Ashes to Ashes

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

That the human animal is capable of extinguishing the life of a fellow creature is a truism so basic to human experience as to escape comment. Indeed, possessed of sufficient provocation even the most pusillanimous individual will violate that essential law governing interpersonal relations. Still, whilst anyone might commit a murder the ranks of those who willingly and wantonly destroy more than once is mercifully low. Nevertheless, when such monsters appear even the most dedicated law enforcement personnel are wont to wish they were in another profession.

Kate Conlan, once a rising star in the FBI Investigative Support Unit, is familiar with the activities of serial killers. She thought she left them behind when she resigned from the Bureau. Now, Kate is not only part of an active investigation, she is the connecting link between the victims.

What Kate does know is that she is responsible for a witness to one of several murders, a disturbed denizen of the streets. This circumstance places Kate at odds with her supervisors. Moreover, the agent dispatched by the FBI to put an end to this series of crimes is a man who was responsible for Kate leaving the Bureau in disgrace. Still, the job is the job and despite an absence of evidence and new murders, the investigation progresses. Witnesses are interviewed, information collected, and dead ends thoroughly explored.

Author Tami Hoag is able to infuse the most commonplace police procedures with an element of suspense. The reader is drawn deeper into the psyche of the murderer as well as those who stalk him. The plot twists and turns in the obligatory manner peculiar to this genre, but not in a forced or unnatural way. Hoag deserves her reputation, and Ashes to Ashes will further enhance her name.

Literary Techniques

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

Hoag offers more than the standard "who-done-it" mystery in Ashes to Ashes. There are a number of subplots that constitute...

(The entire section is 637 words.)

Ideas for Group Discussions

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

In Ashes to Ashes one must read closely to discover the novel's explicit and implicit arguments, but one must also question the...

(The entire section is 568 words.)

Social Concerns

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

Tami Hoag begins to voice her novel's most explicit—though not necessarily most significant—social concern as early as the...

(The entire section is 1597 words.)

Literary Precedents

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

While Hoag's work inevitably is compared to that of Patricia Cornwell (Postmortem, Body of Evidence, All That Remains, and many...

(The entire section is 230 words.)

Related Titles

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

Some of the peculiarities of Ashes to Ashes can be understood if one takes into account Hoag's development as a novelist. Her first...

(The entire section is 166 words.)