Jun 16 2013 8:30am

Fresh Meat: The 9th Girl by Tami Hoag

Tami Hoag The 9th GirlTami Hoag's The 9th Girl is a police procedural and thriller featuring Detectives Sam Kovac and Nikki Liska of the Minneapolis Police Department (available June 18, 2013).

The 9th Girl is a hybrid story. First, there's the story of the girl herself. She's a Jane Doe (thus the title), possibly—but possibly not—the ninth victim of a serial killer known around the police department as “Doc Holiday” because he kills on the holidays. In fact, the girl is so badly disfigured that she gains the media nickname “Zombie Doe.” The details of the murder are not for the faint of heart.

All eyes went to the horror-movie still of Zombie Doe’s face taped to the wall as the centerpiece of a macabre montage.

“God help us,” Tinks muttered.

“He’d better,” Kovac said. “He already missed his chance with her."

Because of the disfigurement, identifying the girl takes longer than one might imagine and it is in the search for her identity, as much as in the search for her killer, that Sam and Nikki really shine.

This was what it would take, she knew. This was what they would have to do. They had to become this girl’s family. They didn’t know her name or the circumstances of her life or her death, but they had to become her family. They had to be the first line to keep her connected to the world of the living, or else she simply ceased to exist and the universe closed the tiny void left by her light going out, and it would be as if she never mattered. No one should ever die as if his or her life never mattered. Until they found a family to mourn her, the people dealing with her case would be her family.

As much as we can feel their sensitivity, we can also feel their anger over the waste of a precious young life.

“It doesn’t matter what I want,” Kovac said. “I want world peace. I want not to have acid reflux after eating pizza. Nobody gives a shit what I want. I want the truth. I want to know who this girl is and who killed her.”

There is a mystery here that needs to be solved, but this is primarily a book about people, not puzzles. People are at the heart of the book. We see more of Nikki's family than I recall from other books (though it has been a few years since the last Liska and Kovac book, so I could be wrong). Her children are growing up, and they don't have it easy. She feels guilty for leaving them, especially since her older son is having trouble at school with bullies. There is a flavor of desperation to her desire to help someone else's family as her own goes off the rails.

Meanwhile, Kovac is...Kovac.

“It’s an artistic form of self-expression,” Elwood said. “Tattoos are a road map of the bearer’s personal journey.”

“The kid who works the counter nights at my local convenience store has a tat of a snake wrapped around his throat,” Kovac said. “Apparently, his personal journey took a detour through hell.“

Kovac's humor is apt to be grim and deadpan, but it lightens the narrative nonetheless.

But this is not just a police procedural with a mystery to be solved. As I said, there is a second track. And on that track, the thriller track if you will, we meet ”Doc Holiday“ himself. If you read the short story that serves as the prequel to this book (The 1st Victim), you already know who the killer is. At least, you know his name and occupation and the like. And he has his own narrative that winds through The 9th Girl. But although readers know who he is, they don't know (at least for quite some time) whether he is responsible for Zombie Doe's murder.

While I found Doc Holiday's storyline the least interesting part of the book, I really enjoyed the whole ”did-he-or-didn't-he" aspect. It was something I'd never seen. And I do hope Liska doesn't worry so much about her family that she gives up being a detective...I, for one, would miss her.

This sweepstakes has ended. Please refer to our feature page for current opportunities.

To enter for a chance to win one of 3 hardcover copies of The 9th Girl by Tami Hoag, make sure you’re logged in as a registered member of the site, and then simply leave a comment below.

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NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A purchase does not improve your chances of winning. Sweepstakes open to legal residents of fifty (50) United States and the District of Columbia, who are 18 or older. To enter, fill out entry at beginning at 9:30 a.m. Eastern Time (ET) June 16, 2013. Sweepstakes ends at 9:29 a.m. ET on June 23, 2013 (the “Promotion Period”). Void outside of the 50 US and DC and where prohibited by law. Please see full details and official rules at Sponsor: Macmillan, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010

Catch up with more new releases in our Fresh Meat series.

Laura K. Curtis lives in Westchester, N.Y., with her husband and two madcap Irish Terriers who’ve taught her how easily love can co-exist with the desire to kill. She blogs at Women of Mystery and maintains a website at She can also be found on Twitter and poking her nose into all sorts of trouble in various spots around the web.

