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Ashes to Ashes

(Kovac and Liska #1)

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  56,884 ratings  ·  840 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 o
Paperback, 566 pages
Published June 23rd 2009 by Bantam Books (first published March 2nd 1999)
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Becky Haskins No, however there are parts of romance in the book I would not consider it a romance.

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Average rating 4.05  · 
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 ·  56,884 ratings  ·  840 reviews

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Melissa (Mel’s Bookshelf)
FINALLY!! Back to reviewing following a long absence due to a difficult pregnancy and a huge bout of newborn induced sleep deprivation! I haven't had much of a chance to do anything except rock a screaming baby lately, so its so nice to be able to read a book. Or I should say, listen to an audiobook. Finding time to sit and read is still a little bit beyond me at the moment. But hopefully soon!

I had listened to another book by Tami Hoag last year, and I always wanted to read another. So when I w
Jan 09, 2015 rated it liked it
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 pol
Brian Steele
Jul 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
CD {Boulder Blvd}
3.5 stars rounded up....

A little long winded in some places where they are reviewing and reviewing their profiles and the witnesses. Sometimes it felt as though I had already read the analysis and did do some skimming. The plot has a lot of moving parts (characters) but it was fun trying to second guess who the serial killer was. I had identified one twist, but missed another as I really wanted someone else to be guilty. I liked Kovac and Liska and how their characters were portrayed. I liked Ka
Jun 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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...
Terri ♥ (aka Mrs. Christian Grey)
Dec 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio
So I really liked this book. I was captivated and taken on a journey. My guesses for who done it were all wrong. However, which is part of my 4 star rating is that it was too easy for the author to chose The Who done it. I've seen it be that way so many times, at least one aspect, I didn't think a seasoned writer would go there. Anyway, my other problem was with technology and pop culture references which dated the book.

Everyone had pagers including Cate who used a pay phone to return a page. No
Dec 10, 2008 rated it did not like it
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
Jan 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Even though this is called the first Kovac and Liska book it's really not. The book focuses on Kate Conlan who is a former FBI agent and her former lover Special Agent John Quinn. These two do appear in "Ashes to Ashes" but after that, I can't even remember if we see them again. This is a pretty good start to the series that stars Kovac and Liska. not everything is going to involve serial killers though, some of it just involves terrible people doing horrible things to someone else. I did love t ...more
Dec 31, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2010-reads
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
Paula Brandon
Oct 23, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
"Hey, there's a serial killer running around setting women on fire! But who cares! We have an unresolved relationship to discuss!"

I really liked Dust To Dust, which I had read before this, so when I went back to read the first book in the popular Kovac and Liska series, I was surprised to find our main characters were actually Kate Conlan and John Quinn.

And all they did was bicker about their past.

This was much more in the vein of Hoag's romance work before she moved into outright thriller/suspe
Mar 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This serial killer thriller is full of tension and I really didn't know who the serial killer was until the author wanted me to know. Well written Tami Hoag! This is the first book I've read by this author and I will look forward to the next one. Besides the thriller aspect I enjoyed the interplay between the police detectives and the relationship between FBI specialist Quinn and Kate the victim advocate.
Janie Johnson
Sep 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Jun 05, 2016 rated it it was ok
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
Jan 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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!
Jun 07, 2012 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
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
Sep 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
The dialogue between Liska, Kovak & their coworkers is always worth the read. ...more
Jan 13, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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.
Patrice Hoffman
May 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. This book isn't her typical Lifetime Movie/Book. It reads like a suspense novel with a hint of romance. Romance is way in the background in this book which makes it so much more enjoyable. I'm a sucker for a good romantic movie/book but... I want more suspense than romance or else I get really bored. Luckily this book was fast paced enough and didn't have the characters every move about some long lost love. Long story short I really enjoyed this book.
May 19, 2017 rated it did not like it
I am sorry but I had to stop reading this book. Gruesome and way too graphic. Decapitations. Torture. Live cremations. Excessive swearing and just silly language by the police officers involved. I won't repeat it here but highly inappropriate language. And the book is too long. I hope she goes well in the future with her writing. I have read others by her and they were a lot better.
Terri Powers
Apr 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Oct 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Frederick Masterman
Feb 28, 2009 rated it really liked it
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.
Jan 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime
Average novel, to read quickly and to forget. The idea is quite interesting, although, the potential not fully exploited. Many too long descriptions of places and some not interesting dialogues of the investigators. The descriptions of the ashed corpses a bit too literal. The strong point is the unexpected ending.
May 15, 2013 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! ...more
Jan 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Engrossing. Well written. Intelligent and sometimes humorous dialogs. Great read! To continue the series.
Amanda McGill
Oct 22, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: own, 2018
This had the potential to be a really great mystery thriller. The 600 page novel should have been cut by 200-300 pages and more time focused on solving the case and finding out who the killer is.

I was totally creeped out by the killer in this novel. First, you got his perspective on the case and boy was he scary! The media called him the Creamator and it wasn’t until his third victim, where the police and FBI get heavily involved.

I read the first 200 pages and I really considered giving up the n
Mar 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
3.5 stars.

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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

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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