I’ve read Tami Hoag’s earlier work and did enjoy them. But after reading the first chapter of “Down the Darkest Road,” I couldn’t believe I was reading the same author. While I do not feel the vital changes were completely due to a different series, I absolutely believe it was because Hoag found a voice that screamed success.Powerful…heart-wrenching…believable: just a few words to describe Hoag’s protagonist Lauren Lawton. She is faced with a mother’s worst nightmare when her eldest daughter Leslie is taken and never seen again. Her husband can’t stand the guilt and kills himself, leaving Lauren to take care of Leah, her youngest, and alone, nurse the hatred of the man who turned her life upside down, Roland Ballencoa.
Ballencoa appears blameless. He cannot be tied to the heinous crime and is free to stalk and select other prey. Lauren is out of her mind with grief and anger. She tries to turn the tables and go after Ballencoa herself. She hires a private investigator, who tracks down Ballencoa’s residence. And the stage is set. He invades her privacy…she invades his. He spies on her…she spies on him.
While Lauren is fixated on justice for Leslie, Leah suffers her own pain. Only fifteen-years-old, she is left without a sister and father and her mother doesn’t remotely appear like the woman who raised her.
While detective Mendez tries to help Lauren, he is unable to stop the bloodshed that would obviously come. Both Lauren and Leah fight the battle of their lives to save one other.
I believe the rating system is up to five stars, but I’m going outside that box and rate this book at least an eight. If you have time to read only one book, you really should make it this one. You won’t regret it.
Reviewed by Starr Gardinier Reina, author of “Deadly Decisions”