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The 9th Girl Hardcover – June 18, 2013

4.5 out of 5 stars 866 customer reviews
Book 4 of 4 in the Kovac/Liska Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Hoag’s immense popularity—15 consecutive best-sellers—is based not only on her well-oiled, finely calibrated plots but also on her sensitivity to the painful interface between family troubles and crime and the complex demands women detectives face, especially one of her most popular characters, “small but mighty” Nikki Liska of Minneapolis. Last seen in Prior Bad Acts (2006) with her partner, Sam Kovac, Liska is a single mother currently worried about her caring and artistic 15-year-old son, Kyle. Guilt and fear build as she and Kovacs work around the clock to identify a horribly mutilated young woman found dead on New Year’s Eve and figure out if she is the ninth victim of the serial killer they sardonically call Doc Holiday. As the investigation veers awfully close to Liska’s home, Hoag makes shrewd use of the roles cell phones and social media play in teens’ lives as forums for bonding and bullying. Hoag’s prose is martial-arts quick and precise, her humor is high-voltage, and her insights into the misery of high school, the toxicity of divorce, and the extreme psychosis of a serial killer are knowing and thought-provoking. HIGH-DEMAND BACK STORY: Liska and Kovac are huge draws for Hoag fans, and Hoag’s latest, one of her very best, will be promoted with major radio and blog tours and abundant advertising and press coverage. --Donna Seaman

Review

Praise for THE 9TH GIRL

“Hoag’s prose is martial-arts quick and precise, her humor is high-voltage, and her insights into the misery of high school, the toxicity of divorce, and the extreme psychosis of a serial killer are knowing and thought-provoking…one of her very best.” - Booklist

"The 9th Girl...is cannily plotted and peppered with some of the sharpest dialogue in the business." - Entertainment Weekly 

"Outstanding! Tami Hoag continues to set the standard for excellence in her genre." - Suspense Magazine 

"Gripping"- Publishers Weekly
 

Praise for Down the Darkest Road:

“A mesmerizing psychological drama on loss, guilt, frustration and implacable, unexplainable evil.” - Kirkus

“Hoag keeps tight control over her plot in this book, raising the tension with every page that turns. She knows her characters, both good and bad, and intensifies the conflict in the most absorbing way. Not every writer of suspense can manage it so successfully, but Hoag does it from beginning to end.” —Huffington Post 

“Newcomers will have no trouble getting into this suspense novel rich in pre-DNA detecting methods.” —  Publishers Weekly 

“…the story zooms along to a satisfyingly creepy conclusion.” — USA Today

“Once again, bestselling Hoag plots craftily and creates characters readers root for.”—Kirkus Reviews (Starred) 

"The chilling premise and exciting twists make Hoag's thriller in every sense of the word. Guaranteed to be in high demand" - Booklist


“Stunning…Here [Hoag] 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.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)


“One of the most intense suspense writers around.” —Chicago Tribune

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton; First Edition edition (June 18, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0525952977
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525952978
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (866 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #394,152 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I must say, I can usually figure out the "whodunnit" in books I read by the time I'm halfway through the book. When I got to the reveal, I said, "Whoa!" out loud. I didn't see it coming. With true to life characters, enough red herrings to feed an army, and the weaving in of some of the technology of which the current generation are natives, Tami Hoag delivers a gripping page-turner that I didn't want to put down until I knew the very end.
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In Minneapolis, on an ice-cold New Year's Eve, a car hits a massive pothole and out of the trunk pops a grotesque zombie right into the oncoming path of a titanic Hummer limo. One of the Hummer's tires crushes the zombie's skull. It's not clear if the "creature" was alive or dead at the time. The limo driver swears it was alive, because it stared right at him just before he slammed into it...but the zombie's face was mostly destroyed by acid and the body was covered with blood and shallow stab wounds...even a coroner might have a hard time figuring out the real cause of death.

Of course, it didn't take the coroner to figure out it wasn't a zombie. It was a teenage girl, and someone was depraved enough to torture her to death on New Year's Eve. Was she the 9th victim of Doc Holiday--the notorious Midwestern serial killer, a subhuman psychopath who cruelly murders his young female victims on holidays--or was she the victim of some other shade of human monster?

Veteran criminal investigators Sam Kovac and Nikki Liska are assigned to the case. We've seen this team in action in three earlier Hoag novels ("Ashes to Ashes" 1999, "Dust to Dust" 2000, and "Prior Bad Acts" 2006). We learn that this ace team has been tracking the Doc Holiday serial murders since the beginning. They're itching to find the guy, but open to the possibility that this ninth girl might be the work of somebody else, after all there are myriad shades of evil in the world and depravity comes in many guises.
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I just finished this book and found it to be a good read. Tami Hoag has a way of pulling you into the story very quickly and keeping your interest throughout. I thought the last 50 pages, while climactic, didn't do the rest of the book justice. It was like she had to end it and was on a deadline to do so. Way too rushed. I felt she should have spent more time on both plots to bring them to final closure. Other than that, I felt the book was very enjoyable and would recommend it for a fast, no-brainer read. Probably not good for a book club read....more for basic entertainment similar to James Patterson novels.
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I have always enjoyed a good murder mystery, but often find them to be slow-paced, much as I suspect a real investigation into murder would be. This book was not slow paced at all. The story begins with the body of a teenage girl falling out of the trunk of a car on New Year's Eve. The detectives, Sam Kovak and Nikki Liska wonder if this is the work of a serial killer they have been investigating. The story moves quickly, bouncing from different characters' points of view to determine who killed this girl, and what the serial killer, known as Doc Holiday, is going to do next. I've never read any Kovac & Liska books before, but I will definitely look into past books with these characters.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've read the 2 Deer Lake books and really liked them, so I decided to give the Kovak & Liska series a shot. The first one was ok, but then they got progressively worse, which is to say more predictable and with too little real character/mood development. I'm a big fan of the murder mystery/police procedural genre and Ms. Hoag seemed to slot into this pretty nicely. I wasn't wild about the fact that every one of her books seems to require an over the top romantic angle, but hey a change of pace from Lucas Davenport, Harry Bosch, et. al. isn't necessarily a bad thing, so I will say I again I enjoyed Ms. Hoag's earlier works.

But this book is just flat out corny. As someone else said, the characters really are just too whiny. We spend way too much time reading about Liska fretting over the trials and tribulations of raising a young teen son. Yeah, it's hard and many of us have been there, but is it really necessary to this book? Further, the plotting was very predictable. I won't give endings away but I'm kinda shocked (or maybe just don't believe) that so many people were stunned by the ending/outcome. Adding to my distaste for this book was the fact that much of it was written with the seeming purpose of delving into the teen angst of the high school years. I get it: It's a rough time of life, but is it really that relevant to this book? Seemed to me it was just more filler in an otherwise predictable plot. Finally, as at least one other reviewer has mentioned there were a number of errors in this effort, including actually misnaming a critical character (mismatched the first and last names) during a crucial encounter which simply added confusion, not mystery.

I've read 6 of Ms. Hoag's novels and may try one more.
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