Publication date: January 12th 2016
My rating: 4 stars
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EVERY FAMILY HAS A SECRET. THEIRS WILL CHILL YOU TO THE CORE.
#1 New York Times Bestselling author Tami Hoag returns to the bestselling series of her career with a Kovac and Liska case that will delight fans and new readers alike.
A murder from the past. A murder from the present. And a life that was never meant to be... As the dreary, bitter weather of late fall descends on Minneapolis, Detective Nikki Liska is restless. After moving to the cold case squad in order to spend more time with her sons, she misses the rush of pulling an all-nighter, the sense of urgency of hunting a murderer on the loose. Most of all she misses her old partner, Sam Kovac.
Sam is having an even harder time adjusting to Nikki's absence, saddled with a green new partner younger than pieces of Sam's wardrobe. Sam is distracted from his troubles by an especially brutal double homicide: a middle-aged husband and wife bludgeoned and hacked to death in their home with a ceremonial Japanese samurai sword. Nikki's case, the unsolved murder of a family man, community leader, and decorated sex crimes detective for the Minneapolis PD, is less of a distraction: Twenty years later, there is little hope for finding the killer who got away.
On the other end of the spectrum, Minneapolis resident Evi Burke has a life she only dreamed of as a kid in and out of foster homes: a beautiful home, a family, people who love her, a fulfilling job. Little does she know that a danger from her past is stalking her perfect present. A danger powerful enough to pull in both Kovac and Liska and destroy the perfect life she was never meant to have.
The Bitter Season is book five in the Kovac and Liska series, but you don’t need to read the previous books to enjoy this crime procedural type mystery. The story kept my rapt attention as Nikki Liska and Sam Kovac questioned suspects, walked in the shoes of the victims, and dug deep down for clues.
Detectives Sam Kovac and Nikki Liska have been partners in the Homicide division for many years, but Nikki has just transferred to Cold Cases to get away from the long hours required for fresh homicide investigations in order to spend more time with her two teenage sons. As a single parent, she wants to put her boys first. Nikki misses the excitement and adrenaline rush from Homicide, but she learns that Cold Case has its own special challenges. I’m thinking that by the end of The Bitter Season, Nikki might just welcome boring once and a while! I think I would! Sam and Nikki have their own cases they’re working on, but in a bizarre twist they end up tying together.
Sam lands a sensational double homicide where a well-to-do middle aged married couple is murdered in their home with a samurai sword. The scene is messy, bloody and attracts the media’s attention immediately. The husband, Lucien Chamberlin was generally disliked by his work colleagues and family, so there is no shortage of suspects.
Nikki’s homicide, a sex crimes detective, shot and killed in his own backyard, happened twenty-five years earlier. She’s hindered at every turn by almost every family member, which completely floors, Nikki. Who doesn’t want the murder of a loved one solved? The original investigating detective, a chauvinistic dinosaur, is also a pain in the ass, but no one gets in Nikki’s way when it comes to an investigation. She’s a little determined powerhouse with balls! Nikki had me cracking up throughout the story!
“Could we have some kind of signal for when you’re about to say something outrageous?” Seley asked. “I almost peed my pants!”
“A signal would require premeditation on my part. I just open my mouth and stuff comes out.”
I’ve enjoyed Tami Hoag’s mysteries for years. The Bitter Season had many twists and turns, and I was glued to pages, but I thought the final reveal was rushed and there were a few things I wished would’ve been expounded on. The main focus of the Kovac and Liska series has always been the main mystery with a sprinkling of personal their personal lives. I do wish Tami Hoag would give them a love interest. I thought (hoped?) that maybe they’d fall in love with each other, especially now that they’re separated somewhat in their job. I guess I’ll have to keep wishing and hoping. Maybe in the next book?