Cold cold heart by Tami Hoag

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Orion Books, 2014. ISBN 9781409151951
(Age: 15+) Recommended. Serial killers. Murder. Post-traumatic stress. Dana Nolan had been a promising news reporter when a notorious serial killer had kidnapped her. She had the strength of will to survive her ordeal, but the scars run deep and she is beset with a brain injury that has affected her memories. She no longer is the happy, perky blond reporter who was optimistic; instead she is beset with nightmares and can no longer trust anyone. She often blurts out exactly what she is thinking, which in addition to the awful scars that she bears, makes it hard for her and her family. Her experiences have led her to have a deep mistrust of everyone and she is treated as a victim by the press. When she returns to her hometown to recover from her injuries, she finds herself obsessed with the disappearance of her friend, Casey Grant, many years before and sets out to investigate, upsetting the small community in which she lives.
Hoag has written an exciting thriller that is extended with the information that the reader gains about the effect that brain injuries can have on the individual. Dana is struggling with her memories, the old Dana and the new post serial killer Dana and what her brain is telling her about the past. The introduction of John Villante, an ex-soldier with post-traumatic stress and the vivid descriptions of how this has affected him and also how he is treated by society also adds another dimension to a good mystery. There are many twists and turns in this thriller that make it an exciting read but it is the main characters' experiences that lifted it above the norm.
Hoag keeps up the suspense with the introduction of several suspects who could have been involved in the disappearance of Casey, each being believable until the final chapters. She also finds herself examining just how she reacted when her best friend disappeared. Did she lie and cover up things about the event?
This is a very exciting book that readers in the mystery and thriller genre would enjoy.
Pat Pledger