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Prior Bad Acts [Format Kindle]

Tami Hoag
5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)

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Chapter One

Fifteen months later

"He slaughtered a mother and two children."

Hennepin County prosecutor Chris Logan was a man of strong opinions and stronger emotions. Both traits had served him well in the courtroom with juries, not always so well in judges' chambers. He was tall, broad shouldered, athletic, with a thick shock of black-Irish hair now threaded with silver. Forty-five years old, Logan had spent twenty of those years in the criminal court system. It was a wonder he hadn't gone entirely white.

"I'm sorry," said the defense attorney, his sarcasm belying the expression of shock. "Did I miss something? When were we suddenly transported to the Dark Ages? Aren't the accused in this country still innocent until proven guilty?"

Logan rolled his eyes. "Oh, for Christ's sake, Scott, could you spare us the act? We're all adults. We all know each other. We all know you're full of shit. Could you spare us the demonstration?"

"Mr. Logan . . ."

Judge Carey Moore gave him a level look. She had known Chris Logan since they had both cut their teeth toiling as public defenders--a job neither of them had the temperament for. They had moved on to the county attorney's office as quickly as they could, and both had made their names in the courtroom, prosecuting everything from petty theft to rape to murder.

Sitting in the other chair across from her desk was another cog in the public defender's machine. Kenny Scott had gone in that door and had never come out, which made him either a saint battling for justice for the socially disadvantaged or a pathetic excuse for an attorney, unable to rise out of anonymity and go on to private practice. Having had him in her courtroom numerous times, Carey suspected the latter.

He looked at Carey now with the eyes of a mouse in a room full of cats. Perspiring, nervous, ready to run, scrambling mentally. He was a small man whose suits never fit--too big in the shoulders, too long in the sleeves--which somehow emphasized the impression that he was overwhelmed by his job or by life in general.

By the luck of the draw, he had gotten stuck with the job of defending the most hated man in Minneapolis, if not the entire state: a drifter named Karl Dahl, accused of the most heinous murders Carey had encountered in her career.

The scene had been so gruesome, one of the uniformed officers who had responded to the original call had suffered a heart attack and had subsequently retired from the force. The lead homicide detective had been so affected by the case, he had eventually been removed from the rotation and put on a desk job, pending the completion of psychiatric counseling.

"Your Honor, you can't allow Mr. Logan to circumvent the rules of law," Scott said. "Prior bad acts are inadmissible--"

"Unless they establish a pattern of behavior," Logan argued loudly. He had the fierce expression of an eagle.

Kenny Scott looked like he wanted nothing more than to bolt from the office and run for his life, but to his credit, he stayed in his seat.

"Mr. Dahl's previous offenses have nothing to do with this case," he said. "Criminal trespass? That hardly establishes him as a violent offender."

Logan glared at him. "What about possession of child pornography? What about breaking and entering? Window peeping? Indecent exposure?"

"He never killed anyone with his penis," Scott said.

"It's an escalating pattern of behavior," Logan argued. "That's what these pervs do. They start small and work their way up. First they get their jollies whacking off while they look at little kids in their underwear in the JCPenney catalog. When that doesn't do it for them anymore, they move on to window peeping, then to exposing themselves. Next they need to have physical contact--"

"And they jump from weenie wagging to evisceration?" Scott said. "That's absurd."

He turned back toward Carey. "Your Honor, there is nothing violent in Karl Dahl's record. The information regarding his prior convictions would be prejudicial and inflammatory. The jury would be ready to convict him based on Mr. Logan's theory, not fact, not evidence."

Logan ticked his facts off on his fingers. "We have his fingerprints at the scene. We have a complaint filed by one of the neighbors, reporting him for looking in her windows. We know he knew the victims, that he'd been hanging around the neighborhood. He had the victim's necklace in his possession at the time of his arrest--"

"He was doing odd jobs," Scott said. "He admits to having been in the Haas home the day of the murders.  Mrs. Haas paid him thirty-five dollars to install some curtain rods. He stole a cheap necklace. Big deal. Other than the one neighbor, no one in the neighborhood had any complaint against him."

Logan rolled his eyes dramatically. "Every one of them said the guy was strange, that he gave them the creeps--"

"That's not against the law--"

"Good thing for you," Logan muttered.

Carey warned him again. "Mr. Logan . . ."

He gave her a familiar look from under the heavy dark eyebrows. "An eyewitness puts him at the scene--"

"At least five hours after the murders had been committed," Scott pointed out.

"Coming back to review his work," Logan said.