Read all posts by Laura K. Curtis for Criminal Element.

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2. mosaix
Tami Hoag-Yes!
Bob Alexander
3. rx_alex
Hoag writes damn good police-procedural thrillers.
shayne livingston
6. buggesi
oooohhhh i can't wait! i love her books!
Susan O'Bryant
7. susanaudrey
Tami Hoag is one of my favorite authors! This one sounds just as awesome as the rest of her books.
Linda Deming
8. lindem
I've have never read a Tami Hoag Book but have wanted to. Hope this will be my chance to do so.
9. Crystal Lope
I can't wait to check this out!
Bob Keck
11. ky2here
Zombie Doe + Tammy Hoag? I'm in, thanks for including me.
Colleen Welander
14. colleen31
Looks like a good summer afternoon read.
Patty wright
16. Patty wright
I've read a lot of her books and liked them all. She's a great writer. Would love to read her newest one
Starr Greenwell
17. greenhome
WOW, I would love to win this. Love Hoag.
lynn anderson
18. latimes
thanks for the opportunity to win this book
Melissa Darwin
21. turboterp
Tami Hoag's books are so suspenseful, they keep me up at night!
Jackie Wisherd
22. JackieW
A very interesting storyline. I think I might like reading this book.
William Hamilton
23. billham68
I am a real fan of Tami Hoag and look forward to reading her latest.
Lisa Richardson
24. keizerfire
I have loved Tami Hoag's books for a long time, and would love to win this one!
Jane Hixon
27. starsmom
Hoping to win this, but if I don't, I'll just have to buy it!! I'm a fan!!
Tabitha Jensen
28. pabkins
I read the 1st Victim short story preceding this - it was marvelous! I'd love to know what happens! It's the first of her work I've read!
Darlene Reid-Rericha
29. drericha
I love Tami Hoag's books. Would so love to win!
Kelley Tackett
30. tackettfamilyky
Tami Hoag + Tattoo = Me loving this book already!
Joyce Kenneson
32. BinkyJ45
Can't wait to read Tami Hoag's new book. It sounds very interesting!
susan king
35. poordaddy
Love Tami Hoag's books. Never end like you think they will. Once I start I can't stop reading until the end.
36. Laurine Martell
Love Tami Hoag...her books are so vivid, heartbreaking, and entertaining all at the same time :)
Karen Appleby
37. kkappleby
Would love to win this. Just finished two of her books, Deeper than the Dead and Secrets to the Grave, now I'm waiting for Down the Darkest Road, the Oak Knoll series. They're great. Hope I win!!
Anne Joyce
39. ajoyim
sounds good, I live in the Twin Cities and need me some "Tami Crime"!
Irene Menge
41. Goldenmane
Have never been disappointed by a Tami Hoag book. Thank you for this marvelous giveaway.
43. Dayna
Looks like it will be another great Tami Hoag read.
Dayna Foster
44. annieokie48
Can't wait to read the new Tami Hoag book
Pam Howell
45. phowell13
Several friend have recommended this author. I think it is time I start reading the books.
Anita Yancey
46. yellowrose29
I love Tami's books, and this one sounds so good. I would love to read it. Thanks for this chance.
Mary Ann Brady
47. mirahana
Would love to win this. Sounds really good.
Sheila Korman
48. skkorman
A new Tami Hoag book is ALWAYS good news—thanks for the opportunity to win a copy!
49. Becky LaSalle
I love a good mystery and Tami writes them!
McGuffy Ann Morris
50. nightprose
I would love to read & review a great mystery/suspense right now!
Patricia Nicklas
52. pmernick
I'm a fan of her books and am anxious to read this one.
Dan Carr
53. punky
I have not read any of her work, but am willing to try!
Don Gentry
55. traumadon
I've read Tami Hoag for years, Love her books !
susan beamon
56. susanbeamon
I've read her work and I've enjoyed it. Not sure if I've read any of this series, because I think she has written stand alone books. Still, would love to add this book to my library.
Pat Murphy
57. murphyp2011
Sounds like a good read. Haven't read any of her books recently
Sue Farrell
58. Suekey12
I'm always excited when I see a new book by Tami Hoag come out.
Juanita Foster
59. J.R.
I love Tami's books and always wait with anticipation for the next release. I'm looking forward to reading this.
Beverly Price
60. bocababe
I love Tami's books. I have read all of them. I would be happy to win her new one otherwise I will have to wait and buy it.
Marisa Young
61. Risa
Love her books. I Can't wait to read the latest.
Andrew Kuligowski
62. KuligowskiAndrew
Heard of Tami. Heard great things about her. But, in the last 10 years of avid reading, I haven't READ Tami yet. This sounds like a great way to start!
Juli Lear
65. jlear
This looks like a great book! Also, I love to read books that are set in Minnesota, an area I know well.
