Deeper Than the Dead by Tami Hoag
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Tami Hoag once again crafted a mystery that keeps the reader engaged from the opening when four elementary school children find a dead body in the woods until the last page.
The carefully posed body, half buried, head resting on a stone, with eyes and mouth glued shut, terrifies the children and their teacher. Their safe world in a nearly crime-free town in California is safe no more. The loss of innocence of both the children and the teacher extends into the town itself.
To help the police solve the crime, an FBI investigator who has helped pioneer a new profiling technique volunteers his time. Nearly crippled by the remnants of a bullet in his brain, he is not officially on the job because his doctor hasn't cleared him to work. But he is needed and so he travels from Quantico to California.
Clues pile up as to the identity of the killer, leading to a wild ride filled with red herrings and all the men in the novel falling under suspicion of being the killer.
Hoag offers a blend of a serial killer with a twist, a host of possible suspects, a teacher desperately trying to preserve her students' innocence and an FBI agent who needs to feel vital again. The blend works on all levels.
I listened to this on a long driving trip. I recommend it for long car rides or cuddling up on a dark winter night with a cup of cocoa and the lights on.