New York Times bestselling author Tami Hoag returns with a thriller that begins with a shocking crime scene you'll never forget and follows two relentless detectives on a manhunt that ends in a chilling confrontation with the essence of human evil. PRIOR BAD ACTS It was a crime so brutal, it changed the lives of even the most hardened homicide cops. The Haas family murders left a scar on the community nothing can erase, but everyone agrees that convicting the killer, Karl Dahl, is a start. Only Judge Carey Moore seems to be standing in the way. Her ruling that Dahl's prior criminal record is inadmissible raises a public outcry - and puts the judge in grave danger. When an unknown assailant attacks Judge Moore in a parking garage, two of Minneapolis's top cops are called upon to solve the crime and keep the judge from further harm. Detective Sam Kovac is as hard-boiled as they come, and his wisecracking partner, Nikki Liska, isn't far behind.
A simple court hearing explodes into a multifaceted case at the start of this stunning meld of thriller and police procedural from bestseller Hoag. Shortly after Minneapolis judge Carey Moore decides that the many "prior bad acts" of accused serial killer Karl Dahl can't be used in his trial, Dahl escapes from jail and someone attacks Moore. Homicide cops Sam Kovac and Nikki Liska, introduced in Ashes to Ashes (1999), are assigned to protect the judge, whom the police hate for her liberal views. Moore's disintegrating marriage and her husband's shady business dealings lead the investigation in new directions, while more murders exacerbate the hunt for Dahl. Hoag, who began her career as a romance writer, has experimented with several mystery subgenres. Here she stands above the competition, creating complex characters who evolve more than those in most thrillers. The breathtaking plot twists are perfectly paced in this compulsive page-turner, which ends on a romantic note. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
Showing 1-2 of the 2 most recent reviews
1 . Great read!
Posted October 29, 2010 by Bill Hawkins , FresnoIt took awhile to get used to the characters, but then it moved fast. Super story line, hard to put down.
2 . 1st book I read from this author
Posted March 18, 2010 by Jacqueline , Okatie,SCThis was an unbelieveably great read. Fantastic story. Couldn't put it down. A fan for life.
February 26, 2007
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Excerpt from Prior Bad Acts by Tami Hoag
Fifteen months later
"He slaughtered a mother and two children."
Hennepin County prosecutor Chris Logan was a man of strong opinions and stronger emotions. Both traits had served him well in the courtroom with juries, not always so well in judges' chambers. He was tall, broad shouldered, athletic, with a thick shock of black-Irish hair now threaded with silver. Forty-five years old, Logan had spent twenty of those years in the criminal court system. It was a wonder he hadn't gone entirely white.
"I'm sorry," said the defense attorney, his sarcasm belying the expression of shock. "Did I miss something? When were we suddenly transported to the Dark Ages? Aren't the accused in this country still innocent until proven guilty?"
Logan rolled his eyes. "Oh, for Christ's sake, Scott, could you spare us the act? We're all adults. We all know each other. We all know you're full of shit. Could you spare us the demonstration?"
"Mr. Logan . . ."
Judge Carey Moore gave him a level look. She had known Chris Logan since they had both cut their teeth toiling as public defenders--a job neither of them had the temperament for. They had moved on to the county attorney's office as quickly as they could, and both had made their names in the courtroom, prosecuting everything from petty theft to rape to murder.
Sitting in the other chair across from her desk was another cog in the public defender's machine. Kenny Scott had gone in that door and had never come out, which made him either a saint battling for justice for the socially disadvantaged or a pathetic excuse for an attorney, unable to rise out of anonymity and go on to private practice. Having had him in her courtroom numerous times, Carey suspected the latter.
He looked at Carey now with the eyes of a mouse in a room full of cats. Perspiring, nervous, ready to run, scrambling mentally. He was a small man whose suits never fit--too big in the shoulders, too long in the sleeves--which somehow emphasized the impression that he was overwhelmed by his job or by life in general.
By the luck of the draw, he had gotten stuck with the job of defending the most hated man in Minneapolis, if not the entire state: a drifter named Karl Dahl, accused of the most heinous murders Carey had encountered in her career.
The scene had been so gruesome, one of the uniformed officers who had responded to the original call had suffered a heart attack and had subsequently retired from the force. The lead homicide detective had been so affected by the case, he had eventually been removed from the rotation and put on a desk job, pending the completion of psychiatric counseling.
"Your Honor, you can't allow Mr. Logan to circumvent the rules of law," Scott said. "Prior bad acts are inadmissible--"
"Unless they establish a pattern of behavior," Logan argued loudly. He had the fierce expression of an eagle.
Kenny Scott looked like he wanted nothing more than to bolt from the office and run for his life, but to his credit, he stayed in his seat.
"Mr. Dahl's previous offenses have nothing to do with this case," he said. "Criminal trespass? That hardly establishes him as a violent offender."
Logan glared at him. "What about possession of child pornography? What about breaking and entering? Window peeping? Indecent exposure?"
"He never killed anyone with his penis," Scott said.