Cry Wolf by Tami Hoag: some good, some bad

Cry Wolf by Tami Hoag





Pros: intriguing mystery held my interest

Cons: annoying characters who spoke a lot of French

Some very good stuff.  And some very annoying stuff.  That’s my quickie review of Tami Hoag’s Cry Wolf. 



Our heroine, Laurel, comes back home – to the French villages of Louisiana, after facing a humiliating failure in her professional career.   She just wants to reconnect with her family, and enjoy some relaxing time to herself.


But she does not get much of a chance to rest.  Young girls are turning up dead along the Bayou.  At the same time, Laurel finds herself involved with the local ‘bad boy’ – thinking she sees the good man underneath all the bluster.


But when you get involved with someone you barely know, bad things can happen.  Is it possible that Laurel’s new love is somehow involved with the girls’ murders?  Or is someone else setting up an elaborate ruse, one designed to bring harm not only to Laurel but to the rest of her family as well?


That’s the premise of Cry Wolf and I’ll admit, I was pretty well hooked.  I turned those pages mighty fast to find out what was really going on.  I liked Hoag’s style of bringing lots of possible suspects into the mix.  Each time I was pretty sure I had it figured out, she would add a new twist and send me soaring in another direction.


Overall, a fascinating “whodunit” that definitely held my interest.


However, the book is far from perfect.  It suffers from a couple of flaws.  The biggest is that the characters were very hard to care about, and very hard to take seriously.  Each is a one-dimensional caricature.  The good girl.  The bad girl.  The good guy.  The bad guy.  The close-minded one.  The evil one.  You see the point – each character had no more depth than my fingernail.


And then there was the French.  I’m Ok if an otherwise-English book adds a few foreign phrases here and there.  Especially if you can gather most of the meaning from the context.  But this book incorporates French into nearly every conversation.  And even though I could make out most of it, I found it distracting and, frankly, annoying.  Worst of all – it turns out there’s a glossary at the back of the book to help you out.  When did I discover this fact?  After I read the last page of the story, of course.  Had I known all along that the glossary was hiding back there I might have used it.  But I’m not in the habit of checking out the back pages of a book to see if there’s anything of interest!


So – pick up Cry Wolf if you like a good “whodunit” and don’t mind thin characters.  And, if you don’t speak French, at least you’ll have my tip – turn to the back of the book!


Also by Tami Hoag

Deeper Than The Dead
Secrets To The Grave
The 9th Girl

14th Deadly Sin by James Patterson – still holds my interest despite its flaws

14th Deadly Sin by James Patterson





Pros: decent stories, great character development

Cons: main investigation was a bit convoluted

#14 in the Women’s Murder Club series is called 14th Deadly Sin.  James Patterson and Maxine Paetro give us a few different stories as well as some developments in our characters’ lives.



For those who don’t know, the series is about four women who get together and help solves crimes in San Francisco.  Lindsay is the detective.  Claire is the medical examiner.  Cindy is the reporter.  And Yuki is with the DA’s office.  However, in this book, Yuki gets a new job, one that has her looking at things from a whole new perspective.  Cindy has just written a best-seller.  Claire has very little “screen time” but she does utter one sentence which turns a murder investigation on its head.  So she’s vital to the story, even though she’s barely seen.



As for Lindsay, she has her hands full.  She’s a mom and a wife, now.  And she’s still solving the department’s toughest cases.  In this book there have been a series of robberies, some of which have included fatalities.  In all cases, the perps are wearing SFPD jackets.  Are these cop-wannabes? Or is it possible that we’re looking at a group of rogue cops?  Worst, could some of the very cops that Lindsay works with every day – officers in whose hands her life sometimes rests – be playing both sides?



In usual fashion, the story is told from multiple viewpoints.  When it’s Lindsay’s turn, she speaks in first-person.  All of the other stories are told from a third person point of view.  It’s an odd style, but it’s how all the books in the series work.  And, we have Patterson’s trademark short chapters.  Just a couple of pages before we’re off to a different part of the story, and sometimes a different voice.  It can be a bit choppy, but I don’t really mind. 



The main story, about the robbers in cops’ jackets gets a bit convoluted.  And, if I’m being honest, it had so many characters that I had trouble keeping track of them all.  There’s also an extra little subplot that gets tossed in for no reason other than mucking up an already messy investigation. 



On the other hand, Yuki’s story was quite interesting.  She’s taken a new job, and her first case is a real doozy.   It was great watching Yuki set her goals and go after them without looking back.  Best of all is that she stands her ground in a tough situation and comes out with her head held high.  I like this confident Yuki!



Cindy is barely present in this one.  She’s doing great professionally and while she’s been “on-again” and “off-again” with Lindsay’s boss, in this story they get to take things to another level.



Overall, 14th Deadly Sin is a decent book in a series that always holds my attention.  I enjoy watching these women grow and work together.  And, the ending of 14 definitely makes me look forward to 15 !


2nd Chance
3rd Degree
4th Of July
The 5th Horseman
The 6th Target
7th Heaven
The 8th Confession
The 9th Judgment
10th Anniversary
11th Hour
12th of Never
Unlucky 13