Secrets to the Grave by Tami Hoag

Secrets to the Grave by Tami Hoag“People are funny about their secrets. It doesn’t matter if anyone else cares or not. People will guard their secrets like junkyard dogs, and take them to the grave if they can.” – Vince Leone

There are a lot of secrets being kept in Oak Knoll, California in Secrets to the Grave, author Tami Hoag’s sequel to last year’s Deeper than the Dead.

Hoag wastes no time plunging the reader into the story, opening the book with a horrific crime scene depicting the aftermath of the brutal knife murder of single mother Marissa Fordham. Her four-year-old daughter, Haley, was also attacked and left for dead, languishing for two days with her mother’s corpse before being discovered.

Detective Tony Mendez is tapped to head up the investigation, and knows from recent experience to make use of a tremendous resource located in town, former FBI Agent Vince Leone, one of the pioneers in the field of behavioral profiling.

Mendez also seeks assistance from child advocate Anne Navarre Leone, herself nearly a victim the previous year of the so-called “See No Evil” killer that plagued Oak Knoll (the case which initially brought her then FBI Agent, now husband Vince Leone to town). Together they must try to help a traumatized child recover and, if possible, provide them with information to help catch her mother’s killer.

As was its predecessor, Secrets to the Grave is set in the mid-80’s, which adds an interesting twist to the reader’s experience. We have all become so accustomed to crime shows on TV showing off the marvels of how modern science assists in solving crimes, we forget that it wasn’t too long ago that concepts such as psychological profiling and DNA identification were either still in their infancy (profiling) or pretty much weren’t on police radar at all (DNA). Nor were computers commonplace in police stations. Secrets to the Grave takes readers back to a time when detectives still had to slog through reams of paperwork by hand and spend all day on the phone in order to track down information that could be found within minutes today by using computers and the internet.

Cell phones were also virtually unheard of, which allows Hoag to put Anne in several “out of touch and in jeopardy” situations that would be hard for an author to believably pull off in today’s society. All of these “old school” conditions make for a refreshing change of pace, especially as Hoag absolutely nails the feel of the time period. From references to Dynasty to Cyndi Lauper to Bartles & Jaymes in the fridge, Hoag’s subtle incorporation of pop culture references paints a vivid picture of small town Oak Knoll at the height of the 80’s.

Which is not to say the mystery gets lost in the scenery. Hoag has conjured up a truly compelling crime and given her investigators – and the reader – an amazingly colorful cast of characters to sift through to get to the truth. And though enough subtle clues are left that a seasoned reader of the genre may potentially guess the killer’s identity prior to the formal reveal, that in no way detracts from the wonderfully tangled web of a story Hoag has woven. Between the clever plot twists, dedicated and determined heroes, and downright Machiavellian residents of Oak Knoll, Secrets to the Grave is a supremely entertaining and engaging mystery.

Secrets to the Grave will be released on December 28th, just in time for you to use one of the Christmas gift cards or some of the holiday cash Santa will surely be bringing you.

– CONTEST: Win Secrets to the Grave and Deeper than the Dead –

Tami Hoag’s publisher, Dutton, has generously provided a copy of both Secrets to the Grave and Deeper than the Dead for me to give to one of my readers. To be entered for a chance to win, just leave a comment below. Be sure to include your email address in the comment form so you can be contacted if you’re the lucky winner! Contest open to U.S./Canada addresses only (no P.O. Boxes), and runs through midnight on December 27, 2010.

**The contest is now closed**

With thirteen consecutive Times bestsellers to her credit, including The Alibi Man, Prior Bad Acts, Dark Horse, and Kill The Messenger, Tami Hoag has more than 35 million books in print, published in more than twenty languages worldwide. An avid competitive equestrian in the Olympic discipline of dressage, Tami divides her time between Los Angeles and Palm Beach County, Florida where she competes her horses on the prestigious winter circuit. To learn more about Tami, visit her website.

Be sure to check out all of Tami’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Monday, December 6th: A Bookworm’s World
Tuesday, December 7th: Luxury Reading
Wednesday, December 8th: Musings of an All Purpose Monkey
Thursday, December 9th: Under the Boardwalk
Friday, December 10th: Life in Review
Monday, December 13th: The Well-Read Wife
Tuesday, December 14th: My Two Blessings
Wednesday, December 15th: Musings of a Bookish Kitty
Thursday, December 16th: Bewitched Bookworms
Friday, December 17th: Presenting Lenore
Monday, December 20th: Man of La Book
Tuesday, December 21st: I’m Booking It
Wednesday, December 22nd: Rundpinne (Deeper Than the Dead)
Thursday, December 23rd: Rundpinne (Secrets to the Grave)
Monday, December 27th: Reviews by Molly
Monday, January 3rd: Teresa’s Reading Corner
Wednesday, January 5th: Lesa’s Book Critiques
Monday, January 10th: Jen’s Book Thoughts


  • […] Wednesday, December 8th:  Musings of an All Purpose Monkey […]

  • Elizabeth A. White

    December 29, 2010 - 11:47 AM

    Commenter Sheila has been selected (by as the contest winner. Thank you to everyone who participated.

