Wednesday, February 10, 2010

It's hard to go too deep with 1985 police technology

Deeper Than The Dead
Tami Hoag

I feel like I used to really like Tami Hoag - it's hard to tell now though because it's been so long since she had something new come out. Regardless of whether I used to like her or not, I THINK I did so therefore I was really excited to see Deeper Than The Dead come out recently. I blindly put it on hold from the library, not even bothering to read the cover blurb, and was pleasantly surprised when it came in relatively quick. I eagerly dove in before I realized this was not the deep, cool waters I was expecting but more like a shallow kiddie pool - I keep swimming cause I like the water but I am immediately disappointed.

Deeper tells the story of four fifth-graders who stumble upon a body in the woods behind their school. The woman was buried with only her head showing and she has been mutilated to be blind, deaf, and mute. Anne Navarro, the students teacher, immediately goes to the rescue of the children by supporting them and standing up for them if need be. When the local sheriff's office realizes they may have a serial killer on their hands, Vance Leon, an profiler from the FBI, travels to California to help find the killer before he strikes again.

First of all, this story took place in 1985. Don't get me wrong, I loved 1985! I was only three but I distinctly remember neon socks, side ponytails, and listening to Madonna in the car with my father (who LOVES Madonna). However, reading a story about police procedural work that took place prior to cell phones, internet, and DNA fingerprinting was not really entertaining. Blame it on CSI, NCIS, Bones, etc. but going back to the police work of the technological stone age was akin to watching paint dry.

Secondly, fifth graders were the primary characters in much of the story. I don't mind reading from the point of view of kids but I prefer it in a kids book not an adult book about a serial killer into mutilation. The characters who weren't children were okay but not overly believable. I totally thought that Detective Mendez was going to be a key person but he ended up blending into the background, which was a disappointment. There was a bit of a romance story but it was between two people I felt were incompatible, was rushed, and felt weird. My favorite character by far was Franny! He added comic relief when things got too serious.

Finally, the story was well written. Hoag did a great job of implicating several people as the killer and then writing their stories in a way that left any of them open to be the culprit depending on who's side you were on. I descriptions of the women being left without three of their five senses sent a chill through my body and is not my literal nightmare. Unfortunately, even with all of that, I didn't think the who-dun-it was too hard to figure out and I did so well ahead of the rushed revelation.

Overall, I stuck with it because I like Hoag's writing and there were a couple characters that I wanted more of. Unless you're a die-hard Hoag fan (which I may or may not be! lol) then this book can easily be passed over for what is next on your shelf.

No comments:

Post a Comment