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Secrets to the GraveThis is a sequel to Deeper than the Dead set a few months later in 1986 Vince Leone is living in Oak Knoll, having retired from the FBI married to Anne Navarre He still offers his services as a consultant around the USA while Anne Navarre has quit teaching to pursue a degree in child psychology.A local artist, a single mother, slaughtered with her four year old child near death herself Marissa was stabbed dozens of time while Haley, the child, was smothered left for dead Haley manages to survive is put in the protective custody of Vince and Anne while she recovers.The mystery is convoluted with odd red herrings and suspects who are in the closet, cheaters, or autistic The solutions to the mysteries that are produced are bizarre and weird Frankly, Oak Knoll sounds like a terrible place to live and I d move immediately.Bottom line Seriously, I don t know if I could in good conscious recommend this If you really enjoyed the first book want to see these characters, sure, why not The loose ends from the last book aren t tied up, but I don t know if I d risk spending my time plowing thru a third book. I can honestly say that this book creeped me out a lot With Hoag setting the first scene with a graphic description of the murder victim, and how our bodies break down after death, I may have been off food for several hours while I finished this book.It seems this days I am destined to read book series out of order I read book 3 last year, and finally went and bought book 2 I will so just go buy book 1 just so I can complete the Oak Knoll series eventually though.Unlike with book 1, the town of Oak Knoll is not dealing with another serial killer Instead, a single mother Marissa Fordham is found hacked to pieces Marissa s four year old daughter is also found and it s apparent whoever killed her mother, thought they killed her too When the sheriff is called into investigate, they find themselves trying to figure out who hated Marissa enough to end her life This leads several characters down a long winding path of trying to figure out who Marissa is, why did she move to Oak Knoll, and who could have hated her enough to kill her.I have read enough of Tami Hoag s books to be familiar with how her book flow will go She tends to have several POVs in the book In this one she has detective Tony Mendez, child advocate Anne Leone, retired FBI agent, Vince Leone We also have a woman who is dealing with the fact that her marriage is over, her daughter, a troubled young boy that Anne is trying to be there for, Marissa s best friend who also lives in Oak Knoll, etc At times the book felt a bit too messy with trying to follow the main plot and the sub plots that popped up.I did think though that the final reveal of the main plot didn t make a lot of sense to me I think due to the dozens of red herrings we get while reading, still had me going huh at the end And of course I maybe got a little bit tired of the Anne is in danger again thing that kept happening At one point I wondered if it would be better if she was just had police protection wherever she went I didn t really jibe with any one character Probably because for except for Tony, the other characters don t pop up in book 3 I heard from a friend that if I read book 1, that maybe I will like everyone in this book Hope so My main thoughts are that Anne and Tony were unprofessional throughout And the whole what will happen to Marissa s daughter thing didn t sit well at all with me when we find out about her beginnings as well The writing is typical Hoag, though I have to say I hated the whole jump scare thing she had going on at the end of certain chapters We would have Vince staring at a door and thinking someone is inside and the book would do And Vince would wish that he was faster and the book would skip into another chapter Probably the best thing about these books is that it is set in the early 1980s So this is before you had a lot of tools that police and forensic scientists have available today So you can test blood type, but not DNA at a scene This leads to a lot of old fashioned leg work and interviewing. Decent second installment in the Oak Knoll series.While this can be read as a stand alone, many of the characters and scenarios are continuations from the first novel.As a whole, I really like Hoag s writing, which is competent and smooth The characters in this series aren t as strong as some other series I ve read, but they re good enough What I really find compelling about her books is her efforts to explore through fiction the anatomy of a killer Mysteries and who done its are fun, but they are fun when they seriously address the why in a way that only fiction can Hoag has obviously read her share of books by experts, which I think imparts her books with a level of authenticity that is often lagging in other similar reads.Of course, as is often the case with this type of book, the coincidences abound, at times to the point of absurdity, but that s a function of this genre than it is a deficiency in the writing. I won this book in a First Reads giveaway and I feel very lucky to have gotten it It is a terrific book This is the first book I have read by Tami Hoag, but I now consider myself a fan The book never has a slow spot and for its over 400 pages is a very quick read.I highly recommend Secrets to the Grave If you like Harlan Coben and Tana French, this is definitely a book for you Not done reading this yet, but wanted to put warnings spoilers here in case I forget view spoiler 1 Character with autism becomes a murder suspect and later kills himself.2 Set in 1986, so in the time of when LGBTIQ people didn t publicly come out particularly if their family was involved with Republican politics So there are slurs and homophobia aplenty here And I think a police member outed someone to their parents.3 Also transphobia and fat shaming, because the Sassy Gay Friend is mean headdesk hide spoiler This book got lucky It was lucky that it was an audiobook, and it was lucky that I didn t have another to switch to First of all, I found out on goodreads that this was actually a second book The audiobook case says nothing about Oak Knoll 2 I do think it could stand alone, however, I spent the opening bit wondering about the extensive backstory which, as it turns out, was the first book and trying to put the pieces together Maybe it would have been easier had I read the first one, but it took me forever to identify and get into the characters.But that was my mistake In terms of the book, I found that the story didn t grab me Eventually, I was interested in what was going to happen next, but I didn t NEED to know Many of the characters simply didn t connect for me, including many of the potential suspects.Overall, I enjoyed the book, but there was a very good chance that I would have put it down before I started to enjoy it Secrets to the Grave is an able follow up to Deeper