Secrets to the Grave

by Tami Hoag


Reviewed by Coral

Marissa Fordham is found murdered, her body horrifically mutilated and her four-year old daughter, Haley, near death beside her.

With their only witness in the hospital, the only other lead they have is a 911 call Haley made, saying that her Daddy hurt her Mommy. But the problem is that no one knows who Haley’s father is.

Digging deeper into Marissa’s life, the police come to realize that Marissa Fordham never existed and that now they have no idea who their victim was.

I am not sure why I decided to read this book – I borrowed it from my grandmother – when I already have tons of books in piles at home, but the back sounded interesting. I didn’t realize it was a continuation of another book.

Setting aside the details of the case from the last book, I did think that there were too many extraneous subplots and character POVs. I am not sure if they were also carried over from the last book, but I didn’t see the need for the plots about Dennis-the-criminal-child and the crumbling marriage to take up as much page space as it did.

I am also not sure if I was supposed to be rooting for the main police detective Tony Mendez to win over the poor cheated on housewife. Because I hated that subplot most of all. If I had read the first book, maybe I would have felt differently, but I thought it was highly unprofessional the way Detective Mendez’s feelings for this woman bled over into accusing her husband of all sorts of crimes. I thought he should have been removed from the case.

I didn’t like the motive or resolution to a secondary attack in the book. Actually, there were a couple of other things I didn’t like about the book as well: how the socially awkward kind of OCD character was treated and what happened there, the Haley resolution – they find out about a biological family member out there but no one is going to try and find this person? – and how Anne, the child care provider brought in to help Haley, always seems to be this damsel in distress.

The book is set in 1986, but some parts of it just felt wrong to me. Having characters go on and on about computers and DNA just seemed out of place and too much like an omniscient narrator was telling the story not people actually set in that time. Of course, I was young in 1986, so what do I know?

I figured out who the killer was, which is never a good sign, because I am not good with mysteries.

Overall, it was an average, mostly inoffensive book.


Grade: C