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Cold Cold Heart
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Copyright © 2015 by dailyBooks. All Rights Reserved.
First Published in the United States of America 2015
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Introducing Cold Cold Heart
Introducing the Author
DANA NOLAN WAS KIDNAPPED AND TORTURED BY A serial killer. She escaped by killing him, but she was badly mutilated and injured by the time she was rescued. Though one nightmare in her life was finally over, Dana had to pick up the pieces of her life once again and relearn both social and physical skills. But while she was trying to recuperate at her parents’ home, Dana was confronted with another nightmare, an old one from the past. She suddenly developed a strong obsession to understand what had happened to her best friend from high school. Casey had disappeared the year they graduated from school, and Dana wanted to find out what happened to her all those years ago.
One of the issues weaved in the murder mystery is the role of the media in modern life. Dana used to be a reporter and enjoyed dredging up the details of other people’s tragedies, but she wasn’t happy when the shoe was on the other foot. The media hounds Dana and creates a rift between her and those near to her. They make it more difficult for Dana to adjust to her new life and prove to be insensitive to her plight.
Dana’s quest takes her back to the past, and she begins to suspect everyone, including her stepfather, Roger, and John Villante, Casey’s boyfriend at the time. She even goes to meet a creepy retired detective who had been working on Casey’s case and was still obsessed with it. Dana’s lack of memory works against her as she has to solve the murder relying on the misleading information that others deliberately or unwittingly give her. As Dana gets closer to the solution, she is once again in danger from a crazy murderer.
The main suspect in Casey’s murder is John Villante, especially after a body is found in his shed. It turns out to be his mother, which finally brings closure to John for the way he thought he had been abandoned by her. Ultimately, he and Dana become friends as John helps and protects Dana. Another suspect is Dan Hardy, the detective who had a record of being accused of beating up prostitutes. When a woman is beaten up in the vicinity again, Dan becomes a suspect. Ultimately, the murderer turns out to be someone close to Dana, and she has to deal with the implications as well as escape his clutches.
TAMI HOAG IS AN AMERICAN AUTHOR KNOWN FOR making it on the New York Times bestseller list consecutively for fifteen of her books. The first book in this successful run was Night Sins, the first thriller she wrote and published in October 1996. Since then, she has not looked back. Hoag boasts of 19 thriller and 16 romance titles and 35 million books in print in more than twenty languages.
Born and brought up in a small town in rural Minnesota, Hoag was unable to go to college. Her town had no traffic lights and only had a population of about a thousand people. This is where she went to school, met her husband, and got married. She has worked many random jobs before she became a writer, including jobs as varied as a typist, horse trainer, photographer’s assistant, designer bathroom accessories salesperson, newspaper distributor, etc.
Hoag was always interested in writing. When she was in third grade, she wrote a play called Black Pony for a school project. She also made the illustrations for it. Writing this play got Hoag interested in storytelling, and she would pursue it later in life, publishing her first book in 1988, the romance novel The Trouble with J.J.
Though Hoag started her writing career with romance novels, she felt the need to write more complex and interesting characters and plots, so she tried her hand at suspense. At first, she added bits and pieces of suspense to her romance books and repackaged and republished them as suspense books. These were well received, encouraging Hoag, to write proper thrillers.
Hoag is currently a full-time writer, but she has passions and hobbies other than writing. She loves animals and owns a dog, a number of cats, as well as three horses. She moved to Virginia from Minnesota because she thought it was a great place for horse riding. She owned around 70 acres of farmland where she rode her horses. She now lives in Florida where she trains horses. She also competes in horse shows in Florida on the winter circuit.
Tim Carver had murdered his girlfriend Casey years ago because she told him that she was pregnant. Why do you think he felt the need to do so? Do you think it made a difference to Tim’s life in the long run?
Everyone who met Dana after her ordeal of being kidnapped and tortured by a serial killer considered her changed. What do you think was the biggest change in her? Can you find at least one thing in her life that had improved?
Dana used to be a reporter who would try to dredge up stories, no matter the human cost. But when she became the subject of news stories, she began to see things differently. What do you think is the message of the book regarding the media behavior?
Dana kept accusing Roger of one thing after the other. Why do you think Dana suddenly turned on him? Do you think there is a real reason behind her change of behavior toward Roger? How do you think Dana’s father died?
Dana kept talking about “Before Dana and After Dana” in a show of self-pity. Do you think her attitude toward healing made it more difficult for her to heal? What steps do you think she could have taken to help her move on?
Dana’s mother and stepfather are both affected by the ordeal she has gone through, and the fact that she has emerged out of it injured both in body and in mind. They react to the situation differently. However, Dana feels that her mother’s love is genuine while Roger’s is not. Why do you think this was so? Is there any genuine reason for her to feel so?
Dana is completely unaware of what people like John thought of her when they were in high school. She was an elitist and tried to separate her friend Casey from John because he came from the other side of the tracks. How far do you think this attitude prevails today in schools? Do you think the classism differs greatly among teens and adults?
There were a number of suspects for Casey’s murder. Which suspect did you think had committed the deed and why?
