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Down the Darkest Road Hardcover – December 27, 2011

4.3 out of 5 stars 353 customer reviews
Book 3 of 3 in the Oak Knoll Series

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Intrusion: A Novel
A loving couple, grieving the loss of their son, finds their marriage in free fall when a beautiful, long-lost acquaintance inserts herself into their lives. Learn More
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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

Review

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 (353 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #844,877 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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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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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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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I, too, was disappointed in this book. In fact, I found it rather tedious and found myself skipping some of the pages from the middle to the end. I got bored reading ad nauseum about Lauren's obsession with her daughter's killer at the expense of her living daughter. It was just too much anger (yes, I understand how a mother would be obsessed and angry) and I got the impression that it was page filler. Lauren is impossible to like, which made the book difficult for me to enjoy. The first two books in the Oak Knoll series were excellent and I was so hoping to feel the same way about this one. It just didn't happen for me.
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