Jennifer Balmer
Tami Hoag has held my attention, appreciation and avid interest for many years. Her skill in the craft of mystery writing far exceeds the majority of others in the field. "Gifted" would be the most succinct assessment. Continued success to you Tami!!!!
Marie-Louise Molloy
68. Wezzie
A favorite author, would love to continue the story!!
Donna Bruno
69. dlbawiles
Can't wait to read Hoag's latest- would love to win it!
Heather Martin
70. CrystalMirror
Should be an interseting read from a very good writer.
Vickie Powell
71. aviatorteach
Can't wait to read her newest! I've been reading her books since the beginning! :-)
Jennifer Beers
72. jlb226
A friend gave me a book of hers awhile back to try, and I've been hooked ever since! They're always a great read!
Jennifer Beers
72. jlb226
A friend gave me a book of hers awhile back to try, and I've been hooked ever since! They're always a great read!
patricia gibby
73. pgibby1
I can't wait to read this book. Have read all her othr books.
Debbie White
74. dwhite56
Although I haven't read all her books, I am a huge fan of Tami Hoag's. I always "forget" how surprisingly engaging her stories are, and how much I enjoy her writing, until I read another of her books! I'd love to add 9th Girl to my library! Thanks for all you do!
Patrice Gottfried
75. pkg427
I'm a huge fan of Tami Hoag and have been waiting for her new book.
iris sachs
76. iris
I have been reading and enjoying Tami Hoag since her Loveswept days.
Jeremy Steadman
77. timanoclue1
I haven't read any of her books in a few years, but read them avidly awhile back. Now I remember why--and here's a chance to get back to them!
John Clark
78. sennebec
I have patrons at my library who would kill to get their hands on this book
Vernon Luckert
79. vl4095
Looks like just the kind of book I like!
Teresa Glenn-Harrell
82. tagharrell
I think this be a great book to read. Thanks, for doing the giveaway.
Beth Talmage
84. wordygirl
I have never read anything by Tami Hoag, but this would be a great chance to dive in. Thanks.
Joyce Mitchell
86. JoyceLm
Thanks for the review - I enjoy Tami Hoag's book.
lynette barfield
89. lynette
Love her books and would love a copy of this one
Jacki Robertson
91. jcr650
Love all the Tami Hoag books I have read so far, and am always looking to add to my collection.
erin f
93. efender1
love this author! Thanks for sharing!
Phyllis Sinclair
94. psinclair
I have enjoyed the books by Tami Hoag that I have read. The review makes meant to read this one, too.
Jeffrey Malis
95. bravejam
Enjoyed the excerpt! Looking forward to reading this... Thanks for the chance!
Ellie Wright
97. eswright18
One of my favorite authors! Can't wait to read this!
Susan Pertierra
98. orchidlady01
I look forward to reading the new Tami Hoag book.
Linda Kish
99. ljkish
I would love to read this. It sounds terrific.
100. Steve
I'm always glad when Tami Hoag has a new book coming out. Her books never let me down.
Merikay Noah
101. PopcornReads
Whoot - I'm really looking forward to this one!
Connie Saunders
102. cataloger
Sounds like another great read! Love, love, love Tami Hoag!!!!
Rosa Abraham
103. ravensfan
I really enjoy Tami Hoag's work. Would love to win this one!
105. mamadonie02
As I shelf in our local library, I can see how popular Tami Hoag is and would like to try a book of hers myself.
Steven Wilber
106. dragonreader
Haven't read anything by Tami Hoag before but this sounds really interesting. Will definitely check it out.
Deb Mosora
107. debmsra
I have never read Tami Hoag, but would like to!
Summer Grinstead
110. sumsum085
I love Tami Hoag and am excited for this book!
Amie Ward
111. Amie
I haven't read a Tami Hoag book in a long time. This reminds me that I have been missing out.
Marguerite Beal
Looking forward to reading Tami Hoag's book
114. Julie N.
I feel lucky.
116. Carving Gal
I, too, am looking forward to reading Tami Hoag's new book.
Mary Lauff-Thompson
117. mtl166
Love her books -this one sounds great
Vikki Parman
118. stormvikki
I enjoy her books, no doubt this one will be very entertaining.
121. Lfeller
Looking forward to the next Tami Hoag story.
Lorilynn Feller
122. Lfeller
Looking froward to the next Tami Hoag story!
Jane Schwarz
124. Janeschwarz
Sounds like a really great read. Thank you for the opportunity to win a copy.
Rosemary Simm
125. Ocalarose
Tami Hoag has been a favorite author of mine for many years. She writes a great book and I'm never disappointed. Hope I win this one.
Bruce Hamilton
126. deerwalker
Liska and Kovac ate back? I want so bad.

