Cold Cold Heart by Tami Hoag

Reviewed by Allen Hott

Cold Cold HeartThis is the best of the Tami Hoag books that I have read. She has really written quite a thriller mystery that includes plenty of insight into PTSD or its equivalent. Hoag has suffered from that problem after taking a very bad fall from a pony when she was very young. She weaves the feelings, problems, and terrible consequences of PTSD into this story brilliantly.

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A great opening has Dana Mercer having just stuck a screwdriver into the side of the head of Doc Holiday, the man who had kidnapped her. He had held her for several days doing to her whatever he wanted which included excessive beating.

While he was driving her to another destination Dana through sheer luck and determination had managed to pull the screwdriver from the mess in the back of the vehicle. She hoped to at least use if for defense but it turns out it was the weapon that killed him and set her free.

She awakens in a hospital sometime later and has no idea of who she is, where she is, or what has happened. She is badly beaten and that beating has severely damaged her brain. After a lengthy stay in a Minnesota medical center she is finally sent home where she has to try to not only rebuild herself physically but also work at rebuilding her memories and the usage of her brain.

Dana’s mother, stepfather, and other family members try to do all in their power to speed up the process. One of the memories that she seems to have lost completely was the disappearance of her closest girlfriend, Casey, shortly after they had graduated from high school. Dana’s one-time boyfriend, Tom, now on the local police force, after not doing well in his time at West Point is one of those looking for information about Casey.

Another young boy, John, who was supposedly dating Casey has come back from the army with a version of PTSD. Many had thought this youngster had something to do with Casey’s disappearance. Also John’s father had been considered as a possible assailant also but his wife supposedly was his alibi.

As Dana tries to reconstruct her own memory and get back into life she gets more and more involved in hunting for clues about Casey. Her stepfather even manages to get looked at rather closely because of his whereabouts on the night of the disappearance.

Hoag has brought in many different suspects and weaves in more strange happenings as the story moves forward. This is a really well written story that not only holds the reader’s attention but has him looking at different people differently after each chapter. How could Tom have done this? Isn’t either John or his father a more likely candidate? But wait what about Dana’s stepfather who doesn’t seem to care much for her or anyone else as he tries to get more deeply involved in his political quests?

Really! Quite a who-dunnit that grabs and never let’s go until the final chapters. Is it the person you thought? Read Cold Cold Heart now and find out!

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