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Ashes to Ashes (Kovac and Liska #1)

4.03  ·  Rating Details ·  47,479 Ratings  ·  549 Reviews
He performs his profane ceremony in a wooded Minneapolis park, anointing his victims, then setting the bodies ablaze. He has already claimed three lives, and he won't stop there. Only this time there is a witness. But she isn't talking.

Enter Kate Conlan, former FBI agent turned victim/witness advocate. Not even she can tell if the reluctant witness is a potential victim or
Hardcover, Large Print
Published December 31st 1999 by Wheeler Publishing (first published January 1st 1999)
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Jan 12, 2015 Mo rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 wish it could have been better stars.

I wish I could have given this book a higher rating. I think I have been spoiled by SB and her suspense books. This was well written but, to me, it could have been about 30% shorter. Way too long, way too many details in the first half of the book. Not enough time with Quinn and Kate.

Some killers are born. Some are made.

I will try more from this author. Maybe check out a shorter book the next time.

The series is called "Kovac/Liska" - based on two police
Brian Steele
Jul 31, 2011 Brian Steele rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
My co-worker and I were always baffled by this book. Running a small used bookstore, we never understood why we had seven copies of this title - and no other Tami Hoag. When an eight one rolled in, I decided I had to know. It was either a horrible disappointment or was go good that it had been issued to every mystery fan in the area.

I read it. It was the latter.

A vicious serial killer, wonderfully realized characters, city-level political intrigue, and one of those introspective romances. I can
Oct 13, 2016 Shaun rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2016, tami-hoag
4.5 bumped up. Good stuff. Believable cast of characters, lots of tension and suspense. Nice details. Very competently written. The only criticism is I thought the killer turned out to be too much of a cliche. Also thought the sex scenes were a little over the top. You know, where both characters climax together and the world moves and fireworks explode in the sky kind of sex...
Dec 10, 2008 Janice rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pure-garbage
never underestimate the taste of the American public for pure garbage. The writing sucks, the characters suck, but somehow.....they keep buying it.

This may be one of the most horribly written books I've had the displeasure to read. I really tried to give it a chance since a friend told me how much she enjoyed it.....needless to say, I won't follow her advice re what to read again!!!!!

I was trapped at home while out on disability and had nothing else to read--that is the only thing that made me s
Teresa in Ohio
Wish I could rate this book higher, knowing this author wrote a better book in later years. This one was just painful to read and need some serious editing help. Cut two hundred pages, change the route to the killer and it would of been a better read for me. Many people recommend this writer, but this book didn't support the recommendations. We have a killer called the Creamator by the media, but his third choice of the victim is what brings this case to the forefront of the homicide division an ...more
Ashes to Ashes
2 Stars

A killer known only as The Cremator tortures his victims and sets them on fire. Victims advocate Kate Conlon is called in to help a reluctant witness to the latest murder. However, things are not at they seem and Kate, together with FBI profiler John Quinn ,must get to the truth before Kate becomes the next victim.

The book is 200 pages too long.

The serial killer plot has potential but becomes bogged down with the characters internal dialogue that is repetitio

Mais um cartucho da Tami Hoag explodido, sendo este o melhor que já li, apesar de me ter custado a avançar mais depressa do que o esperado, por motivos que já vou explicar mais à frente.

Trata-se de um policial de elevada qualidade e inteligente, muito bem estruturado, com uma variedade de fortes suspeitos a fim de nos baralhar e dar volta.

Tudo começa com uma adolescente a fugir de pânico... Ela tinha testemunhado um homem a fazer um ritual matando uma mulher com fogo. Foi o que esta testemunha
Jul 22, 2016 Jeanette rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is more a case of I don't care for the pace and language than it being a poor mystery copper read.

It's her style of writing (long worded and redundant) and the fact that all of that gets doubled down by the subject matter.

VERBOSE! And for me, when I am reading I find the pattern of quips in the constant dialog just annoying as hell.

Take a usual TV sit. com. You know how they have the line and then the laugh track. Then the straight line, then the quip. Then the laugh track. Then the insu
Rabbit {Paint me like one of your 19th century gothic heroines!}
Rating: 3.5

Review to come.

ETA (1/23/16): Son of a mother hen- My actual review was eaten. My shelves were saved but not my review.



The way the book mocked prostitutes and those who want to help them actually receive help from law enforcement was deplorable. [insert small rant]

I was indifferent to most of the characters tbh. Meh.

