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Ashes to Ashes (Kovac and Liska #1)

4.01 of 5 stars 4.01  ·  rating details  ·  39,085 ratings  ·  397 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
Paperback, 566 pages
Published June 23rd 2009 by Bantam Books (first published January 1st 1999)
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Mr. Perfect by Linda HowardHard Evidence by Pamela ClareUnlawful Contact by Pamela ClareAfter the Night by Linda HowardExtreme Exposure by Pamela Clare
Best Romantic Suspense
189th out of 1,292 books — 1,742 voters
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I Like Serial Killers
48th out of 602 books — 914 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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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
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
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

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
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!
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
Terri Powers
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
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
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
Bernadette Robinson
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
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.
Heather O....I love books
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
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
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
I normally like this style of story. I like the suspense, the twists and turns in plots and stories about officers. But this one seemed to tie in a few too many twists and turns in the who-dun-nit question. And for the leading lady Kate was just a bit too much in her 'tough man' persona.

The love interest line could have been put together better, I just never did feel the chemistry between Kate and Quinn. And the final twists in the end of who did it and who knew, was just too much.

Overall a dece
When a serial killer known as the Cremator turns from killing and burning prostitutes to the daughter of a billionaire, the hunt for the killer takes a more public and energetic turn.

Kate Conlan, a former FBI agent and current victim/witness advocate, is called in to work with a frightened and reluctant young girl, who stumbled away from the latest murder scene. The billionaire father of the victim has friends in the FBI and manages to get Special Agent John Quinn, hot shot FBI profiler, involv
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
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
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
Somehow, I feel like at the same time, this book deserves both a higher and a lower rating than what I've given it.

While it was a fairly engaging crime/mystery/law enforcement novel with an interesting premise (and outcome), overall it was... long. It just dragged on and on and on.

While this makes it abundantly clear as to how Hoag has grown as a writer since, it also means that though interesting, I don't know that I necessarily enjoyed the experience of reading Ashes to Ashes (as is evidenced
This book is the first in what has turned into a four book series featuring homicide detectives Kovac and Liska. I read the fourth one first, and liked it enough to purchase the first three.

What I like mirrored what I like about the fourth book. Characters are well drawn and dialogue is realistic. Kovac and Liska are likable characters, as are the other featured players in this serial murder mystery. Hoag pulls no punches in describing horrific crime scenes. The plot is generally plausible and
My review of this book and all of Tami Hoag's books will be the same: it's not great literature, just a fun, scary murder myster/thriller. Always a little steamy romance thrown in for kicks. She does a great job building suspense, creating flawed heroines that you want to root for, and writing bad guys that just might show up in your nightmares.
This was another plot driven novel like The Bodies Left Behind. I enjoyed it as entertainment. Again I compare it to watching a thriller action movie. Tami Hoag obviously follows a formula, but the few twists were nice. I don't find reading these types of novels very rewarding intellectually, but they are great fun now and again.
Nothing relaxes me more than a well-written, utterly-terrifying thriller and Ashes To Ashes really hit the spot. Taut - despite being 500-some pages long. Good dialogue. Solid characters. Witty in places. Liking this author a lot.
Jun 05, 2014 Delta rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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!
Eileen Rendahl
Made me remember why I loved Tami Hoag when I used to read more of her books. Great characters. Scary action. One of those books that you're still reading at 2 a.m. because you just don't want to put it down.
Creepy, suspenseful, attention grabbing . . . good, like usual Tami Hoag delivers :-) Unlike some books I was unable to guess the killer.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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#1 New York Times bestselling author Tami Hoag began her professional career writing for Bantam’s Loveswept line of romance novels. In 1988 her first novel, The Trouble With J.J. was published.

With fifteen consecutive New York Times bestsellers to her credit, Hoag has more than 35 million books in print, published in more than twenty languages worldwide. Her first thriller, Night Sins, was made i
More about Tami Hoag...

Other Books in the Series

Kovac and Liska (4 books)
  • Dust to Dust (Kovac/Liska, #2)
  • Prior Bad Acts (Kovac/Liska, #3)
  • The 9th Girl (Kovac and Liska #4)
Secrets to the Grave (Oak Knoll, #2) Deeper Than the Dead (Oak Knoll, #1) Guilty as Sin  (Deer Lake #2) Prior Bad Acts (Kovac/Liska, #3) Down the Darkest Road (Oak Knoll, #3)

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“I liked my house. I liked my stuff. I had to start over once. I don't want to have to do it again. But life says, ‘Tough bounce,' and what are my options? Take it on the chin and keep marching.” 3 likes
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