Saturday, July 6, 2019

Book Review of The 9th Girl and the sequel, Cold Cold Heart

Collage of books by Tami Hoag

Author Tami Hoag has written over 40 books. first in the Romance genre and then in the crime/mystery/suspense/thriller genres. She has written several series, my favorite being the Kovac & Liska series. 

I have been currently re-reading my collection of Tami Hoag mysteries, beginning with my favorite series with characters Sam Kovac and his partner, the wisecracking Nikki Liska whom Sam calls 'Tink' (for Tinkerbell) because she's petite, though tough and determined. They are homicide detectives in Minneapolis, Minnesota. 

After finishing the fourth book in the series (The 9th Girl), I happened to pick up one of Tami Hoag's standalone books to read next (Cold Cold Heart) and realized it was a sequel to The 9th Girl. Therefore, I will review both of these books for you today. 

The 9th Girl

The 9th Girl Book cover
Available on Amazon
It is a frigid New Year's Eve in Minneapolis when a body falls from the trunk of a car into the path of oncoming traffic. Detectives Kovak & Liska are called to the scene. Unidentified, she is the ninth nameless female victim of the year. The detectives need to find out not only who she is, but who wanted her dead. 

Not only is she the ninth Jane Doe of the year, but she may be the ninth victim of a vicious, transient serial killer the police call Doc Holiday. Doc Holiday chooses his victims at random, snatching them in one city and leaving them in another, always on a holiday.

When another young woman disappears, the case heats up while the detectives try to find the promising young TV reporter, Dana Nolan before she becomes another victim.

Cold Cold Heart

Cold Cold Heart book cover
Available on Amazon
The 9th Girl novel ends with Dana Nolan becoming the only one of Doc Holiday's victims to survive. Cold Cold Heart is her struggle to recover from the physical, emotional and psychological trauma she endured.  After months in the hospital and a rehab center, Dana returns to the small Indiana town she left to work in Minneapolis.  

Cold Cold Heart begins with Dana still in the hospital and Kovak & Liska making a brief appearance in the first 2 chapters (a continuation from The 9th Girl) where they try to learn the details of what happened. The problem is, Dana doesn't remember much due to suffering a brain injury at the hands of the killer. 

As Dana continues to recover and returns to her family home, media interest brings up the unsolved case of Dana's childhood best friend who disappeared without a trace 7 years ago, the summer after their high school graduation. Viewing life differently because of her injuries and needing something to focus on other than the flashbacks and nightmares and the torment of post-traumatic stress disorder she suffers, Dana begins to look into her past. But the truth of her friend's disappearance may prove to be too terrible to be believed. 

Notes from the Author:

Author Tami Hoag
Author Tami Hoag

Tami Hoag suffered a TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) as a child which went undiagnosed for many years. Luckily, her only side effects are occasional severe headaches. She also has a friend whose husband suffered a TBI in the military. Combine the consequences with PTSD and the problems worsen.  PTSD is not a condition exclusive to the war-injured military, but also experienced by victims of crimes and other tragedies.

Ms. Hoag believes that many people are not aware of how these injuries affect the people suffering from them and their loved ones. The post-brain injury person is often not ever again the pre-brain injury person remembered by friends and family and this becomes difficult to deal with and understand. 

Tami thought perhaps having her character in Cold Cold Heart suffering from TBI and PTSD would help readers understand both people who are afflicted and those who live with them.

A well-written story ~ with a message.  

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(c) Written by Wednesday Elf 7/6/2019

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


  1. Serial killers are very scary since they clearly have figured out how to evade being caught. I do find studying how survivors cope very interesting though. These two books sound like they would keep be spellbound, especially since the author is pulling from personal experiences relating to brain trauma. I am glad you reviewed the books together. Background is often very important, yet the second book is the one the would appeal to me most.

    1. Thanks, Mouse. I know murder mysteries are not your favorite genre, but you are right about the subject of Cold Cold Heart. Still a murder mystery to be solved, but the character gives you an interesting glimpse into how hard it is to cope with "After Dana" compared to what "Before Dana" was.

  2. While novels about serial killers generally aren’t my favorite, there are some I’ve been able to handle (e.g., some of JD Robb’s, AKA Nora Roberts’, wonderful Eve Dallas novels involve serial killers). Learning of the author’s personal experiences with TBI and PTSD and her intention in writing Dana’s story across these two novels makes me much more interested in trying out these books, this series and this author. Thanks for such an excellent review!

    1. Thanks for your visit, Margaret. Most of Tami Hoag's books aren't about serial killers. They are crime stories or suspense stories generally. This one just happened to have a serial killer in it and it's sequel is about the after-affects experienced by the victim who survived.

    2. Thanks for letting me know, Elf! That definitely increases my interest in trying this author’s work.

  3. I did not know about the author's personal journey with a traumatic brain injury. I'm sure that makes her writing especially compelling in these two books. I'll have to check them out (especially with my connection to Minnesota). Thanks for leading me to them.

    1. Tami Hoag's stories tend to take place in and around Minneapolis, Diana. She fell from a horse on her head when she was 10 and a doctor called away from a 4th of July celebration barely examined her and decided she was fine. Closed head injuries are difficult to diagnose and of course there was no brain scan, etc. It was decades before she finally had a name (TBI) for her symptoms. Therefore, she (the author) feels quite strongly about the subject. As she points out, there have been many times an injury suffered by military personnel has gone undiagnosed. If you are not bleeding, you must be OK was the standard for years. Today, with concussions in sports being given better treatment and diagnosis, more people are becoming more aware.

  4. Makes it especially interesting due to her personal connection and purpose for the novels. I know my mother would enjoy these books. I'll be adding it to her list of reading and gifts.

    1. I know your mom likes the mystery/suspense genre, Barbara. Thanks for your visit and interest.

  5. These stories sound right up my alley. Thank you for the review. As soon as my "to read" list shortens, I'm adding these to my Kindle.

  6. Oh this is one of my favorite types of novels, not so much the serial killer, but the suspense and mystery end of them. I will be adding these to my reading list for sure. Let me just get through my WW2 novels and I'm there.....thank you Elf!


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