Tami Hoag might have a crush on Channing Tatum … maybe? Not sure mentioning a current Hollywood heart-throb in a book, at least twice, is a good idea. Someone picks this book up in forty years and they’ll have no idea who she’s talking about. That said, The 9th Girl, is a decent police procedural. Not giving anything away that isn’t revealed within the first few pages. A teenaged girl pops out of a trunk in front of a party-limo that can’t avoid hitting her. The story moves on from this point, i.e., who is she? Why was she in the trunk? What caused the caustic burns on her face? What’s with the tattoo? The investigation proceeds through suspicions of parents, frustrated cops, deceptive teenaged angst.

The characters are oversimplified images, not fully rounded. It’s hard to root for anyone in particular. The cops act like cops, type-a and hard-boiled. The teenagers act like teenagers, hate everything and everybody, shave their heads and have earrings in their lips. Mothers are like mothers with cubs. Dads are stoic and distant. Nobody stands out.

Writing, in my opinion, begins with character development … followed with plot. Something is skewed in The 9th Girl, and although I had no trouble sticking with the story, something was just …. off. 

Okay mystery, but not one of Hoag’s best.

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