Friday, May 11, 2012

Deeper Than The Dead

Another Tami Hoag novel. Deeper Than The Dead is the first in a series starring Vince Leone, FBI agent, Anne Navarre, 5th grade teacher, Detective Tony Mendez and others. Anne becomes involved with a murder investigation after four of her students stumble upon a partially buried body of a woman. The tale is set in 1985 when DNA testing, computers and profiling was in its infancy. Leone, using his knowledge of profiling is consulting with the Oak Knolls small police department in an unofficial capacity.

Leaving school, Tommy and Wendy take a shortcut using a trail in the Oakwoods Park:

"A lot kids wouldn't cut through the park because there were stories about it being haunted and homeless weirdos living in it..."

That reminded me of the woods down the street from where I grew up. I was not allowed to go in them except with an older sibling, because of the hobos. A stinky brook polluted from a nearby chemical factory cut through the trees. Railroad tracks ran along the back of the woods. Grew up listening to the sounds of trains. My older brothers and their friends hung a rope under elevated railroad bridge, using it to swing from one side of the brook to the other.  That more dangerous then the hobos I never saw.

I did however see what may have been an encampment. A lot of wire clothes hangers and what I later learned was a salt lick. Perhaps there were other signs of camping ~ litter, discarded cans, charred remains of a campfire ~ too many years since I thought about that. The woods were cut down, huge parking lot replacing the trees and bowling alley that went almost all the way back to the tracks. Stinky brook untouched.

The Oak Knoll Thomas Center for Women helps women to reinvent themselves. "Homeless women, battered women, women with drug histories or police records ~ all were welcome and not judged." The Center provided shelter and other things usual for that type of place.

When I was sent to the New Image shelter in Los Angeles, that is what I expected ~ a makeover, new image; was not thinking about reinventing myself, thought I would get help to return my life to the way it had been prior to homelessness ~ and joblessness ~ both new concepts for me.

Due to the women's center, there were may have been other homeless mentions in Deeper Than The Dead. If so, I forgot to bookmark them ~ riveted by the story or bookmarks fell out.

At the end of the novel, I said, "Wow," something I have never done before, despite having read many, many books that had me thinking about them long after the last page was turned. Four men were suspected of being the killer of the woman found in the park. Keeping in mind Leone's profile, I eliminated one I favored. It did turn out that another that I thought early on was likely the killer. Yet any of those suspects could have done the deed; novel kept me guessing until the end.

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