  • John Pritchard

    December 27, 2010 - 9:47 AM

    Except for her earlier “romance” novels, I have read all of her books. Started following her writing when I lived in Rochester, MN, near where Tami lived.

    Will be at the store tomorrow to purchase!!

  • Liane Owed Lauersdorf

    December 24, 2010 - 12:00 PM

    I consider myself to be a “virgin” since Deeper Than The Dead was the first Tami Hoag novel I have read. Very rarely do I buy a novel that literally makes me not want to put it down!!! I am also head over heels in love with former FBI Agent Vince Leone!!! Can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of Secrets From The Grave!!!

    P.S. Your review was DEAD on!!!

  • […] Wednesday, December 8th:  Musings of an All Purpose Monkey […]

  • Kerry

    December 10, 2010 - 4:14 PM

    I loved Deeper Than the Dead. Can’t wait to read the new one since set in the same place. The 80’s time period gave the book a very interesting twist.

  • Sharon

    December 9, 2010 - 7:20 PM

    Would love to win these books! I love Tami Hoag!

  • Donna L.

    December 8, 2010 - 6:53 PM

    I love Hoag’s book! Please include me in your giveaway!!

  • Sheila

    December 8, 2010 - 6:52 PM

    Great giveaway—please enter me to win!

  • Caryn Strean

    December 8, 2010 - 2:03 PM

    Thanks for offering the contest!

  • Linda Henderson

    December 8, 2010 - 12:59 PM

    I’ve always enjoyed her books and I’d love to read these books. Thank you for the opportunity.

  • Colleen Thompson

    December 8, 2010 - 12:09 PM

    I’d love the chance to win books from a long-time fave of mine! Thanks!

  • Susan Stone

    December 8, 2010 - 10:02 AM

    Thank you for a chance to win a book from one of my favorite authors.

  • Lisa Munley

    December 8, 2010 - 9:54 AM

    Fantastic review, Elizabeth! This sounds like an exciting page-turner! Thank you so much for being on the tour. We really appreciate it.

    • Elizabeth A. White

      December 8, 2010 - 5:04 PM

      Thank you, once again, for the opportunity to participate. 🙂

  • Catherine Boyd

    December 8, 2010 - 9:49 AM

    Thanks for reviewing this book and the chance to win it! It has been on my wish list for some time. I love a great mystery and I welcome a book that doesn’t solve it with all the “new fangled” technology. I grew up with Dynasty and all the other references to the 80’s (high school years) so this will be a nice walk through memory lane for me as well.

    • Elizabeth A. White

      December 8, 2010 - 9:54 AM

      High school years for me too, and so it was the Bartles & Jaymes reference that really made me chuckle with nostalgia. 😉

  • Charles Wingfield

    December 8, 2010 - 9:46 AM

    Sounds like a really good book. Absolutely love that it is set in the 80’s and with all of the technilogical challenges that it brings. No internet, cell phones? How did we live? 😛

  • Sabrina E. Ogden

    December 8, 2010 - 9:40 AM

    This sounds like an incredible book and reminds me of a case our team prosecuted 2 years ago. We had a cold case that our office and the arresting agency decided to reopen. It had been stalled for over ten years. Our biggest problem was that the arresting agency had accidently destroyed all the evidence so we really had nothing to work with. It was a triple homicide and rape. The rape victim survived, but without the evidence we had nothing to corroborate her story. Until…during our invesitgation one of our office invesitgators found witnesses that had never been interviewed. With the help of the people found and incredible skills by our prosecutors the jury found the defendant guilty. I’ve always commended our investigators for being able to dig in and do the extra work needed to help solve this crime. It was really difficult, especially since they are all wizards when it comes to the new technology available today in solving crimes.

    As always, this is another great review. Thanks for sharing it and I plan to add it to my TBR pile.

    • Elizabeth A. White

      December 9, 2010 - 1:25 PM

      Don’t think enough people realize just how hard our law enforcement community works, usually for mediocre pay and under less than ideal conditions.

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