. Moore's controversial decision to exclude murder suspect Karl Dahl's "prior bad acts" from being admitted as evidence makes her a pariah among police, prosecutors, and the public. Dahl allegedly tortured and murdered a woman named Marlene Haas along with her two foster children. On the home front, Carey and her husband, David, have become increasingly distant from one another. They barely communicate and would have nothing in common if not for their little girl, Lucy, whom they both adore.

Soon after her unpopular ruling, Judge Moore is beaten up in a parking garage, and it is clear that someone wants her dead. Could her assailant be a mentally disturbed detective named Stan Dempsey who has become obsessed with bringing Karl Dahl to justice? Or is it possible that Marlene's husband, Wayne, or her stepson, Bobby, want to punish the judge for her leniency towards the defendant? The judge's most enthusiastic protector is Detective Sam Kovac, a tough and irreverent cop who often comes close to stepping over the line when interviewing suspects. Surprisingly, Sam finds it increasingly difficult to keep his professional distance from Moore, who is both vulnerable and very attractive.

"Prior Bad Acts" has a teeming and sometimes overwrought plot that includes torture, pornography, kidnapping, murder and a plethora of red herrings. Carey Moore is an honorable woman and a sympathetic heroine who doesn't deserve the considerable grief that rains down upon her head, and her increasingly close relationship with Detective Kovac is both touching and realistic. This is a compelling story with sharp dialogue and an action-packed, albeit predictable, ending that will give thriller junkies the adrenaline rush that they have come to expect from Tami Hoag.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Sandra Cariker on September 11, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This is one of the best mysteries I've read in a long time. I love the characters Sam Kovac and Nikki Liska and hope they appear in future Tami Hoag books. Prior Bad Acts was one of those where you aren't sure who the bad guy is until near the end. The book is clear and well written with a superb plot, and I highly recommended it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By boswell on June 19, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Hoag is clearly an author at the top of her game. I find it very impressive when an author who has written alot of highly acclaimed books keeps coming through with books better than before, and this is just such an example. Great characters, great plot, a dynamite ending and excellent dialogue. Everything you'd want in a good suspense/mystery/thriller and more. And the one flaw I've seen in her books (likely coming from the fact that she started as a romance novelist)-- the rather overblown love scenes -- is even gone. This is one of the year's best novels of this genre, and a must read for old or new Hoag enthusiasts.
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31 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Elaine C McTyer VINE VOICE on March 30, 2006
Format: Hardcover
After her last couple of novels I wondered if Tami Hoag had finally given out of ideas. Well this one proves she is still hanging in there and when she tries she lets us know she is still the Queen of Mystery Thrillers.

Sam Kovac is a hard headed, hard driving, detective, not one to take a bunch of crap esspecially when a judge seems to be too soft on the bad dudes. He has survived two marriages and a partner with a bad divorce and a big mouth. He is an honorable man in a dark and dirty job. As the book progresses we see him grow as a person and take a long hard look at his life.

Carey Moore is a judge, she was a former prosecuter and now she is on the other side of the desk. When she makes a ruling in a savage murder case, that no one likes, not the police, not the public nor the victims family she faces not only their hate but actual physical attacks. Not to mention her husband, whom she is about to divorce, may be trying to have her killed. She has had to be a strong woman, but sometimes even a strong woman needs someone to hold her. At the end her life is a shambles but she is strong enough to start again.

From begining to end this is an exciting story. From a murderer, to a crazy cop, to a psychopath you never know where the story will lead. As the bodies multiply so does the action. The attack on the judge is only the beginning. Alot of red herrings but a boat load of thrills. I loved it.
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