This is the first book by Tami Hoag that I have read and I won't hesitate to pick up another next time I'm short on books. This was a very easy going, but engaging, crime story with touches of romance which, I would imagine, enables it to appeal to an even wider audience. The story was well written, the characters were easy to relate to and the book had been well edited - I have noticed a number of newer books recently have not been edited well and go to publishing with spelling and grammatical error and this one of my 'issues'! Written in 1992 (thanks Google!) this is one of Hoag's earlier offerings, although her earliest books were released in the late '80s, and I think it has stood the test of time well - at no point was I aware that this was closing in on 20 years old!
Elizabeth Stuart has just been through a very messy divorce from ultra rich media mogul Brock Stuart, he has used every contact he has a called in every favour he was owed to discredit her name and ensure she can't touch his fortune. To get away from Brock, his social circles involving Detroit's who's who and all the heartache these contain Elizabeth takes herself and her son off to Still Water, a small community with a large Amish contingent in the middle of nowhere, buys out the local newspaper with her closest friend from college and plans to lead a quiet life where no-one knows her. Unfortunately the new reputation which Brock has encouraged, as a money grabbing, 'woman of loose morals' has preceded her, and combined with her 2 divorces, has made it hard for her to be accepted by the locals.
When she stumbles upon the murdered body of a local tycoon and philanderer who had recently attempted to get her into bed the locals put 2 and 2 together and decide that she was not only sleeping with him but had also murdered him! Will she be able to clear her name and lead her life in peace?.....
When she is questioned by local Sheriff Dane Jantzen, there is an obvious attraction which is both of them feel like an electric shock whenever they are in each other's company. They both know that giving into temptation would be beneficial to neither one of them, will they be able to resist the urges?.......
*Was the villain obvious from the start?*
I really don't like books where the culprit is obvious from the start, fortunately Still Waters does not fit into this category - the villain is kept a secret until close to the end of the story, although clues are given throughout the book.
*Were the scene/background etc well described?*
Yes! Another bugbear of mine is when the author neglects to properly set the tone or describe the scene but in Still Waters Tami Hoag finds the perfect blend of descriptive text and plotline. For example, when the victim is found, his injuries and the way he was murdered are described well without going into so much detail that the book is likely to give readers nightmares!
Yes. The unmistakable lustful link between the main character and the local sheriff, and their efforts to stay away from one another provide an engrossing subplot. However be warned, if like me this is your first Hoag book, the romantic scenes can go on for a few pages at a time - this can be a bit embarrassing at times if you are a bloke in his mid-twenties who is reading on a packed train and have people reading over your shoulder!
Overall, I would have no qualms about recommending this book to anyone. The story is enjoyable, it is well written and, as I mentioned earlier, the characters are easy to relate to. You can get this new from Amazon for around the £6 mark or second hand for 1p!