I come to the blog post today trying to clear my worst memories of something that happened when I was a child, and to talk about the book by Tami Hoag, Down the Darkest Road, which brought back these memories. I wasn't going to post this, tried to quit thinking about it. But, now I feel I have to. It's a subject that doesn't come up all that often, and maybe it should. Here is the book.
Four years after Lauren Lawton's sixteen-year-old daughter disappeared, the world gave up the girl for dead. Lauren's husband took his own life. Her younger daughter is looking only for what's left of her childhood. But Lauren never surrendered. She knows who took her child, and there's not a shred of evidence against him.
Looking for a fresh start, Lauren and her younger daughter Leah move to idyllic Oak Knoll. So has Lauren's suspect. And it feels that history is about to repeat itself.
Leah is turning sixteen, and Oak Knoll has a cunning predator on the hunt. But as sheriff's detective Tony Mendez and his team sift through the circumstances of an increasingly disturbing case, a stunning question changes everything they thought they knew...
Tami Hoag is one of my favorite authors of suspense/detective works. I think I must have dog-eared and highlighted every book I've ever had of hers--except for this last one, since I didn't want to mar it up, as it was a hardbound. I read such books for enjoyment, but also as learning tools. And I must say this one hit me where I live, because a pedophile lived next to me while I grew up.
Yep. Only back then, you didn't know about such things. They didn't have neighborhood warnings about such people taking up residence next to you. I recall people whispering about him having gone to jail for something he had done to a little girl. I didn't know what that could mean. In fact, in her book Tami has placed this in the 1980's, and they didn't have DNA like they do now, and couldn't keep known sexual offenders away from schools, like they do now. In the book, it made it difficult for the police to do their job, and gave the offender more rights than the victims--which sucks.
This man who lived next to me was married. He collected junk, and filled his house and garage with junk. He would come into our house, not knocking, and call out--but he never came further than the doorway--at least I don't think so. But I could be wrong, since such unsavory creatures tend to feed their own depravity by stealing underwear of the women they stalk, and I know he stalked me. He drove an old van--always painted aqua, or some ridiculous color. I know he worked for the college (so he could look at all the young women and fantasize about them).
And he tried to touch me once--I think I was 14 or 15 at the time. Yep. I told him I'd scream if he didn't let me go. And he did. I was really lucky. Lucky his wife was home, right next to the van, and that he had fear enough to leave me be. But I still had to live next to him. I later learned he had taken pictures of me in my yard--something I had suspected. I felt he always had watched me, and then I had proof, not that I needed it.
This book by Tami Hoag was really good. I thought I had it figured out, but she twisted it in a way that was really surprising. It dredged up some unpleasant memories. But it also made me realize how lucky I am.
I have been working on my WIP, and the whole stalker, serial killer thing fuels the detectives in this case--until they find out the stalkers, and serial killers are not human. I try to help my writing about the detectives in the book with the help of other writers like Tami Hoag, in order to get down the lingo, background and police procedural. My nephew has helped me too, since he is with the sheriff's police, and has been for 30 years. I've talked to him about guns and such. It's interesting. I find it a challenge to blend reality with my vampire writing. It's a challenge to blur the edges and make the reader believe this could happen.
Next time I'll post something more up-beat. Until then...