"That doesn't make any sense. Coming back that late in the day, when people would be arriving home from work--"

"So he was back to kill the father and the oldest kid--"

"Just where did you get your crystal ball, Logan?" Scott asked. "Maybe we can all run out and get one. Maybe the state can buy them in bulk and distribute them to every law enforcement agency--"

Carey arched a brow in disapproval. "Put the sarcasm away, Mr. Scott."

Logan jumped in again. "This is a clear exception to the rule, Your Honor. The man is a serial killer at the front end of his career. If we don't stop him now--"

Carey held up a hand to stave off any more arguments. Her head ached as if it had been crushed by a millstone. Through law school and the years working her way up the ranks, her goal had been to sit in these chambers, to wear the robes, to be a judge.

At that moment, she wished she had listened to her grandmother and honed her secretarial skills as a fallback should she not land a suitable husband.

Presiding over felony proceedings was a responsibility she had never taken lightly. Because she'd come from a successful career as a prosecuting attorney, people expected her to be biased toward the prosecution--an expectation she had worked hard to dispel.

As a prosecutor it had been her job to vigorously pursue the conviction of defendants. As a judge, her job was to preside fairly, to take no sides, to keep the scales of justice in balance so that every verdict was reached based solely on the relevant facts and evidence presented.

Carey couldn't take sides, no matter what her personal feelings might be. In this case she had her work cut out. Two children had been brutalized, tortured, murdered, left hanging by their necks from the ceiling of a dank basement.

She was a mother herself. The idea of someone harming her daughter evoked an emotion so strong there were no words adequate to describe it. She had viewed the crime scene photos and the videotape. The images haunted her.

The children's foster mother had been raped, sodomized, tortured, her body sliced open from throat to groin. The coroner had determined that the woman had died first, though there was no way of knowing what might have taken place before her very eyes prior to her death. She might have been made to watch while unspeakable acts were committed on the children. The children might have been made to watch while unspeakable acts were committed on her. Either way, a nightmare from the darkest, most primal, fear-filled corner of the human mind.

But as a judge, Carey couldn't attach those atrocities to the defendant on trial before her. Her decision on the matter before her now couldn't be swayed by her own fears or disgust. She couldn't worry how people would react to her ruling. A criminal trial was not a popularity contest.

A fine theory, at least.

She took a breath and sighed, the weight of the matter pressing down on her. The attorneys watched her. Kenny Scott looked like he was waiting for her to pronounce sentence on him. Logan's impatience was palpable. He stared at her as if he believed he could influence her mind by sheer dint of will.

Carey quelled the sick feeling in her stomach. Move forward. Get it over with.

"I've read your briefs, gentlemen," she said. "And I'm well aware of the impact my decision will have on this case. I can guarantee neither of you would want to be sitting in this chair right now."

Logan would have argued that, she knew. Bias was a way of life for him. "Right with might" was his motto. If he believed something, then it was so--no arguments. But he held his tongue, held his breath, poised to leap out of his chair. Carey met his gaze full-on.

"I don't see an exception here," she said.

Logan opened his mouth, ready to rebut.

"You'll allow me to finish, Mr. Logan."

His face was flushed red with anger. He looked at the wall.

"Mr. Dahl's prior acts may point in a particular direction, suggesting a possible path of future criminal behavior," she said. "However, he has no history of violent crimes, and this court can't foresee what Mr. Dahl might do in months or years to come. At any rate, we aren't allowed to try people for crimes they have yet to commit."

"Your Honor," Logan said, his voice tight from holdi...

Revue de presse

"Hoag's cliffhanger scene endings and jump cuts leave the reader panting and turning the pages as fast as possible."—Boston Globe

"Chilling thriller with a romantic chaser."—New York Daily News

"The breathtaking plot twists are perfectly paced.... [A] stunning meld of thrilller and police procedural."—Publishers Weekly, starred review

From the Hardcover edition.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 1187 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 560 pages
  • Pagination - ISBN de l'édition imprimée de référence : 0553840908
  • Editeur : Bantam (21 mars 2006)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • Synthèse vocale : Non activée
  • X-Ray :
  • Word Wise: Activé
  • Composition améliorée: Activé
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°148.852 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)

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1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Plaisir et suspense 17 mars 2011
Par Francis
Intrigue judicieuse,plausible; acteurs principaux (la juge Carey Moore et le détective Sam Kovacs ) très intéressants dans leur attitude et leurs réactions. J'aime beaucoup le style de Tami Hoag qui avait déjà attiré mon attention dans Dark Horse et A Thin Dark Line. On sent la touche féminine tout au long de ce récit à rebondissements jusqu'à la dernière page.
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 étoiles sur 5  243 commentaires
37 internautes sur 42 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 WOW! This one kept me up all night! 19 septembre 2006
Par Cheryl Tardif - Publié sur Amazon.com
I've been a Tami Hoag fan for years and she has never let me down when I want an enjoyable, fast-paced thrilling read. In Prior Bad Acts she gives you enough twists and turns you'll feel you're on a roller coaster without brakes!

