Book review: The Boy by Tami Hoag

Wednesday, January 2, 2019 Permalink

Bizarrely I’ve not read many books by the v.popular and talented Tami Hoag. I’m not sure why as those I’ve read I’ve enjoyed.

In my last review (Lucifer Falls by Colin Falconer) I commented on the fact I prefer discovering a series as it launches so I don’t drop in part-way through. I was worried, as this was the second in Hoag’s latest series, but it didn’t matter. I’ve certainly missed some context – I’m not sure if the first was set directly before this or several years before when our two lead characters meet / marry for example – but it had me riveted all the same. 

Book review: The Boy by Tami HoagThe Boy
by Tami Hoag
Series: Broussard and Fourcade #2
Published by Trapeze
on December 27th 2018
Source: Hachette Australia
Genres: Crime Fiction, Police Procedural
ISBN: 9781409169635
Pages: 483

In the sleepy Louisiana town of Bayou Breaux, a mother runs to her neighbour - bloody and hysterical. The police arrive to find Genevieve Gauthier cradling her seven-year-old son in her arms as he bleeds to death.

Detective Nick Fourcade finds no evidence of a break-in. His partner Detective Annie Broussard is troubled by parts of Genevieve's story that don't make sense. Twenty-four hours later teenager Nora Florette is reported missing. Local parents fear a maniac is preying on their children, and demand answers from the police.

Fourcade and Broussard discover something shocking about Genevieve's past. She is both victim and the accused; a grieving mother and a woman with a deadly secret. Could she have something to do with the disappearance of teenager Nora Florette?

Hoag’s ability to place we readers into the book’s setting… in this case Louisiana’s French Triangle (Cajun country) resplendent with unremitting claustrophobic humidity and a sense of foreboding reminded me of Australian author’s Candice Fox’s brilliant scene-setting in Crimson Lake (set in Far North Queensland, also home to crocodiles and swampy things!).

I enjoyed the French (Hoag mentions Cajun French ) interjections throughout the novel as it wasn’t something I’d experienced before in books set in the US.

The two lead characters (Nick and Annie) are strong. Hoag obvious established Nick’s personality in the first book in the series (or perhaps he was introduced via another series) as she seems comfortable writing him… keeping his anger simmering but under control.

We’re also in the head of Annie and Nick’s new boss, Kelvin Dutrow, a Sheriff popular with the community (parish) but distrusted and not liked by colleagues who miss his predecessor. Hoag also puts us (briefly) in the head of Genevieve, the mother of the murdered boy.

I enjoyed Hoag’s plot. I didn’t guess whodunit though was kinda disappointed in who it was – for reasons I won’t mention here, cos…. #spoilers!

I think what I enjoyed most though is / was her writing, which seems effortless, as if it’s meant to take a backseat to the unfolding mystery and its characters, but (unusually for crime fiction) I noted a few paragraphs that leapt out at me.

The world didn’t look any different than it had the previous day. This patch of countryside was unchanged by the violence that had been committed in the shabby yellow house the night before. The fabric of the lives of the people involved had been torn asunder, never to be the same again, but the rest of the world went on about its business.

Nick found that at once disturbing and comforting. He looked at one side of the coin, and then the other by turns. A life had been stolen and snuffed out. Whatever this child might have contributed to the world was gone, his potential forever unrealized. But the world would keep turning, nevertheless, largely oblivious to the tragedy, no more impacted by the death of this boy than by the death of an armadillo that had crossed the road to get a drink only to become breakfast for an alligator. pp 62-63

Delightful. So, will someone please remind me to read more of Hoag’s books in future?

The Boy by Tami Hoag was published in Australia by Hachette and is now available.

** As a complete aside, the backcover blurb is actually incorrect re the police discovering Genevieve cradling her son’s head… not sure where that came from?!**

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes. 


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