My favorite part was the actual plot, I could not stop reading. The plot twists were very good.
Jun 18, 2012 Faith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
a great opening line "Some Killers Are Born. Some Killers Are Made"

this is one of my top favrite books!

the descriptions of the "Cremator's" work will have you smelling the stench.

this is for sure a "grab you by the throat" suspense thriller that will keep you guessing till the end!
Jan 13, 2009 Kris rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 24, 2012 Jonetta rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-suspense
There's a serial killer loose in Minneapolis and now he's broken pattern and abducted and presumably killed someone other than a prostitute. Now he's got the attention of the community, law enforcement and the press, and a new moniker...The Cremator, because of what he does to his victims after he's killed them. The atmosphere is now so politically charged the top guns are being assigned. Kate Conlan, a former DC FBI agent, now victim/witness advocate for the city, is assigned to work with the k ...more
Terri Powers
Apr 28, 2013 Terri Powers rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It had me from "Some killers are born." The story follows Kate Conlan, former FBI agent turned victim/witness advocate, a no-nonsense, person grimly hiding her soft insides by being tough on the outside. Things get complicated when she is asked to sponsor a young girl, a homeless runaway who witnesses a hellish event, and oh by the way work with her ex-lover, John Quinn FBI's supervisory special agent from Quantico, on assignment in Minneapolis-St. Paul to profile the serial killer responsible f ...more
Janie Johnson
Nov 30, 2013 Janie Johnson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013-challenge
I have been buying Tami Hoag books for awhile and just have never gotten around to reading them. So I finally chose a book and got to it. Ashes to Ashes is book 1 in the Kovak and Liska series, and I am so glad that I finally decided to pick one up and read. Tami Hoag is a brilliant writer.

I loved the characters in the book. I also loved the premise of the story. I also loved the twists in this book. The premise of the story, to catch the Cremator. A serial killer so twisted he puts the best vil
Oct 04, 2008 Shana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was my first reading from Tami Hoag. Wow. Master of building alluring suspense, mystery, romance, and depravity combined with intriguing personalities (villians and do-gooders alike) falling under precarious circumstances that elicit powerful and full spectrum emotional responses from the reader. Amoral and nightmare-inducing descriptions of crimes that at times were difficult to consume due to their graphic nature and realism. My only critique is that the writer tended to be a bit repetiti ...more
Carl Alves
Ashes to Ashes is yet another in a long line of serial killer novels. Based on the way the subject is handled in modern fiction, you would think that every fourth person in the United States is a serial killer. Most serial killer novels I have read are weak. Unfortunately this novel falls into that category.

In this case, a serial killer in Minnesota performs ritualistic ceremonies on his victims and then sets them on fire. One of his victims, the daughter of a billionaire, manages to escape the
Bernadette Robinson
Dec 05, 2012 Bernadette Robinson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller
This is the first in the Kovac/Liska series. I read the third in this series some time ago and am reading the books out of sequence.

I enjoyed the story, at 570 pages it's by no means a short novel but for me it was a page turner. With plenty of twists and turns I was pretty certain I knew who the Cremator was but I was wrong.

I found the novel well written and felt that the characters were very believable. With a good mix between the narrative and the dialogue driven parts.

I'm looking forward to
Sep 20, 2015 Vicky rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow! This was a really suspenseful book, a nail-biter until the end. I have read the books in Tami Hoag's Oak Knoll series and enjoyed them, but those books did not give me a complete clue as to Hoag's skills in writing thrillers. What first enticed me into reading this book was the setting -- Minneapolis MN. Minnesota is my home state and I worked for the last ten years of my career in downtown Minneapolis, so books set in my "neighborhood" are always of interest (for example, John Sandford's P ...more
Frederick Masterman
Though this book was written several years back, when 'serial killer themes' were highly popular, the work holds up well, due to the considerable skills of the author. Plenty of gore and grit, lots of tension and suspense. The romantic subtheme is predictable, but a pleasant element in the midst of the pace of the thriller. Familiar characters balanced with the new make this a very enjoyable read for fans of Tami Hoag, one of my favorite authors.
Johnny Williams
Well well well-- this is the first book in a series-- will I read number 2? Why heck yes--can't wait. Tami is a great mystery thriller writer I have missed for some reason. I wont miss any more if this one is of any indication of what is next.

