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Down the Darkest Road (Oak Knoll #3)

4.02  ·  Rating Details ·  10,221 Ratings  ·  780 Reviews
Deeper Than the Dead introduced Tami Hoag's millions of fans to Oak Knoll, a small California town that, in the mid-eighties, seemed as idyllic as any... until the See-No-Evil killer shattered that notion. It took FBI agent Vince Leone and a new technique called "profiling" to put an end to the trauma.
Published December 27th 2011 by Findaway World (first published 2011)
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I'm not gonna lie. Since I got an eReader, I rarely grab books at the grocery store any more. My cart is pristine and guiltless except for the fact that I don't always buy organic. And I buy a lot of booze.

I make my shameful purchases in the dark at two a.m. and then record them here for the world to see. So I feel badly about adding this to grocery store impulse purchase shelf EXCEPT that I saw this at Ralph's and knew to download it. So it counts.

Dec 27, 2011 Amanda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
My least favorite book of the series. This book barely included any of the original characters. The main mystery was never really solved and the perpetrator in the novel were easily determined and stated from the beginning. I was let down with this book of the series.
Teresa Medeiros
Jan 13, 2012 Teresa Medeiros rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I know better than to start a Tami Hoag book when I want to accomplish anything else because once I started this one, I didn't want to put it down. I couldn't turn the pages fast enough. It was so nice to revisit characters from her former novels like Vince and Anne Leone and Mendez. What Tami does best is incorporate emotion into her stories. (Probably a gift from her years as a bestselling romance author.) Even when she's writing police procedure, it's never JUST procedure. You feel every emot ...more
Feb 10, 2016 Obsidian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Please note that I gave this book 3.5 stars. However, I rounded it up to 4 stars on Goodreads.

Down the Darkest Road is not my favorite Tami Hoag book and I think the reason why is that because I read the series out of order. I hate doing that. In my defense though I bought this at the bookstore and asked a sales associate if this was the first book in the series because the books are not identified in any way as number 1, 2, or 3. So this is my roundabout way of saying that Barnes and Noble, yo
Bill Garrison
DOWN THE DARKEST ROAD is Tami Hoag's third thriller in the Oak Knoll Series. The novel is set in the late 1980s long before the internet, cell phones, DNA testing and other advances made it easier to catch criminals. This book is by far the worst in the series. While the characters were interesting, it felt like it never got out of the first act. The first 350 pages seemed to be just a set up for the final 75 page finale. Some might claim the suspense was more psychological. I'm not claiming tha ...more
Jun 03, 2012 Meredith rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I am usually a big fan of Tami Hoag and have been following her novels for years, but this one is absolutely awful, mainly due to the presence of the most self-absorbed, navel-contemplating, sniveling protagonist I have encountered in long time...Lauren Lawson is so despicable that I had a hard time finishing this book. I did not care in the least what happens to this poor excuse for an adult human being, and this totally colors my interest in the other characters. Luckily the parts of the book ...more
Sandra  Valente
I absolutely loved this book even though it was completely heart wrenching. It's been a while since I have read anything by Tami Hoag and I felt like slapping myself for it, needless to say that I shall get my backside into gear. I've now realised that there were two books prior to this one with the first being 'Deeper than the Dead' and the second, 'Secrets to the Grave'. All I know is that I'm thankful it can be read as a stand alone. Vince Leone, an FBI agent and Tony Mendez, a detective - wh ...more
Dec 16, 2011 ♥Rachel♥ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley-e-book
Imagine having your sixteen-year old daughter abducted; disappear without knowing if or where she's alive. Imagine knowing who took her and not being able to do anything about it! This is the situation Lauren Lawton finds herself in for the last four years.

The Lawton family was once a happy family of four, husband and wife, with two daughters: Leslie and Leah, living a charmed life in Santa Barbara, California. Leslie being abducted has destroyed that. Lance, Lauren's husband couldn't take the
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Down the Darkest Road was kindly provided to me by Netgalley for Penguin Group (USA).

3.5 stars

Set in the early 90s, ‘Down the Darkest Road’ is the third installment in Tami Hoag’s ‘Oak Knoll’ series. Once again we’re thrown into the world of Vince and Anne and Mendez where the current investigation deals with missing 16 year-old Leslie who disappears without a trace and her mother Laura who is left to cope with her absence. This was definitely a he
Aug 25, 2016 Shaun rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2016, tami-hoag
The third in the Oak Knoll series, I actually thought this was the best.

Hoag has a talent for creating angst and tragic characters. Nothing new here, but then again something doesn't have to be new or different to be entertaining.

While occasionally cliche, I find her characters well-developed and likeable.

