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.

TIP: Since only comments from registered users will be tabulated, if your user name appears in red above your comment—STOP—go log in, then try commenting again. If your user name appears in black above your comment, You’re In!

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.



    T. Hoag’s books are great

  2. mosaix

    Tami Hoag-Yes!

  3. Bob Alexander

    Hoag writes damn good police-procedural thrillers.

  4. Gordon Bingham

    Great to see a new book from her!


    Would like to read it

  6. shayne livingston

    oooohhhh i can’t wait! i love her books!

  7. Susan O'Bryant

    Tami Hoag is one of my favorite authors! This one sounds just as awesome as the rest of her books.

  8. Linda Deming

    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!

  10. Crystal Lope

    I can’t wait to check this out!

  11. Bob Keck

    Zombie Doe + Tammy Hoag? I’m in, thanks for including me.

  12. L L

    Sounds intriguing

  13. cheryl wong

    looks like a good read

  14. Colleen Welander

    Looks like a good summer afternoon read.

  15. Linda White

    yup sounds interesting!

  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

  17. Starr Greenwell

    WOW, I would love to win this. Love Hoag.

  18. lynn anderson

    thanks for the opportunity to win this book

  19. Vicky Boackle

    looks fantastic.

  20. Starr Greenwell

    I really Hope i win this one.

  21. Melissa Darwin

    Tami Hoag’s books are so suspenseful, they keep me up at night!

  22. Jackie Wisherd

    A very interesting storyline. I think I might like reading this book.

  23. William Hamilton

    I am a real fan of Tami Hoag and look forward to reading her latest.

  24. Lisa Richardson

    I have loved Tami Hoag’s books for a long time, and would love to win this one!

  25. MaryC

    Love Tami’s books!

  26. Suzanne Gonneville

    Long Live TH!

  27. Jane Hixon

    Hoping to win this, but if I don’t, I’ll just have to buy it!! I’m a fan!!

  28. Tabitha Jensen

    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!

  29. Darlene

    I love Tami Hoag’s books. Would so love to win!

  30. Kelley Tackett

    Tami Hoag + Tattoo = Me loving this book already!

  31. Rebecca Peters

    This looks like a great read!

  32. Joyce Kenneson

    Can’t wait to read Tami Hoag’s new book. It sounds very interesting!

  33. Lu Swenson

    Love Hoag’s books.

  34. charles mitelhaus

    want to read it now!

  35. susan king

    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 🙂

  37. Karen Appleby

    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!!

  38. Karl Stenger

    I would love to read this book

  39. Anne Joyce

    sounds good, I live in the Twin Cities and need me some “Tami Crime”!

  40. vicki wurgler

    I love Tami Hoags books

  41. Irene Menge

    Have never been disappointed by a Tami Hoag book. Thank you for this marvelous giveaway.

  42. Anna Mills

    Every Jane Doe is a heartbreaker.

  43. Dayna

    Looks like it will be another great Tami Hoag read.

  44. Dayna Foster

    Can’t wait to read the new Tami Hoag book

  45. Pam Howell

    Several friend have recommended this author. I think it is time I start reading the books.

  46. Anita Yancey

    I love Tami’s books, and this one sounds so good. I would love to read it. Thanks for this chance.

  47. Mary Ann Brady

    Would love to win this. Sounds really good.

  48. Sheila Korman

    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!

  50. McGuffy Ann Morris

    I would love to read & review a great mystery/suspense right now!

  51. Barbara Bibel

    Tami Hoag is always fun.

  52. Patricia Nicklas

    I’m a fan of her books and am anxious to read this one.

  53. Dan Carr

    I have not read any of her work, but am willing to try!

  54. Patricia Hill

    Love Tami’s books

  55. Don Gentry

    I’ve read Tami Hoag for years, Love her books !

  56. susan beamon

    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.

  57. Pat Murphy

    Sounds like a good read. Haven’t read any of her books recently

  58. Sue Farrell

    I’m always excited when I see a new book by Tami Hoag come out.

  59. Juanita Foster

    I love Tami’s books and always wait with anticipation for the next release. I’m looking forward to reading this.

  60. Beverly Price

    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.

  61. Marisa Young

    Love her books. I Can’t wait to read the latest.

