"Secrets to the Grave" by Tami Hoag

Secrets to the Grave - Tami Hoag

You can read more of my reviews at A "Novel" Review.


A year after the See No Evil murders, a young mother is found brutally murdered in her own home. The only witness to the crime is the victim’s small daughter, Haley – who also suffered injuries in the attack and remains traumatized. Enter Anne Leone (previously Anne Navarre) to help Haley through her trauma and identify the killer. Someone killed Marissa Fordham, but who and why? The investigation digs up many secrets along the way, secrets that give many motive for murder.


I found this mystery to be just as intriguing as the last one – maybe even more so because I didn’t know the identity of the killer before reading it. I really wanted to learn who killed Marissa, who seemed like such a great person – loving and friendly, a great mother. I also felt for Haley, the daughter left behind by the tragedy, and hoped that she would find happiness with a family that would love her.


I liked how Hoag, once again, led me down a road of twists and turns, introducing suspects here and there, making it hard to decide who the real villain was. Marissa’s best friend is also attacked – but is her attack related to Marissa’s death or based on something else altogether? There is also a subplot including Dennis Farman, his life in the psychiatric hospital and his visits with Anne.


The returning characters are as great as always. Anne Navarre married Vince Leone between Book #1 and this one, and she has left teaching to finish her schooling in psychology and work with children.  She is still as strong willed and feisty as ever, standing her ground to protect herself and any child in her care. Vince has fully retired as an FBI profiler, but still entertains speaking engagements and consults on murder cases. The two are ready to create a family together.


Tony begins to fall for Sarah Morgan, Wendy’s mother, who is finally on the verge of divorcing her cheating husband. However, while I love Tony as a detective, he did annoy me a lot in his obsession with pinning the murder on Sarah’s soon-to-be ex husband, Steve, and harassing the man. As much as the guy was a jerk and a bad husband, and as much as he deserved to be punched in the face, Tony went out of his way to make this guy’s life uncomfortable with no substantial evidence. That was not okay with me. Tony, you’re better than that!  


As for new characters, I found Gina to be annoying at first, but she proves her strength when she is abducted and left for dead. Haley is just adorable, and despite my knowing where she ends up due to reading Book #3 before hand, I was still incredibly anxious for her during custody meetings. I absolutely hated Milo Bordain, the older woman of wealth who claims to be Marissa’s benefactor and substitute mother-figure. Mrs. Bordain is self-righteous and self-centered, the entire world has to stop when she commands it. She always gets what she wants, and she wants Haley even though she doesn’t know the first thing about child development. She throws her weight around or temper tantrums when she cannot get her way. I wanted to jump in the book and throttle her!


The story was paced perfectly and, once again, Hoag demonstrates her talent for leaving a cliffhanger at the end of the chapter and forcing you to read on. The only thing that bothered me was the repeated detail of the bullet lodged in Vince’s brain. We know it’s there, it doesn’t need to be shoved down our throats. Otherwise, it is another fast-paced, interesting mystery story.


Overall, the story is gripping, fast-paced and keeps the reader hooked until the final pages. Other than a few minor annoyances, the book was well-written and enjoyable.