Bottom line: Solid mystery, heavy on the psychological suspense with just enough action to keep it moving.
Mar 09, 2016 Keri rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Down the Darkest Road was very hard to read, not because it wasn’t a good book. It was, but child abduction is never easy to read about….ever. Lauren and her 16 year old daughter, Leah, have moved to Oak Knoll to try and get away from the past 4 years. Four years ago Lauren’s daughter was kidnapped and she was never located. Two years ago Lauren’s husband died in an accident. The only thing that has been keeping her together was her hatred of the man that she knows had something to do with the d ...more
Sherri F.
Audio (MP3): This #3 in Oak Knoll series, but my first in this series & by this author, and it definitely won't be my last. It makes references to cases in #1 & 2, but detailed enough that it is not nec. to read first, but I plan to go back to them b/c liked story-telling style as well as re-occurring characters. Good, intense & haunting, esp. for parents of girls. Good read or listen (narrated by good & popular Kristen Potter); suspenseful page-turner. I look forward to others i ...more
Dec 06, 2015 Lorrie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Difficult to get out of my car with this audio CD playing. Found so many excuses to go somewhere for a bit. Sixteen year old female disappears without a trace. This catches your interest. The only reason for 4 instead of 5 stars is that the pervert in this book is so creepy and does such disgusting things, I felt slightly sickened sometimes. He is horrid!!! The ending is really done nicely. I'd love to recommend this book to people but the disgusting parts won't let me.
Jun 23, 2015 Becca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Written differently than the last 2 in this series, we know the perpetrator immediately. We can build a sense of hate & resentment against him, yet never truly find out what happened to his first victim.
A great twist at the end....
May 23, 2016 Silke rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Same like her other book...I love the style but I don't like the story because you know how it will end (who the murderer is...) I like a surprise at the end of the story......
Dec 19, 2011 Vivian rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lauren Lawton is a woman on the edge. Her eldest daughter has been missing for four years, presumed abducted and dead. Her husband died in an automobile accident two years ago. She clings to life for the sake of her younger daughter Leah and strives to obtain justice for her missing daughter Leslie in Down the Darkest Road by Tami Hoag.

Life isn't always fair and the justice system isn't always just. Lauren knows this better than others because the man she knows is responsible for her daughter's
Down the Darkest Road, another solid Tami Hoag offering, brings us back to the Oak Knoll setting of Deeper Than the Dead and Secrets to the Grave. Lauren Lawton has just moved to Oak Knoll with her daughter Leah, intending to exorcise the ghost of their past. Four years prior, Lawton's elder daughter Leslie was abducted and is still missing, and two years after the abduction, Lawton's husband died as well. However, Lauren and Leah's new life in Oak Knoll provides no relief -- on the contrary, it ...more
Gail Cooke
Jan 15, 2012 Gail Cooke rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Intense, gritty, terrifying - the latest in Tami Hoag’s Oak Knoll series is a page-turner par excellence. The time setting is the late 1980s - 90s when tracing by DNA had not been fully developed and information via computer was not as available as it is now. Hence, tracing a criminal was a much more challenging task for law enforcement officers. In this case, not only tracing but proving guilt.

We’re introduced to the story through the eyes of Lauren Lawton who writes, “Once upon a time I had
Susan Swiderski
Jul 23, 2016 Susan Swiderski rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I noticed that there are quite a few reviews saying this book was a huge disappointment. They say it wasn't Hoag's best work. Maybe not, but a Hoag's "not her best" is still pretty doggone good. Really. She is the queen of suspense.

Imagine the anguish: Law enforcement can't nail the pervert responsible for the disappearance of Lauren's sixteen-year old daughter Leslie. Even though they're pretty sure they know who did it, they can't prove it. No evidence. In her heart of hearts, every one of Lau
Dec 31, 2011 Donna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: suspense
If you are expecting this book to be like the first two in the series, you might be disappointed. I really enjoyed Deeper Than the Dead and Secrets to the Grave because of the recurring characters of Vince Leone, his wife Anne, and Tony Mendez. I especially liked Vince, and in this book, he does not appear until 250 pages have elapsed, and he hardly has any part in the story. Anne gets more page time, but she is rather generic here, like any kind woman you might meet in any book. Mendez has a gr ...more
Feb 10, 2012 Barb rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Tami Hoag can weave a tale! Lauren Lawton's daughter disappeared and has given up hope that anyone but herself will be the one to catch the culprit. The only thing that may really tie the man she believes is guilty is a tiny drop of blood in his van. The story takes place when DNA was just starting to evolve but they know more sophisticated testing is on the horizon, so rather than using up the blood, they are waiting until it can be "stretched" for more testing. Lauren really believes that this ...more
Jun 27, 2012 Debbie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's been quite awhile since I've read anything by Hoag...but a rainy day prompted me to pick this one up and give it a captured me from page 1 and I finished it up in less than 24 hours! Quite an edge of the seat read, with some frustrations along the way, both for the reader and the characters!

Lauren Lawton of Santa Barbara, CA once thought she had the perfect family...her husband Lance, Lauren and their girls...Leslie and Leah. Lauren's words describe the scene best "and then, as in

I received this book as a digital ARC from the publisher through Net Galley in return for an honest review.

