Terror stalks the streets of Bayou Breaux, Louisiana. A suspected murderer is free on a technicality, and the cop accused of planting evidence against him is ordered off the case. But Detective Nick Fourcade refuses to walk away. He’s stepped over the line before. This case threatens to push him over the edge.
He’s not the only one. Deputy Annie Broussard found the woman’s mutilated body. She still hears the phantom echoes of dying screams. She wants justice. But pursuing the investigation will mean forming an alliance with a man she doesn’t trust and making enemies of the men she works with. It will mean being drawn into the confidence of a killer. For Annie Broussard, finding justice will mean risking everything—including her life.
The search for the truth has begun—one that will lead down a twisted trail through the steamy bayous of Louisiana, and deep into the darkest reaches of the human heart.
Having begun her career as a romance author for Bantam's Loveswept line, Hoag has evolved into a fine thriller writer. Night Sins, set in rural Minnesota, was her entry into romantic suspense, and her palette became a lot darker when the protagonists reappeared in Guilty as Sin. This latest thriller wastes no time; it's creepy from the prologue, a tortured poem written by the murderer, which both establishes the tone and cleverly sets up the ending. A morass of obsessive love, brutality and planted evidence swirl around Annie Broussard, a pint-sized, by-the-book female deputy working in the sheriff's department of Louisiana's Partout Parish. Everyone in the parishDcitizens, cops and rogue detective Nick FourcadeDbelieves architect Marcus Renard, the man acquitted of torturing and killing 37-year-old realtor Pam Bichon, is guilty. When Annie arrests Nick while he's in the process of beating Marcus to death, she finds herself ostracized by her fellow cops and the townsfolk. Afterwards, both she and Nick are put on suspension and must join forces to uncover the truth about Pam's death. Hoag displays a firm grasp on localeDhere, it's the eccentricities and colorful slang of the Louisiana Bayou country. This isn't exactly a mysteryDthe reader doesn't have to work too hard to figure out who really did it, although the police don't until the final confrontationDbut there's plenty of suspense in waiting to see how it will all be resolved. Psychopathic villains are common enough, but Hoag has managed to endow hers with a scarred entourage that provides a tragic note.