Hoag, Tami 1959–

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Hoag, Tami 1959–


Born January 20, 1959, in Cresco, IA; daughter of Melanor (in insurance sales) and Joyce (a homemaker) Mikkelson; married Daniel Hoag (a computer programmer and business manager), September 24, 1977 (marriage ended). Hobbies and other interests: Collecting and restoring antique furniture, studying regional American dialects, horseback riding.


Home—Southern CA. Agent—Andrea Cirillo, Jane Rotrosen Agency, 318 E. 51st St., New York, NY 10022.


Writer, 1987—. Formerly worked as a horse trainer and as a salesperson.


Career Achievement Award, Romantic Times.



McKnight in Shining Armor, Bantam (New York, NY), 1988.

The Trouble with J.J., Bantam (New York, NY), 1988.

Straight from the Heart, Bantam (New York, NY), 1989.

Mismatch, Bantam (New York, NY), 1989.

Man of Her Dreams, Bantam (New York, NY), 1989.M

Rumor Has It, Bantam (New York, NY), 1989.

Rainbow Chasers: Magic, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1990.

Tempestuous, Bantam (New York, NY), 1990.

The Rainbow Chasers: Heart of Gold, Bantam (New York, NY), 1990.

The Rainbow Chasers: Keeping Company, Bantam (New York, NY), 1990.

The Rainbow Chasers: Reilly's Return, Bantam (New York, NY), 1990.

Heart of Dixie, Bantam (New York, NY), 1991.

Sarah's Sin, Bantam (New York, NY), 1991.

The Restless Heart, Bantam (New York, NY), 1991.

The Last White Knight, Bantam (New York, NY), 1992, hardcover edition, 2006.

Taken by Storm, Bantam (New York, NY), 1992.

Lucky's Lady, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1992.

Still Waters, Bantam (New York, NY), 1992.

Cry Wolf, Bantam (New York, NY), 1993.

Dark Paradise, Bantam (New York, NY), 1994, revised edition, 1997.


Night Sins, Bantam (New York, NY), 1995.

Guilty as Sin, Bantam (New York, NY), 1996.

A Thin Dark Line, Bantam (New York, NY), 1997.

Ashes to Ashes, Bantam (New York, NY), 1999.

Dust to Dust, Bantam (New York, NY), 2000.

Dark Horse, Bantam (New York, NY), 2002.

Kill the Messenger, Bantam (New York, NY), 2004.

Prior Bad Acts, Bantam (New York, NY), 2006.

The Alibi Man, Bantam (New York, NY), 2007.


Night Sins was adapted as a four-hour television mini-series starring Valerie Bertinelli and Harry Hamlin and was first broadcast by the Columbia Broadcasting System, Inc. (CBS) in February, 1997; the television rights for Guilty as Sin and A Thin Dark Line have been sold.


Tami Hoag is a novelist whose romances and suspense novels have consistently topped the bestseller lists. Hoag had never been a fan of romances until she found herself in a broken-down vehicle with nothing to do but wait for the tow truck and read the romance novel she happened to have with her. She quickly became addicted to the genre, and she decided to try her hand at writing one. Her first novel was a success, and her career was established. Hoag worked hard at her craft, writing seven days a week for many hours a day. Gradually, her books began to include more and more elements of suspense and crime and, in the mid-1990s, she shifted her focus to write straight suspense novels. This only increased Hoag's popularity with readers, and her titles continued to be top sellers that also won praise from book reviewers.

Hoag's suspense novels frequently feature gruesome crimes that leave communities feeling helpless and terrorized. The author handles her subjects in an evenhanded style and with great attention to detail, critics have noted. Bridget Kinsella commented in a Publishers Weekly profile: "Considerable background research is another component of Hoag's work, and she says her compulsion for real details has increased with each title." Besides the factual accuracy of her work, Hoag also shows skill with the emotional aspects of her stories, according to Joyce Slater in People: "Even though her books deal with gruesome crimes, her sense of morality really comes through…. You actually care about the characters." In fact, according to Kinsella, "her stories always seem to emerge from her characters."

In Night Sins and Guilty as Sin, Hoag spins the story of the kidnapping of an eight-year-old boy and its effect on a small town outside Minneapolis. The horror begins when a female doctor's son is kidnapped by someone who leaves taunting notes behind. Megan O'Malley, a state trooper, is called in to assist the local authorities. O'Malley is hospitalized in Guilty as Sin, but the quest for the perpetrator is carried on by prosecutor Ellen North. "Those unfamiliar with Night Sins will need some time to sort out the characters' Peyton Place-like involvements," noted a Publishers Weekly reviewer. "Readers new and old, however, will enjoy the political infighting, the legal jockeying and the several jolts of Grand Guignol violence. Hoag, who knows how to push the right buttons, is a suspense writer to watch."

Although A Thin Dark Line is set in Louisiana, it grew out of a crime that took place in Minnesota. A string of rapes and murders has the area in a state of panic, and the main suspect eludes trial because of a legal technicality. Annie Broussard, a deputy for the sheriff's department, takes up the case. "This latest thriller wastes no time," stated a Publishers Weekly reviewer; "it's creepy from the prologue, a tortured poem written by the murderer, which both establishes the tone and cleverly sets up the ending." Even though Hoag has stepped beyond the familiar confines of her home state of Minnesota, she "displays a firm grasp on locale," the reviewer added. "There's plenty of suspense in waiting to see how it will all be resolved. Psychopathic villains are common enough, but Hoag has managed to endow hers with a scarred entourage that provides a tragic note."