This is the story of Lauren Lawton and her struggle to find her eldest daughter Lesley who has been missing for the last four years.

Since Lesley disappearance, the Lawton's family sufferance never ended, on the contrary. Lauren's husband wasn't able to cope with the lost of his dearest daughter and decided to end his life in a car accident.

In order to make a change in scenery, Lauren and he
Jan 25, 2012 Pat rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had a hard time when starting this novel, seemed like so much sadness, anger, and fear. I am a staunch Tami Hoag fan, so I wouldn't give it up. WOW. It picks up and never stops until the last page. We meet Lauren a very sad, broken, fearful woman, who has lost her daughter. Her husband's suicide haunts her, and she has such fear for her youngest child, it is like living in a jail cell. She feels such anger at her deceased husband, I felt, rightly so, since he took the cowards way out and left ...more
Jan 29, 2012 Kathy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Readers interested in psychology and psychological thrillers.
In 1986, Lauren Lawton's sixteen-year-old daughter, Leslie, went missing. Her bicycle was found along a country road, her body was never found. Two years later, Lauren's husband drove off a canyon bridge, unable to deal with the pain. Four years after Leslie's disappearance, Lauren and her daughter Leah are still living a life in limbo, not knowing what happened to Leslie, but knowing that the man believed responsible for her disappearance is still walking around a free man, still a danger to so ...more
Jan 08, 2012 Sally rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Four years ago, 16-year old Leslie Lawton was abducted. She was never found and no one was charged with her disappearance, however, one man, Roland Ballencoa, was a person of interest. Because DNA testing was still years away, with no evidence to tie Ballencoa to Leslie, Ballencoa walked.

But Lauren, Leslie's mother, knew in her heart that Roland Ballencoa had taken her daughter. After losing her husband in a car accident two years later and unable to remain in the family home with all the once h

Apr 27, 2012 Shannon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My pulse quickened reading this book! The third book in the Oak Knoll series, Down the Darkest Road is a pulse-pounding tale of mother's quest to bring justice to the man who abducted her daughter. Roland Ballencoa is guilty, but he has managed to escape arrest from a lack of evidence. He is smart and cunning, but his cunning can't escape the vengeance of a mother who has lost her child.

This book has less gore than the previous two books yet Hoag still manages to create a villian that will have
Jan 15, 2014 Cindy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Frightening plot (parent's nightmare), definitive characters, graphic sex (POV mostly), foul language, it's stand-alone & well-read (Kirsten Potter) in audio version. The title concerns the mother's decisions not just the tragedy - she is, easily, the most selfish character I've met in a novel - ever. It's ALL about her. I came to actively dislike her. I dislike 'the bad guys' (who doesn't?). I liked others, including the remaining child. Consequently, the author did succeed in making me "li ...more
Aug 12, 2012 Joni rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
As the mom of a daughter, the story of a child abduction couldn’t have drawn me in any faster. I stayed up until 4 in the morning finishing the book. Then I proceeded to check all the locks in my home. It’s so sad to know that this story, although it is fiction, is really happening in this world. There are so many children that are taken from their families and I cannot fathom what heartache those families live with.After four years of missing a daughter and then losing a husband, let alone bei ...more
Jan 05, 2012 Betsy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Betsy by: My mother
Ring-a-ding-ding! I cannot think of a better book then to start of 2012 then Tami Hoag's Oak Knoll#3 book!! LOVE this series and I'm sure I will not be disapointed!
LOVED this book!! I think this is the first time I have given 5 stars to a book 3 in a series. Tami Hoag writing just grabs a hold of you and does not let go. Even at the end I'm still wanting more. I hope I don't have to wait too long for another book on my favorite charaters of Oak Knoll!!
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Abduction of a daughter 2 20 Feb 04, 2014 04:50PM  
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Tami Hoag is the #1 internationally bestselling author of more than thirty books published in more than thirty languages worldwide, including her latest thrillers—BITTER SEASON, COLD COLD HEART and THE 9TH GIRL. Renowned for combining thrilling plots with character-driven suspense, Hoag first hit the New York Times Bestseller list with NIGHT SINS, and each of her books since has been a bestseller. ...more
More about Tami Hoag...

Other Books in the Series

Oak Knoll (3 books)
  • Deeper Than the Dead (Oak Knoll, #1)
  • Secrets to the Grave (Oak Knoll, #2)

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“Anybody can be a victim, and anybody can flog themselves. Big fucking deal. But you put one foot on a ladder and climb to the next rung. Then you've done something. Then you've made a difference. And then what happens matters. Otherwise, it's just old news, and nobody wants to hear about it.” 7 likes
“As Winston Churchill said, "If you're going through hell, keep going." I know from hard experience that can be the longest journey down the darkest road. And I have learned that sometime the shortest distance isnt' forward, but up.” 2 likes
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