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Book Reviews

Milt Gross Book Review: "Ashes to Ashes" by Tami Hoag
By Milt Gross
Dec 6, 2015 - 12:35:41 AM

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Ashes to Ashes was a long murder mystery that included raw language and scenes as it went on for too long to bring the "Cremator" to justice after he has tortured and killed several young women. Kate was the heroine, and at the end of the tale we learn that John Quinn was a good guy in love with Kate instead of a bad guy, as we were led to believe. I think it took Tami Hoag too long to complete the story....too much in-between stuff apparently designed to keep throwing the reader off the real trail of who dunnit. Milt Gross photo.
The first line, "Some killers are born. Some killers are made. And sometimes the origin of desire for homicide is lost in the tangle of roots that make an ugly childhood and a dangerous youth, so that no one may ever know if the urge was inbred or induced," sounds like it has a real message or guide to the plot. But I found it was as long and dragged out as the story itself.

Near the beginning was, "She ran, her lungs burning, her eyes burning, her throat burning. In one abstract corner of her mind, she was the corpse." This, I think, was to set the stage for the reader's thinking -- correctly -- that the story had something to do with someone burning and dying. The story did. Several burnings and murders and lots of horrible scenes. But I think the writer could have shortened this horror tale -- a good bit -- and still have brought us to the same thoughts and feelings of horror.

The author's photo shows her looking either serious or angry, I'm not sure which. Or it may have been to alert the reader to some of the tough story her 1999 tale tells.

However, the author wasn't a bad-looking woman except for trying to look tough. Of course, the book was published in 1999 by Bantam books in New York, so the author may now not look quite the same as she did when she posed for the picture. I have wondered if some of the anger her photo portrays is to let the good reader know she wrote a tough book. Of course, there were a few scenes that I would label as sort-of sexy and some I'd label as tough.

The last lines, on the last page, page 484 of a book with possibly too many words besides those needed to tell the tale read, "Kate Smiled against his chest, knowing this was home -- his embrace, his love.

"'Well, tough, John Quinn,' she said, gazing up at him in the last light of sunset. 'I'm not giving it back.'"

To explain that a little, a few lines up reads, 'You've got my heart, Kate Conlan,' he said.

So mystery or not, this writer did include romance -- always needed in a good book.

At any rate, the tale was a pretty typical mystery, the story of which I won't bother relating to you. If you really want to know the story, read the tale yourself.

I couldn't find it on, but the price on the cover is $24.95.

Milt Gross can be reached for corrections, harassment, or other purposes at

Milton M. Gross Copyright 2015

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