than the Dead, suspenseful and plenty engrossing, though it comes up a little bit short of its predecessor I m an unabashed Tami Hoag fan, and Secrets to the Grave is a perfectly good offering, but at the same time, she s done better.I was happy to revisit the key characters of Deeper than the Dead, and so soon after the events of that book that some many, many details carry over I still enjoy the relationship between Anne Navarre and Vince Leone, and the stories of some of the children that were at the center of Deeper than the Dead are handled believably True to form, the story begins with a shocking crime, and I m providing my customary warning to the squeamish If you blanch easily, better brace yourself for the first few chapters To her credit, Hoag dialed back quite a bit on the someday in the future we ll have this technology crystal ball commentary from characters that so annoyingly permeated Deeper than the Dead Still, she can t resist a few such mentions, and guess what, it s still intrusive However, something I will praise her for is her very realistic treatment of the lasting trauma reactions of crime victims While her characters seem a little aware of PTSD , both by name and as a syndrome, than seems appropriate for 1986, Hoag doesn t hesitate to show the reality of the characters symptoms and complexes Also well done is her treatment of the then still developing field of child advocacy in the criminal justice system she generally manages to show readers its early stages without resorting to those someday this new fangled thing will be commonplace asides.The book s main weakness for me was the field of suspects for the crime In typical fashion, there are several potential perpetrators including a couple you know can t be the killer, because that would just be too easy but none of them are particularly compelling I think part of me was always waiting for another character to be introduced who would wind up being the actual perpetrator In the end, I also found the true killer s identity to be somewhat unconvincing between details of the crime that you wouldn t think would fit such a killer, and a motive that seemed out of proportion to the actual crime I dithered for a long time before picking my star rating on this one What I really wanted to do is give it 3.5 stars The murder mystery was good, though not one of Hoag s best On the other hand, the character development and storytelling was quite good the description of an ordeal suffered by the murder victim s closest friend Gina is a particular standout All told, the story held my interest well and the narrative kept pushing me forward including a couple nights into the dark wee hours with my book light , but still, I couldn t quite bring myself to round up, so it ends up with a solid 3 star, I liked it rating. OK, calling this book a fun read, or an entertaining one doesn t quite send the right message It s a compelling mystery, with some great characters It s also quite disturbing, deliberately so.Secrets to the Grave looks at several aspects of violence, starting with an extremely brutal murder of a young mother, and the attempted murder of her 4 year old child Several other characters are brutally attacked, some characters are living with the results of previous violence some recent, some from childhood long past.I started to list all the characters I liked, but decided not to bother The book is full of generally likable but interesting people If Vince and Anne walk a little too close to the too good to be true line, they have enough personality and struggles to keep them worth reading about.The children are a large part of what makes the book interesting and disturbing Disturbing, due to what 4 year old Haley has been through disturbing, due to what 12 year old Dennis has done, and even , what he d like to do Again, each is an intriguing character on their own well, as much so as a realistic 4 year old can be , and they way they work into the events of the story builds on that.The supporting cast of police officers and suspects and other people of interest were varied in situation and personality I admit to having some trouble keeping track of the names of some of the characters I think this is my weakness, and it is one that came back to bite me toward the end of the book Until then, I could keep the characters straight by context, but a few references at the end left me with the sinking feeling that I wasn t quite sure who was being referred to I d recommend paying closer attention that I did to this aspect.Another detail of this story that interested me was the choice of setting it in the 1980s I occasionally wondered if the only reason for this decision was to avoid computers and cell phones Mostly, it didn t matter, but occasionally it seemed like the author was winking at the readers, about things we know or take for granted, but which weren t yet part of the lives of these characters In addition, there were a couple of points where I was pulled out of my reading, wondering if this or that detail was authentic to the time period Probably they were but it still disrupted my reading to think about it.If you like a violent but thoughtful mystery with well thought out characters, check out this book. (Read Epub) Ã Secrets to the Grave ⚹ Marissa Fordham Is Dead, But Her Daughter Is Found At The Crime Scene, Injured But Alive Now Sheriff S Detective Tony Mendez And Child Advocate Anne Leone Begin To Peel Back The Layers Of Marissa S Life And The Shocking Truth They Discover Puts Them Directly In The Sights Of A Killer With A Stunning Secret To Keep Because Marissa Fordham Never Existed A woman lay dead, her hair spreading out around her head like a dark cloud Her skin was the color of milk Her lips had been painted as red a rose as red as her blood must have been as it drained from the wounds carved into her flesh She lay discarded like a life size broken doll Made up, torn up, and cast aside Her brown eyes cloudy and lifeless Beside her lay a smaller doll her child Head resting on her shoulder , face streaked with the last of her mother s lifeblood so begins a dark and thrilling mystery to discover who murdered Marissa and why Before I begin to go into my thoughts I should warn readers like myself who have not read the first book in the Oak Knoll series to read the first book before this one This book made a lot of reference to the first book which isn t always a bad thing, but it can be when it tells who the killer was in the first book I now have to wait a few months to read the first book so I don t remember who the killer is and hopefully enjoy the first book.Anyways, my guess on who the Bad Daddy was, ended up being correct Hoag does a superb job on keeping the reader in suspense and second guessing who the killer is There was a clue about 65% into the book that I caught on to though I highly recommend this to other thriller suspense lovers like myself You just can t go wrong with any book by Tami Hoag.