127. Ronda
I have been a fan of Tami Hoag since the early 90's can't wait to start this one...perfect for a summer read.
128. dschroed
would love to read this book!
Nancy Gonzalez
131. NancyNo5
Tami Hoag is an awesome writer. Excitied about the giveaway!
Linda Simons
132. Solver
Nothing like a great summer read of a police procedural by an author who knows how to keep your heart pumping in suspense.
133. Lynette C. Thompson
this looks like the perfect summer read...Cabin time on the lake
alicia marie
134. bamayankee
I love Tami Hoag and would love to win her new book : )
Tarah Manning
136. tarah716
I love her books - this one sounds like a great read as well!
Amie Ward
137. Amie
I love her books and this one sounds great!
Melissa Keith
139. melly801
I enjoy Tami Hoag's books immensely. THE 9TH GIRL sounds fantastic! This girl would love to win a copy!! :-)
Andrew Beck
140. queerbec
I enjoy mysteries that also delve a great deal into character which distinguishes them from strictly being police procedurals (and of course there's nothing wrong with a good, gripping police procedural as well!). This one sounds suitably perplexing, one that could keep a reader guessing!
Tiffany Duncan
143. Zoeypeacock
I'll be very happy if this comment works!
Karen Martin
145. tattwo
I love a good murder mystery. Thanks for the Tami Hoag giveaway.
Deb Yancey
146. dky65
Been awhile since I read a Tammy Hoag book, but looking forward to reading this one *S*
Brenda Tucker
147. rango3
A book by Tammy Hoag is a super read.
Lori Lowery
148. lori68
This one looks great. I can't wait to read it!
149. CherylMc
seems to be a good read
Susan Mahaffey
150. Smbirds
This appears to be another great novel from the author Hoag. . .
i would love to read this!
Brenda Elsner
155. brat52101
I love Tami Hoag books. Would love to add this one to my collection!!
kathy pease
156. klp1965
Thank you for the great giveaway please count me in :)
Cindi Hoppes
159. CindiHoppes
I like the "family" aspect of this book...
Thanks, Cindi
Shauntea Crutcher
160. tiac32
This seems like it will be a good read.
Carolyn Dileo
163. cbdileo
A book I will certainly read, regardless!
Buddy Garrett
167. garrettsambo
I haven't read any of the author's books but they sound great. Thanks.
Michelle Curry
170. pamichelle
I love Tami Hoag! Would love to read this book!
Heather Cowley
171. choochoo
Scary! Count me as part of this one!
Carol Gowett
174. clynsg
Don't think I have read anything of Hoag's--might be a good one to start with.
175. Marty Pedicini
I love Tami Hoag books!
Valerie Taylor Mabrey
176. vmkids
thanks so much
vmkids3 at msn dot com
Michele Baron
177. angel320
Tami Hoag books are great....this one will be a wonderful addition
Clydia DeFreese
179. clydia
sounds exciting....I'm looking forward to it...
Karen Appleby
180. kkappleby
Will you be posting the winner of this sweepstake?
Laura K. Curtis
181. LauraKCurtis
KK -- all winners are notified via email. Check the complete rules for the details!
Rose Milligan
183. harnessrose
I would love to win a copy of this book. Thanks for having the giveaway.

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