n Staff Picks

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Staff Picks

This section is intended to highlight books that various staff members have read and enjoyed. As everyone has different tastes, the books reviewed here will reflect that diversity. We hope you enjoy them as much as we did.

Deeper Than The Dead

by Tami Hoag

Tami Hoag’s latest is set in the world of 1985 California, where a small town’s peaceful existence is shattered when four children find the body of a young woman in the woods near the school. Soon Vince Leone from the FBI’s recently created profiling unit arrives to assist the investigation, and school teacher Anne Navarre is drawn into it also.

The book takes place during the early years of profiling, and while it is a widely known and accepted practice today, in 1985 it was relatively new and was still meeting some resistance with local authorities. The title, “deeper than the dead”, refers to the fact that the FBI’s profiling unit was initially housed deep underground and its agents were said to work in a place that was deeper than the dead.

By placing the book in the world of 1985, Hoag immerses us in a time before much of the technology we take for granted today was available; for example, computers and the Internet and all the databases law enforcement agencies now depend on were non-existent for all practical purposes, DNA analysis and numerous other technologies were just on the cusp of being developed. Even cell phones were still in there early years and not yet popular; in fact, they were so big they had to be carried around in their own suitcase. For those readers who grew up in today’s world of technology and instant communication, 1985 will be a very unfamiliar place; for readers that are a bit older, looking back on this time is a trip down memory lane.

This book is reminiscent of one of her earlier books, Night Sins, which was also a well-written story set in a seemingly peaceful small town that harbors evil. People can’t believe that one of their own would do such a thing. Both books keep you guessing until the end. The books explore the effects of a murder on the children who discovered it and their families and others who never expected to have to deal with such events. The same theme of evil lurking beneath the seemingly peaceful surface of a small community is present, and in each a community must confront the idea that one of their own is capable of these kinds of actions.

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