Summary: Detective Tony Mendez isn't sure what to make of Lauren Lawton, Oak Knoll's newest resident. Ever since her oldest daughter was kidnapped and her husband died under mysterious circumstances, Lauren has relentlessly bothered law enforcement officers with complaints and allegations that she's being stalked. When Lauren informs Mendez that her stalker has followed her to Oak Knoll - and that he's continuing to harass her and her other daughter - Mendez must figure out whether Lauren is delusional, or if she's telling the truth.
My thoughts: Despite that fact that Tony Mendez had a more prominent role (he's one of the best characters in the Oak Knoll), Down the Darkest Road didn't live up to the previous books in the series. I'm glad I chose to read the text rather than listen to the book because I think I would have been miffed that I spent 11 hours listening for what was ultimately an unsatisfying payoff to the mystery.
This book was more psychologically gruesome than the first two Oak Knoll novels. First, there was the absolute horror that Lauren experiences not knowing what happened to her daughter. Beyond that is the sick possibility that her daughter is dead, and that her murderer is now terrorizing Lauren in some twisted game. Hoag captures Lauren's fear and helplessness in a bone-chilling narrative, but that doesn't mean it's a fun or pleasant read. Despite my sympathy for Lauren's situation, I didn't particularly like her and her single-minded focus on her stalker was frustrating to read.
I was also disappointed that Vince Leone and Anne didn't get a lot of page time - I loved their participation in the first two series and was hoping that they'd be more actively involved in this case. I'm still really interested in reading more Oak Knoll books, and I hope Hoag plans to continue the series - I assume she will since there are still unresolved plot threads from the Deeper Than the Dead and Secrets to the Grave. I also hope, though, that she includes more Anne and Vince and that she moves back to the detective work that made the first two books so successful.
Publisher: Dutton Adult
Publication Date: December 27, 2011
Length: 448 pages
Other Books in This Series: Deeper Than the Dead
Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley in return for a fair and honest review.