The characters in the book were very well detailed. Which one of them is your favorite and why?
John’s father was openly abusive, and he even showed up at school with bruises. What steps do you think can be taken to ensure that such children are given security and protection from parental abuse?
Hoag wanted to depict the PTSD illness in all its ramifications and had two characters suffering from it. Did you find the portrayal realistic? What are the differences in the ways in which Dana and John experienced PTSD?
Dana had to kill two people who were trying to kill her. How do you think this affected Dana? What is your opinion about killing in self-defense?
Dan Hardy was obsessed with finding Casey’s killer, even though he was officially retired. However, he behaved in a creepy manner with Dana, encouraging her to feel fear in his presence. Why do you think the author chose to depict him in this manner?
A girl in the neighborhood gets raped and beaten up. There were a number of suspects, but the crime is never explicitly solved in the book. Who do you think was responsible for the rape and why?
Dana’s mother and aunt suddenly turn extremely protective of her. Her aunt encourages her to be nasty to people around her and her mother fusses over her constantly. Do you think this helps her heal? What do you think would be the best way to behave with someone who has suffered from such an ordeal as Dana?
Kirkus Reviews featured a review in which the reviewer said that the first hundred pages of the book was an emotional dissection of brain trauma. Did you like this aspect of the book? Why or why not? How did the detailed description of TBI and PTSD improve or detract from the main story?
Smexy Books published a review of Cold Cold Heart, in which the reviewer claims that they were able to detect the villain much earlier in the narrative. When did you find out who the villain was? Do you think there is only one villain in this story? Discuss.
The review in The Huffington Post by Jackie K Cooper claimed that Cold Cold Heart is one of Hoag’s best books. Do you agree? Which book of Hoag’s is your favorite and why?
In Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the reviewer Christina Varrasso points out that the message of Cold Cold Heart is that you never really know anyone. Do you agree with this? What message did you take from the book?
The reviewer from the blog Babbling About Books, and More! claims that Cold Cold Heart has an abrupt ending. Do you agree? What would be an ideal ending according to you?
Babbling About Books, and More! featured a review in which the reviewer thinks that there is a sequel in the works for Cold Cold Heart. Do you agree? What kind of sequel do you envisage with this story?
The reviewer from Booking Mama calls Cold Cold Heart a literary thriller. Do you consider this book literary? Why or why not?
In the blog Books Reviews and More, the reviewer claims that it is difficult to spot the killer in the book. Do you agree? When did you know who the killer was, and how did you figure it out?
Caryn St. Clair, a reviewer from Reviewing the Evidence claims that Cold Cold Heart is a difficult book to categorize. Do you agree with this? How would you classify this book and why?
A few of the reviewers were disappointed in the storyline of this book, claiming there wasn’t as much suspence as Hoag’s other thrillers. Do you agree? Why or why not?
Hoag wrote romance novels before she switched over to thrillers. Why do you think she found the characters more complex and interesting in thrillers? Which genre of books do you think has the most compelling plots and characters and why?
Hoag is passionate about training horses, and it is one of her biggest hobbies. Do you think this passion shows itself in her books? How much does an author put of herself in her books?
Hoag was unable to get a college education because her husband was posted to a town where there was no school. Do you think it has affected her writing skills? How much do you think a college education helps in developing as a writer?
Hoag has a lot of bestsellers to her name. Which of her thrillers would you like to see adapted to the big screen and why?
Hoag started her writing career with romance novels. When she switched over to thrillers, she began to receive more mail from men. Why do you think this happened?
Everyone who met Dana after her ordeal of being kidnapped and tortured by a serial killer considered her changed. In what ways do you think such an ordeal would change you?
John had always considered himself abandoned by his mother, and it was only when it was discovered that she was murdered that he got closure. If you were in John’s place, how would you have dealt with the sudden disappearance of a parent?
Tim Carver murdered his girlfriend, Casey, because she told him she was pregnant. If you were in Tim’s place, how do you think you would have handled the situation?
Dan Hardy tried to make Dana uncomfortable and behaved badly with her, even though he knew all about her ordeal with the serial killer. If you were an investigator trying to solve a case, how would you behave with witnesses and why?
Roger was concerned about the impression Dana was making on people and tried to drag her back to normalcy while her mother tried to smother her with protection. Her aunt encouraged her to pick up fights. If you were someone who loved Dana, how would you try to support her?
Casey tried to manipulate Tim by pretending to be pregnant, which ultimately got her murdered. Can you get into Casey’s head and figure out why she did what she did?
Dana didn’t want to remember her ordeal with Doc Holliday, but as she began to unearth the mystery surrounding Casey’s disappearance, she began to wish for some of her memory to return. If you were the victim of a horrific crime, would you wish to remember the ordeal and try to heal or would you prefer not to remember anything at all? Discuss.
As Dana looked back over time into her past, she realized that she was a different person than she thought she was. In what ways do you think you have changed from what you were ten years ago? How do you think being the victim of a horrific crime would change your outlook towards life?
True or false: Dana suspected Roger of killing her father.
_______ was Casey’s murderer.