Jerry's Reviews > A Thin Dark Line

A Thin Dark Line by Tami Hoag
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Jul 05, 10

Read in January, 2005

Thrilling complex plot marred by ugliness, brutality, & hate...

This was our first crime thriller by Tami Hoag, but we can see why she is a successful author with over a dozen novels and a loyal fan base to her credit. Assuming "Thin Dark Line", set in Cajun Louisiana, is representative of her work, she crafts a complex, intriguing story that manages to hold one's interest until a suspenseful, twisty climax! In this tale, cops and potential perpetrators exchange roles so often one almost needs a scorecard to track the characters and who's out to get whom. Deputy Annie Broussard, for sure the heroine, is working secretly on her own to solve the murder of Pam Bichon, ostensibly killed in a brutal slaying at the hands of stalker Marcus Renard. After Renard gets off in court on a technicality, Detective Nick Fourcade nearly beats him to death, until Annie breaks it up and has to arrest her fellow officer for assault -- a step that severely alienates her with her already bigoted male colleagues. After both several more rape/murders, as well as numerous attacks on Annie, we don't know whether it's Renard, Fourcade, Bichon's husband, a copycat, or any number of suspicious cops (especially the womanizer Stokes) who may be the real bad guy. Whodunit is indeed a surprise, but only after Fourcade and Annie hookup, and work (and sleep!) together all book long chasing clues and red herrings alike.

We might have rated this book quite higher except for two gripes. Number one, the violence and ugliness, including obscenities and vulgarity, are really over the top - so ubiquitous in a book this long (just shy of 600 pages) it almost kept us from proceeding. Second, the combination of both man-hating on the part of virtually every woman character, and gender bashing by all the men on Annie, became so tiresome and offensive, we nearly quit on that score as well. Surely there's no place left in America where such overt and violent discrimination and harassment can occur with no one willing to step up and deal with it -- let's hope so anyway.

So all in all, a fine story along the lines of Patterson and Sandford's best work, but the entertainment value suffers to our taste from excessive vicious elements. Maybe the author herself crossed the "Dark Line" a few times during the word-craft!
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