I love Tami's humor and realistic dialogue, and her character development is 4-dimensional. I was `in love' with these characters in Ashes to Ashes, and then Dust to Dust, and am ecstatic that they're back. Sam Kovac and Nikki Liska are awesome protagonists with sizzling chemistry. Hoag has a winning team!

Prior Bad Acts is one of my favorites and if you're new to Tami's novels, I highly recommend you pick up a copy, curl up in a chair with the doors locked and settle in for a suspenseful ride. She really knows how to tell a good story! Kudos, Tami!

~ Cheryl Kaye Tardif
Author of Divine Intervention
9 internautes sur 10 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Hard to put down 17 avril 2006
Par SDRTX - Publié sur Amazon.com
Detectives Sam Kovac and Nikki Liska from DUST TO DUST are back for an encore peformance. This time their investigation involves one of Minneapolis's most grisly crimes, the murder a mother and her two foster children. Judge Carey Moore's decision to disallow suspect's Karl Dahl's prior criminal record has upset many in the community. Judge Moore is mugged in the parking garage and later threatened. To make matters worse Karl Dahl escaped from prison. Now Kovac and Liska must find Dahl , protect Judge Moore and apprehend a rogue cop while continuing their on-going investigation of the Haas case.

Hoag delivers a standard crime thriller, but with engaging characters and a well-paced plot. A couple of warnings-leave enough time to read it and the violence is rather graphic. Weak stomachs beware.
13 internautes sur 16 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 The trials of a judge. 9 avril 2006
Par E. Bukowsky - Publié sur Amazon.com
Tami Hoag's "Prior Bad Acts" features Minnesota Judge Carey Moore, a beleaguered woman who is on the firing line both personally and professionally. Moore's controversial decision to exclude murder suspect Karl Dahl's "prior bad acts" from being admitted as evidence makes her a pariah among police, prosecutors, and the public. Dahl allegedly tortured and murdered a woman named Marlene Haas along with her two foster children. On the home front, Carey and her husband, David, have become increasingly distant from one another. They barely communicate and would have nothing in common if not for their little girl, Lucy, whom they both adore.

Soon after her unpopular ruling, Judge Moore is beaten up in a parking garage, and it is clear that someone wants her dead. Could her assailant be a mentally disturbed detective named Stan Dempsey who has become obsessed with bringing Karl Dahl to justice? Or is it possible that Marlene's husband, Wayne, or her stepson, Bobby, want to punish the judge for her leniency towards the defendant? The judge's most enthusiastic protector is Detective Sam Kovac, a tough and irreverent cop who often comes close to stepping over the line when interviewing suspects. Surprisingly, Sam finds it increasingly difficult to keep his professional distance from Moore, who is both vulnerable and very attractive.

"Prior Bad Acts" has a teeming and sometimes overwrought plot that includes torture, pornography, kidnapping, murder and a plethora of red herrings. Carey Moore is an honorable woman and a sympathetic heroine who doesn't deserve the considerable grief that rains down upon her head, and her increasingly close relationship with Detective Kovac is both touching and realistic. This is a compelling story with sharp dialogue and an action-packed, albeit predictable, ending that will give thriller junkies the adrenaline rush that they have come to expect from Tami Hoag.
14 internautes sur 17 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 One of the Best 12 septembre 2006
Par Sandra Cariker - Publié sur Amazon.com
This is one of the best mysteries I've read in a long time. I love the characters Sam Kovac and Nikki Liska and hope they appear in future Tami Hoag books. Prior Bad Acts was one of those where you aren't sure who the bad guy is until near the end. The book is clear and well written with a superb plot, and I highly recommended it.
5 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Better and Better 20 juin 2006
Par boswell - Publié sur Amazon.com
Hoag is clearly an author at the top of her game. I find it very impressive when an author who has written alot of highly acclaimed books keeps coming through with books better than before, and this is just such an example. Great characters, great plot, a dynamite ending and excellent dialogue. Everything you'd want in a good suspense/mystery/thriller and more. And the one flaw I've seen in her books (likely coming from the fact that she started as a romance novelist)-- the rather overblown love scenes -- is even gone. This is one of the year's best novels of this genre, and a must read for old or new Hoag enthusiasts.
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