The 9th Girl by Tami Hoag
Pros: Exciting story with a lot of twists
Cons: an early reveal that wasn’t too well done
The 9th Girl is the fourth book in Tami Hoag’s series featuring detectives Liska and Kovac. I haven’t read the first three books, but, honestly, I don’t think it matters. The 9th Girl works just fine as a stand-alone novel.
The plot: On New Year’s Eve, a young woman is found brutally murdered. Is it the work of “Doc Holiday” – serial killer on the loose, so-named for his fondness of killing on major holidays? If so, it would be his 9th victim, with nary a clue to his identity. Or, is this a separate event? And if so, is she a random victim, or was she the target?
As Liska and Kovac uncover clue after clue about the victim’s identity and personal life, the case truly takes on a life of its own. With plenty of suspects, the reader is kept guessing, along with the investigators. And when another woman goes missing, the case gets even more complex.
I have to admit, this book held my interest from page 1. I was definitely invested in the story, wanting to know what happened to the victim. And the more we learned about her life, the juicier the story became. Then when there’s a second victim, I was pulled in even further.
The only thing that made the book a bit less compelling than it might have been is the early reveal of the bad guy, in the second woman’s case. Granted, there are plenty of stories where we know who the bad guy is, long before the police do. And that’s a perfectly reasonable technique, often with its own excitement. But in this case, I felt it hindered, rather than helped. The details we were given were not exciting, it just made the story less thrilling. I would have preferred to have been kept in the dark about both victims, solving both cases together, instead of knowing the details regarding the second victim.
But this is a minor quibble. In truth, The 9th Girl was a darned good mystery/thriller that keeps the reader guessing. With plenty of twists and turns, and characters that are worth caring about, this book gets two eager thumbs up (and four stars) from me.
Also by Tami Hoag