Secrets to the Grave (Oak Knoll series, BOOK 2)

SECRETS-TO-THE-GRAVEMarissa 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...

The follow-up to Deeper Than the Dead (2009) begins in November 1986. The See-No-Evil killer’s trial is nearing when a woman’s mutilated body is found. Detective Tony Mendez and FBI profiler Vince Leone, along with Vince’s wife, Anne (who in the first book was nearly done in by the accused See-No-Evil killer), race to find the perpetrator before he kills someone else.

The book is set a couple of decades later than Colleen McCullough’s Carmine Delmonico novels, but it shares the same premise. It’s a crime novel set in a time before computerized databases, instantaneous data sharing, and high-tech forensics. The story is well designed, although one of the big plot twists is very similar to twists in recent thrillers by Lisa Gardner and Linwood Barclay, and the characters are believable and (mostly) likable.

Oak Knoll series:
Book 1. Deeper than the Dead
Book 2. Secrets to the Grave
Book 3. Down the Darkest Road

Hoag does an excellent job of exploring how a shocking crime can affect a small community. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Hoag’s Night Sins cracked the New York Times bestseller list in 1995, and her next nine books followed suit. We make this one an odds-on favorite to extend the streak to 11 in a row.

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