Cold Cold Heart. Tami Hoag. Penguin Group USA. January 2015. 368 pp. paperback and e-book. ISBN #: 9780525954545.
One reads about serial killers with very little information following about their victims. Tami Hoag breaches that impenetrable wall of silence with this novel. It’s initially about Dana Nolan, a young woman who was professionally successful as a TV newscaster, a career eagerly followed by man, a woman admired for her numerous skilled deliveries of news of all levels of intensity and importance. Now she’s the broken visage of news as the result of a horrific experience of abduction, cutting, burning, other torture and rape. Her serial killer attacker was known as Dr. Holiday and he called her “My Masterpiece” before she moved beyond her broken state to muster up enough strength to end his killing spree.
Post-traumatic stress syndrome never looked so vicious and mind-numbingly intensely painful as it does for Tami. Not only is she oh so slowly learning to cope with the few memories and feelings that emerge over time but she also has to deal with well-intentioned family and friends who now define her as the serial “victim.” Dana immediately displays that feisty personality that was a hallmark of her life before this vicious nightmare began. She fights back as she slowly recovers enough to begin to nominally function.
Little by little a memory in particular from before her demise emerges. It concerns a friend of hers who disappeared and was murdered. It so becomes her focus that she decides to resurrect her reportorial skills and seek out answers that have haunted her for so long and have been exacerbated by her own experience. This quest is to provide a healing factor in her life, although she knows she will be scarred by her own past forever. Empathy indeed can be a miraculous, soul-saving exercise.
While the beginning of this crime novel is initially disconcerting, it is well worth the read. Cold Cold Heart is a riveting, psychological, crime-solving novel that shows Tami Hoag’s skills at their best. This is a winner for all true fans of crime and thriller fiction!