Yes--another cop serial killer-- just like all the rest--NOPE-- Tami fills this novel with every twist and turn you can imagine-- the difference is she leads you right down every twist and dead end just as if you were the investigator--no hint that you are
Jun 05, 2014 Delta rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of mystery/thrillers
Recommended to Delta by: 50-state reading challenge
Ashes to Ashes is a murder-mystery/thriller that will keep you guessing and on the edge of your seat!
Engrossing. Well written. Intelligent and sometimes humorous dialogs. Great read! To continue the series.
Narrator: David Colacci

I've not read a Tami Hoag since the 90s after she stopped writing romances. Back then I was exclusively a romance/romantic suspense reader so I dropped Hoag from my reading list. Until yesterday.

I chose to try the Kovac and Lista series only because I far prefer male narrators and 5 of the current 6 audiobooks are narrated by men. The exception is Cold, Cold Heart which narrated by Julia Whelan who I do like among the female narrators.

Mike Finn
Jul 15, 2016 Mike Finn rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, audio-book, dnf
I bought this because the series is popular, had it for $4.95 and I was in the mood for something new.

It turned out that this wasn't what I was in the mood for and even$4.95 seemed to much to pay.

If "Ashes To Ashes" was a much shorter book, it would make an average, serial killer, police procedural novel. At its present length it grinds along at a very slow pace with way too much detail being given to the gruesome bits. The book has all its clichés lined up: twisted but intelligent s
Heather L
I'd like to give this a 3.5 rating. I like this book. But I don't know if I'm prepared to put the word "really" in front of that statement.
I first met Liska and Kovac when I picked up the audiobook "The 9th Girl," from my library so my introduction to them was out of the series' sequence. However, that did not deter me from starting at the beginning for these books can stand alone quite well.

I took to the duo right away. And this story was no different. It's always fun to be with characters who
Madison (The Chronic Re-Reader)
Reading this book has confirmed two things for me: I love mysteries, and I am never ever reading anything in this series ever again.

Why the 4 stars then?

For starters, Tami Hoag is a very gifted writer. Maybe more importantly, she is also an incredible plotter as well. This book was fast paced, intense, and one of the most frightening things I have ever read. Back in high school I discovered this in a box of crime fiction paperbacks that my grandma had stored in her basement. The plot sounded goo
Jul 25, 2014 Robin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: suspense, 2012
Two prostitutes have been murdered. Their bodies burnt. The media has dubbed the killer "The Creamator". But the murders do not hit the front page until another body is found and the daughter of Billionaire Peter Bondurant is believed to be the third vicitm. Detectives Sam Kovac and Nikki Liska are working around the clock to solve this crime. A witness to the crime is unwilling to tell the police what she saw. Victim/Witness advocate Kate Conlan is on hand to help her through the ordeal. But Ka ...more
Aug 18, 2013 Jessie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
So I liked this book, possibly more than the 3 stars indicates. The characters were good and so was the mystery. Was I not in the habit of skimming the last chapter midway through, I would have been duly shocked by the reveal. I think the weaknesses were mainly in the writing style. The POV from the killer was so intermittent that it didn't do anything for me and the tense shift interrupted the flow of the rest of the book. Sometimes the descriptive language tried too hard, particularly when pai ...more
Selvakumar Subramanian
I liked it for the most part and of course, like most thrillers these days (oh, I read it way back ) lead to a disappointing ending. I liked its twin tracks of mysterious killings and romance between the leads who pursue the killer. It was kind of too good :) up to a point or it might be my relative immaturity as a reader I am not so sure. Anyway, some portions gave me the chills too when reading late into the night. So make your call :)
Nov 09, 2015 Zarinah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good mystery detective read. It is along the lines of James Patterson's murder women club. So the great thing about this plot mystery crime murder is who did it? who's doing it , ? The author makes a good case that several people are suspect . And of course me being me I'm screaming at the book saying it's him I know it's him. But I read another scene and I begin with a new hypothesis. And of course I'm wrong. As the plot unraveling I'm completely shocked and argue that can't be and the author ...more
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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

Kovac and Liska (5 books)
  • Dust to Dust (Kovac and Liska, #2)
  • Prior Bad Acts (Kovac and Liska, #3)
  • The 9th Girl (Kovac and Liska, #4)
  • The Bitter Season (Kovac and Liska, #5)

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