Detective Nikki Liska and Sam Kovac had been partners in the homicide squad of Minneapolis for years but Nikki has left to join the cold case unit so that she can spend more time with her teenage sons. Her first cold case is the 25-year-old murder of detective Duffy and it is not an easy job when both Duffy's former partner and his family try to block her. In the meantime, Kovac is still trying to get used to his new young partner as they try to solve the gruesome homicide of an university professor and his wife, killed by a Japanese samurai sword. As Liska and Kovac interview witnesses and follow clues, their cases intertwine.
I liked to explore Liska and Kovac's relationship. Even though they are no longer partners, their friendship is still strong. I especially admired the character of Liska, a strong woman surrounded mostly by men who isn't scared to stand up to old misogynists who don't think she can do the job. As the narration alternates between her case and Kovac's case, I thought I knew what direction the novel was taking, but there are so many twists and turns, that the ending caught me completely by surprise. Well-written and suspenseful, this novel is the fifth book in a series (but it can be read as a standalone) and my first novel by Tami Hoag. Although I found some of the violence a bit too graphic for my taste, I was taken by this sinister and chilling thriller and look forward to reading more books by this author. (NP)