Minneapolis has more than its share of interesting cops (Lucas Davenport of the John Sandford thrillers, for one), and Tami Hoag's homicide dicks, Sam Kovac and Nikki Liska, join the club in this thoughtful and surprisingly moving novel of dirty cops and cover-ups. Internal Affairs investigator Andy Fallon is a suicide--or is he? The word around the department is that Andy, son of Iron Mike Fallon, an old hero of Sam's, killed himself because Mike turned his back on him when Andy told him he was gay. Or maybe it was because a lover dumped him, or even (snicker, snicker) a perverted sexual practice gone wrong. That's the gossip, but Sam feels he owes it to Mike to investigate.
Sam is a familiar type in this genre, and his self-awareness is almost painful at times. "You're a stereotype. The tragic hero," he's told by Amanda Savard, the strong-but-vulnerable Internal Affairs lieutenant whose determination to keep the Fallon case closed foreshadows her personal history. "The twice-divorced, smoking, drinking workaholic," Sam agrees. "I don't know what's heroic about that. It reeks of failure to me, but maybe I have unrealistic standards." But Sam's droll sense of humor is matched by his deeply ingrained crap detector. When Iron Mike apparently kills himself too, you can almost feel its needle vibrate. Then Sam and Nikki open another closed case, this one almost two decades old, and find the connections that threaten to unravel past crimes and future promises. Hoag is a writer very much in command of her craft: the pacing excels, the characters are complex and interesting, and the details well worked out. Readers will look forward to another Kovac and Liska adventure. --Jane Adams--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Good, but not great, July 5, 2003 Reviewer: eorionis from Los Angeles, CA This was my first book by Tami Hoag, but I heard she was a great author so I decided to give it a shot. Having read James Patterson, I am very much into cop vs serial killer murders with suspense. Unfortunately, this book disappointed me. The book seemed to be very dry for the first few hundred pages, and the suspense level never really got that high. The plot just seemed to go round and around who might have done it, never zooming in for sure on any one person. So, a lot of doors were opened in the search for suspects, but not everything was wrapped up in the end. The characters would ponder a certain lead but they didn't follow up on everything that seemed questionable. The characters themselves weren't, in my opinion, that deep or complex. Actually, I didn't really like either of the two "good guys." Kovac got on my nerves with his cold-heartedness and his "lonely me" fixation. I disliked Liska and Savard's "nobody can touch me" feelings. THe characters just seemed to be too extreme. Lastly, there was a sideplot going on about an assault that had nothing to do with the actual plot. I kept waiting for them to be somehow connected, but they never did. Hoag has great talent as a writer, but I just didn't feel the suspense. The only reason I finished the book as fast as I did was because I wanted to start on another book I'd just bought by a favorite author of mine. If the plot was just made more suspenseful or the characters had added depth, I think this book would've been great. So, although this was a good book, I would recommend any of James Patterson's books in place of this for suspense.