Ashes to Ashes and its sequel, Dust to Dust, are based on a series of grisly murders in Minnesota, in which a man killed prostitutes and burned their bodies. The killer was eventually arrested, but Hoag was shocked by the lack of public outrage at the crimes. In Ashes to Ashes, she explores how victims are perceived. Dust to Dust focuses more specifically on those attitudes within the police world, as seen in a case involving the death of a gay officer. Tom Long, a reviewer for the Detroit News, noted that "Hoag has the patter down as well as anyone ever has"—the sarcastic way policemen talk in order to cover their emotions about the horrific things they witness. Hoag makes it "funny, harsh and quick." Praising the intricate plotting in Dust to Dust, Long noted that in the end "it's the characters, the give-and-take between partners, the relationships that never work the way they should in an easier world, that make this book a stone-solid read. A fine blend of cynicism, romance, suspense and tragedy."

Hoag, an accomplished equestrienne, brought her knowledge of horses to her novel Dark Horse. Set in the world of the horse set, the story involves a precocious twelve-year-old girl and a troubled ex-cop who team up to find the girl's missing sister. Elena Estes, the main character, came from a moneyed family, but turned her back on that world to become a policewoman. Then, she was rejected from the police world after a mistake on her part cost an officer his life. The complex, dark story reveals the greed and treachery that lie beneath the well-groomed surface of the horse world as well as "the realistic introspection of one very troubled ex-cop," wrote Patty Engelmann in Booklist.

Hoag got the idea for her next novel, Kill the Messenger, while watching a television show segment about bike messengers in the city of Los Angeles, California. From information detailing their involvement with the city's court system, Hoag developed the character of Jace, a nineteen-year-old L.A. bike messenger who works to support his younger sibling. The orphaned brothers have been dodging Child Protective Services for six years in an attempt to stay together, only to come to attention after Jace becomes indirectly involved in a murder investigation—the intended recipient of a late-night delivery is killed and someone is out to nab the package. Writing for Booklist, Kathleen Hughes maintained that "Hoag's loyal readers and fans of police procedural suspense novels will definitely love it." A reviewer for Publishers Weekly appreciated the novel's "clean, measured prose—full, balanced sentences delivered at a steady pace."

In Prior Bad Acts, the seemingly standard decision of a judge has unintended consequences. Judge Carey Moore decides that crimes perpetrated by a murderer prior to those for which he is standing trial are inadmissible. Not long after, the judge is brutally assaulted and the alleged criminal escapes from custody, kicking off an investigation headed by two former Hoag characters—Sam Kovak and Nikki Liska, from Ashes to Ashes. Kliatt reviewer Francine Levitov appreciated the novel's "ingenious plotting, well-drawn characters, crackling dialogue and just the right amount of romance." In a review for Publishers Weekly, a critic maintained that the novel places Hoag "above the competition, creating complex characters who evolve more than those in most thrillers."

Returning to the world of ex-policewoman Elena Estes, Hoag next wrote The Alibi Man. The novel is set in posh Palm Springs as Elena is determined to track down the killer of a friend, a beautiful, young horse groom. Booklist critic Patty Engelmann found the story "written in a staccato style that will have readers racing through the pages."

In an interview on her Home Page, Hoag stated: "I've heard it said that producing a book is a lot like having a baby. Conception is the fun part. In the beginning there is idealism, and perfection seems possible. Then the book starts to grow and change and take on a personality of its own, and suddenly I realize the enormity of what I've taken on. By the time I deliver the thing, I—and all around me—have begun to question my sanity. I want to strangle my muse and scream: Why did I ever let you talk me into this?! Then one day there it is in my hands: A real, ‘honest-to-goodness’ book, with a striking cover with my name in big letters. At that point, that book becomes the most wonderful brilliant thing I've ever done."



Booklist, January 1, 1999, review of Ashes to Ashes, p. 792; June 1, 2000, Kathleen Hughes, review of Dust to Dust, p. 1797; December 15, 2001, Candace Smith, review of Dust to Dust, p. 746; August, 2002, Patty Engelmann, review of Dark Horse, p. 1886; July, 2004, Kathleen Hughes, review of Kill the Messenger, p. 1799; March 1, 2007, Patty Engelmann, review of The Alibi Man, p. 38.

Detroit News, August 12, 2000, Tom Long, review of Dust to Dust, p. 26.

Entertainment Weekly, March 30, 2007, Tina Jordan, review of The Alibi Man, p. 78.

Kliatt, September, 2006, Francine Levitov, review of Prior Bad Acts, p. 50.

Library Journal, March 1, 1998, review of A Thin Dark Line, p. 143.

Observer (London, England), October 7, 2001, "Writer Earns Her Spurs," p. 20.

People, February 24, 1997, Joyce Slater, p. 15.

Publishers Weekly, January 11, 1999, review of Ashes to Ashes, p. 53; July 3, 2000, review of Dust to Dust, p. 46; July 29, 2002, review of Dark Horse, p. 55; June 21, 2004, review of Kill the Messenger, p. 44; January 30, 2006, review of Prior Bad Acts, p. 42.


Tami Hoag Home Page,http://www.tamihoag.com (September 2, 2007).