  62. Andrew Kuligowski

    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!

  63. Doris C. Losey

    always enjoy Tami Hoag books

  64. Kristen Heyl

    Great giveaway..I would love to win 🙂

  65. Juli Lear

    This looks like a great book! Also, I love to read books that are set in Minnesota, an area I know well.

  66. 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!!!!

  67. Sally Kohlenberg

    sounds awfully good

  68. Marie-Louise Molloy

    [b]A favorite author, would love to continue the story!![/b]

  69. Donna Bruno

    Can’t wait to read Hoag’s latest- would love to win it!

  70. Heather Martin

    Should be an interseting read from a very good writer.

  71. Vickie Powell

    Can’t wait to read her newest! I’ve been reading her books since the beginning! 🙂

  72. Jennifer Beers

    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!

  73. Jennifer Beers

    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!

  74. patricia gibby

    I can’t wait to read this book. Have read all her othr books.

  75. Debbie White

    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!

  76. Patrice Gottfried

    I’m a huge fan of Tami Hoag and have been waiting for her new book.

  77. iris sachs

    I have been reading and enjoying Tami Hoag since her Loveswept days.

  78. Jeremy Steadman

    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!

  79. John Clark

    I have patrons at my library who would kill to get their hands on this book

  80. Vernon Luckert

    Looks like just the kind of book I like!

  81. Judith Barnes

    Hoag always spins a gripping story.

  82. Ilene Harris

    Hope I win, looks good.

  83. Teresa Glenn-Harrell

    I think this be a great book to read. Thanks, for doing the giveaway.

  84. Lisa Garrett

    I love Tami’s books!

  85. Beth Talmage

    I have never read anything by Tami Hoag, but this would be a great chance to dive in. Thanks.

  86. tom coady

    ive alwas enjoyed her work

  87. Joyce Mitchell

    Thanks for the review – I enjoy Tami Hoag’s book.

  88. Linda Rodriguez

    Looking forward to another Tami Hoag book.

  89. Joanne Mielczarski

    I’m ready to read this book.

  90. lynette barfield

    Love her books and would love a copy of this one

  91. carol bondell

    I love all of her books

  92. Jacki Robertson

    Love all the Tami Hoag books I have read so far, and am always looking to add to my collection.

  93. Suzanne Rorhus

    I’m looking forward to this one!

  94. erin f

    love this author! Thanks for sharing!

  95. Phyllis Sinclair

    I have enjoyed the books by Tami Hoag that I have read. The review makes meant to read this one, too.

  96. Jeffrey Malis

    Enjoyed the excerpt! Looking forward to reading this… Thanks for the chance!

  97. Georgia Sentell

    I love Tami Hoag

  98. Ellie Wright

    One of my favorite authors! Can’t wait to read this!

  99. Susan Pertierra

    I look forward to reading the new Tami Hoag book.

  100. Linda Kish

    I would love to read this. It sounds terrific.

  101. Steve

    I’m always glad when Tami Hoag has a new book coming out. Her books never let me down.

  102. Merikay Noah

    Whoot – I’m really looking forward to this one!

  103. Connie Saunders

    Sounds like another great read! Love, love, love Tami Hoag!!!!

  104. 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.

  106. Steven Wilber

    Haven’t read anything by Tami Hoag before but this sounds really interesting. Will definitely check it out.

  107. Deb Mosora

    I have never read Tami Hoag, but would like to!

  108. Lori Myers

    Would love to read this!

  109. shelly mccann

    always enjoy tami hoag books

  110. Summer Grinstead

    I love Tami Hoag and am excited for this book!

  111. Amie Ward

    I haven’t read a Tami Hoag book in a long time. This reminds me that I have been missing out.

  112. Judie McDonald

    Another good read!

  113. Marguerite Beal

    Looking forward to reading Tami Hoag’s book

  114. Julie N.

    I feel lucky.

  115. Jamie Gates


  116. Carving Gal

    I, too, am looking forward to reading Tami Hoag’s new book.

  117. Mary Lauff-Thompson

    Love her books -this one sounds great

  118. Vikki Parman

    I enjoy her books, no doubt this one will be very entertaining.

