Friday, January 1, 2016

Early Review of The Bitter Season (Kovac and Liska #5) by Tami Hoag

Title: The Bitter Season (Kovac and Liska)
Classification: Adult Fiction
Genre: Thriller/Murder Mystery
Series: Kovac / Liska
Format: Hardcover; 416 pages
Publisher: Dutton (January 12, 2016)
ISBN-10: 0525954554
ISBN-13: 978-0525954552
Author's Website:
Notes: I received an eARC loan from the publisher for reviewing purposes.

Once upon a time in November, the bitterest of seasons, one of Minneapolis' finest was gunned down in his own backyard. There were no witnesses. There was no DNA. There were no fingerprints. There were no clues. There was nothing to track down, so the case went cold. That is until now. Detective Nikki Liska is the lead detective in charge of the new cold case unit. Against her better judgement, Ted Duffy's murder will be her first case.

Meanwhile there is no rest for the wicked. A murder investigation is underway for the recent deaths of a College professor and his wife. Detective Sam Kovac is heading up the investigation, and it has all the trappings of a gory mess. Whether the couple's murder was random or the work of a newly minted serial killer remains to be seen. The horrific nature of the killings, however, will keep the city on edge until a murder suspect is found.
This is the fifth book in the Kovac and Liska series. The two former partners are dealing with the transition of doing their jobs without having the other to rely on. The two had worked together for a long time, and while they enjoyed working together,  Liska is looking forward to spending more time with her boys who are growing into young men right before her very eyes. The cold case unit offers her the opportunity to do what she does best---solve crimes, but with a less grueling schedule. If you haven't read the previous books in the series, don't worry. I had no prior history with the series and had no problem getting into and keeping up with what was happening.

Liska is a tough cookie who rolls with the punches and deals with what life throws at her. Kovac is tough as well, but is set in his ways. He's not happy about losing his partner and isn't making it easy on anyone forced to pair with him. Two potential partners have already transferred out of the unit, and he's presently working with a third. Between the two former partners, I think Kovac is having a harder time adjusting. 

Overall, I gave this one 4 out of 5 roses. This was a story that had me wondering whodunit until the bitter end. I tried to puzzle out the connection between the two cases, but the author had me stumped. Yes, I could figure out bits and pieces, but like a good jigsaw, I didn't get the complete picture until the last piece fell into place. That is just the sort of mystery I like best. It was fast paced, kept my attention, and had a twist I didn't see coming. The characters were likable and easy to connect with. I wish there'd been a few more bread crumbs along the way, but I guess that would have given the ending away. One of the devices the author used in this book is circles--how things come full circle. How the circle of life happens. I can't help but wonder if this is some type of foreshadowing. Since the author separated her two main heroes I wonder if  this signifies that one will go bad or die, if they'll end up working together again in the future, or if the series will split off into two separate series? I checked to see if perhaps this was the end of the series, but saw no evidence to suggest it. I guess we'll have to wait and see what Ms. Hoag has up her sleeve for these two. I, for one, am looking forward to it.

Order of the series:

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