#Review - The Bitter Season by Tami Hoag @TamiHoag @DuttonBooks

The Bitter Season by Tami Hoag
Series: Kovac & Liska #5
Penguin Group - Dutton
Publication Date: January 12, 2016
Date Read: December 19, 2015


#1 New York Times Bestselling author Tami Hoag returns to the bestselling series of her career with a Kovac and Liska case that will delight fans and new readers alike.

A murder from the past. A murder from the present. And a life that was never meant to be... As the dreary, bitter weather of late fall descends on Minneapolis, Detective Nikki Liska is restless. After moving to the cold case squad in order to spend more time with her sons, she misses the rush of pulling an all-nighter, the sense of urgency of hunting a murderer on the loose. Most of all she misses her old partner, Sam Kovac.

Sam is having an even harder time adjusting to Nikki's absence, saddled with a green new partner younger than pieces of Sam's wardrobe. Sam is distracted from his troubles by an especially brutal double homicide: a middle-aged husband and wife bludgeoned and hacked to death in their home with a ceremonial Japanese samurai sword. Nikki's case, the unsolved murder of a family man, community leader, and decorated sex crimes detective for the Minneapolis PD, is less of a distraction: Twenty years later, there is little hope for finding the killer who got away.

On the other end of the spectrum, Minneapolis resident Evi Burke has a life she only dreamed of as a kid in and out of foster homes: a beautiful home, a family, people who love her, a fulfilling job. Little does she know that a danger from her past is stalking her perfect present. A danger powerful enough to pull in both Kovac and Liska and destroy the perfect life she was never meant to have.

I really liked this one.  When I saw that I had the chance to read an early copy of this book, I jumped at the opportunity.  Tami Hoag is an author that I have wanted to read for quite some time but just haven't actually sat down with one of her books until now.  I really don't know what I was waiting for because this book was really very good.  I predict that there will be a lot more of Tami Hoag's work in my reading future.

This book is the fifth book in the Kovac and Liska series but it reads just fine as a stand alone novel.  It did take me a little bit to keep all of the characters straight but readers new to the series should be able to follow along as I did.  Kovac and Liska are former partners who are now working in different departments which means that this book actually follows two cases.  Both of the cases were incredibly interesting and I have to admit that I was completely stumped.

The characters were just as interesting as the case that they were working.  This book has a pretty large cast of characters.  Sam Kovac is a long time homicide detective that is currently working a case that is getting a lot press.  Of course any double homicide that involves a sword wielding ninja is really hard to keep out of the press.  Sam's new partner, Taylor, doesn't have a lot of experience but he has really good instincts. Nikki Liska is now working cold cases which is supposed to be more of a 9 to 5 job which will work better for her because of her sons.  Her first case is a a 25 year old unsolved murder of a sex crimes detective which she suspects will be nearly impossible to solve.  All of the characters connected to both cases brought something to the story.

I was really impressed by the complexity of both of the cases featured in this story.  They were both equally interesting and were featured in equal amounts in the story.  I was completely in the dark with both of them.  I felt like I was right there with the detectives as they worked to figure out what had really happened.  I liked how the story showed how much the work affected the detectives.  Their overwhelming desire to solve the case felt very realistic.  There was a lot of excitement worked into this book and I honestly couldn't turn the pages fast enough.

I really liked the way this book was written.  Two major story lines were able to be woven together seamlessly.  The focus of the book was able to change hands at just the right moment to keep the interest level high.  The pacing of the story was also very well done.

I would highly recommend this book to mystery thriller fans.  This is the first book by Tami Hoag that I have read but I am really looking forward to reading more from this very talented author.  I definitely plan to read the previous books in this series and I can't wait to take a good look at all of her other work.

I received an advance reader edition of this book from Penguin Group - Dutton via First to Read for the purpose of providing an honest review.

About the Author

Tami Hoag is the #1 internationally bestselling author of more than thirty books published in more than thirty languages worldwide, including her latest thrillers—BITTER SEASON, COLD COLD HEART and THE 9TH GIRL. Renowned for combining thrilling plots with character-driven suspense, Hoag first hit the New York Times Bestseller list with NIGHT SINS, and each of her books since has been a bestseller.

She leads a double life in Palm Beach County, Florida where she is also known as a top competitive equestrian in the Olympic discipline of dressage. Other interests include the study of psychology, and mixed martial arts fighting. A woman of eclectic tastes, to say the least, Tami was recently asked to list seven things people may not know about her:

1. I was once offered a job by a private investigator.

2. I have a license to carry concealed weapon, but never do. I took the course for research purposes.

3. My high school guidance counselor encouraged me to become an actress, but I thought that was too impractical (Of course, there's nothing practical about being a writer, either, but at least I'm not obligated to look good on a daily basis.)

4. I used to sing at weddings.

5. While I have no intention of ever getting married again, I love watching "Say Yes To The Dress."

6. I have legitimate knockout power in my right hand, and I'm not afraid to use it.

7. When I'm stressed out, all tech devices around me go haywire. I've stopped watches, and fried hard drives. I once killed a television in a store display by merely touching it. I'm better off sticking to life's simple pleasures--like books!

Author Links: Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter


  1. nicely done. I have read her once, but too many books took up my time =(

    1. It is really hard to fit in every book that I want to read so I know exactly what you mean. I do plan to check out her other books.

  2. A well written review! I love reading crime novels and the characters radiate the Castle/Beckett or Muller/Sully vibe, at least that was what I felt reading the blurb. The plot seemed original and there's nothing more I admire than a well-thought of novel. Will be adding this to my TBR! Thanks for sharing!

    Natasha @ Dreamland Teenage Fantasy

    1. Thanks, Natasha! This book was really well thought out. It really kept me guessing. I will look forward to seeing your thoughts about it once you have the chance to read it.

    2. I look forward to read the book too!

  3. I haven't read anything by her yet. Sometimes too many characters can be too much for me but it sounds like they were good ones so that would probably be ok. Glad you enjoyed this. Great review!

    1. I was worried that I wouldn't be able to keep up at first but the characters fell into place for me and everything worked well. Thanks, Grace!

  4. Haven't read anything from this author before. Glad that you were able to jump into the series with no problem!

    1. I am so glad that I finally read her work. I like it when a book within a series works well as a stand alone too.

  5. I haven't heard of this series but I'm glad you enjoyed it :)
    Danielle @ Life With Two Boys

    1. I actually had no idea that it was a part of a series until after I had requested it. I usually like to read a series in order but I just jumped right in with this book. It turned out to be a great read.

  6. I listened to one of her books not too long ago and really enjoyed it. She does really well with multiple story lines and complicated stories. This sounds like another good read! I told myself I needed to read more when I finished the first book but of course I forgot so thanks for the reminder!

    1. I definitely want to read more of her work. I think I may even have one around here somewhere. It is nice to know that you enjoyed another one of her books as well.


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