  119. Desmond Warzel

    Count me in, please!

  120. Allison Moyer

    Tami Hoag is a master of suspense!

  121. Lfeller

    Looking forward to the next Tami Hoag story.

  122. Lorilynn Feller

    Looking froward to the next Tami Hoag story!

  123. Saundra K. Warren

    Love her books!

  124. Jane Schwarz

    Sounds like a really great read. Thank you for the opportunity to win a copy.

  125. Rosemary Simm

    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.

  126. Bruce Hamilton

    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!

  129. theresa norris

    I’m a fan of this authors work.

  130. Joyce Benzing

    Yay Tami Hoag!

  131. Nancy Gonzalez

    Tami Hoag is an awesome writer. Excitied about the giveaway!

  132. Linda Simons

    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

  134. alicia marie

    I love Tami Hoag and would love to win her new book : )

  135. Lisa Pecora

    This sounds so good. I’d love to read it!

  136. Tarah Manning

    I love her books – this one sounds like a great read as well!

  137. Amie Ward

    I love her books and this one sounds great!

  138. paul sproul

    Perfect Beach Read.

  139. Melissa Keith

    I enjoy Tami Hoag’s books immensely. THE 9TH GIRL sounds fantastic! This girl would love to win a copy!! 🙂

  140. Andrew Beck

    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!

  141. Joe Hauser

    Very nice!

  142. Cheryl Greenleaf

    Tami Hoag has a new book ~ yipee!

  143. Tiffany Duncan

    I’ll be very happy if this comment works!

  144. jane

    I’d like to read Tami Hoag.

  145. Karen Martin

    I love a good murder mystery. Thanks for the Tami Hoag giveaway.

  146. Deb Yancey

    Been awhile since I read a Tammy Hoag book, but looking forward to reading this one *S*

  147. Brenda Tucker

    A book by Tammy Hoag is a super read.

  148. Lori Lowery

    This one looks great. I can’t wait to read it!

  149. CherylMc

    seems to be a good read

  150. Susan Mahaffey

    This appears to be another great novel from the author Hoag. . .
    i would love to read this!

  151. Claudia Russell

    I have been a fan for years

  152. Susan Smith

    Sound great

  153. Daniel Morrell

    sounds like a fun one!

  154. Mihaela Day

    I’m a fan of her books

  155. Brenda Elsner

    I love Tami Hoag books. Would love to add this one to my collection!!

  156. kathy pease

    Thank you for the great giveaway please count me in 🙂

  157. Ed Nemmers

    I would love to read the work of Tami Hoag!

  158. Tricha Leary

    love it

  159. Cindi Hoppes

    I like the “family” aspect of this book…
    Thanks, Cindi

  160. Shauntea Crutcher

    This seems like it will be a good read.

  161. Taylor Duncan


  162. Helen Gibbs

    Sounds like a really good read.

  163. Carolyn Dileo

    A book I will certainly read, regardless!

  164. cassandra mccann

    I would love this

  165. Debra Kidle

    Love a who dunnit!

  166. Daniel Vice

    This looks great

  167. Buddy Garrett

    I haven’t read any of the author’s books but they sound great. Thanks.

  168. Sand Lopez

    This sounds like a good one!

  169. Tim Moss

    Count me in!

  170. Michelle Curry

    I love Tami Hoag! Would love to read this book!

  171. Heather Cowley

    Scary! Count me as part of this one!

  172. Erin Cook

    sounds like a great book

  173. Kat Emerick

    I would love to read this book!

  174. Carol Gowett

    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!

  176. Valerie Taylor Mabrey

    thanks so much
    vmkids3 at msn dot com

  177. Michele Baron

    Tami Hoag books are great….this one will be a wonderful addition

  178. Susan Smoaks

    i would love to read this

  179. Clydia DeFreese

    sounds exciting….I’m looking forward to it…

  180. Karen Appleby

    Will you be posting the winner of this sweepstake?

  181. Laura K. Curtis

    KK — all winners are notified via email. Check the complete rules for the details!

  182. Cynthia Teer

    Please enter me.

  183. Rose Milligan

    I would love to win a copy of this book. Thanks for having the giveaway.


  184. Joanne Mielczarski

    Sounds like a great book!

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