Wednesday, January 26, 2011
SECRETS TO THE GRAVE
"My daddy hurt my mommy", a very young girl told the 911 operator. When the police arrived at the home, they found artist Marissa Fordham brutally murdered and her daughter Haley lying on her mother's body, badly injured but still alive. It looks like an open and shut case if they can locate Haley's father, but no one knows who Haley's father is and the police can't find a birth certificate.
SECRETS TO THE GRAVE is a sequel to DEEPER THAN THE DEAD by the same author. Child Advocate Ann Leone, who was the victim of a killer in Hoag's previous book, and her husband, former FBI Agent Vince Leone, take custody of Haley while the police search for the child's relatives.
Unfortunately for lead Det. Tony Mendez, Marissa was a single mother and Haley called every man in her mother's life daddy which creates an ever increasing suspect list. The investigation reaches a roadblock when no one can find anything about Marissa before her move to this small California town; it's as if she never existed. The hope is that Marissa's best friend can provide some background, but she quickly goes missing.
I figured out fairly early on who "daddy" was but Ms. Hoag throws so many protagonists into the mix (including a very troubled adolescent who was a student of Mrs. Leone's when she was a teacher) that it's almost exhausting to read SECRETS TO THE GRAVE all the way through. If you're already a fan of Ms. Hoag's books, you'll probably enjoy this one. If, like me, you haven't read anything by her before, this isn't the book to start with. I felt like I had arrived at the dance just as the band was packing up to leave.