Book Review: Prior Bad Acts by Tami Hoag

Prior Bad Acts by Tami HoagThis book was on my to-be-read shelves for ages! I got it from a book swap last year. So, when packing for holiday this summer, I decided to take some of my neglected books, and this was one of them. It made a great read on a lounger at the hotel swimming pool!

Prior Bad Acts: What it is about

A woman and her two children are brutally murdered in their own house. A vagrant, Karl, who had been receiving handouts from the woman, is apprehended and stands trial for the murder. The first step in the trial is to decide whether Karl’s previous convictions (for much minor crimes) can be taken into account by the jury. The judge, Carey Moore, says they can’t, which immediately makes her very unpopular with a number of people, amongst which the arresting officer, Stan Dempsey, who has become obsessed with the case, and also with the father of the victims, who now lives in the house with just his remaining son.

On the way to her car that evening, Carey is attacked in the parking garage. Investigating officer Sam Kovac is initially very much anti the against-the-grain judge but helps her home and discovers that her husband isn’t very interested in her well-being and may himself have ordered the attack.

Further investigation uncovers more bad behaviour from the husband, and also, the reader finds out more about Stan Dempsey, who is up to no good, and Karl, who escapes from prison and is also not up to much good.

Prior Bad Acts: What I thought

This was a solid thriller. Judge Carey was a strong character, not exactly likeable until later in the book, but I liked how she dealt with the situation she found herself in. Officer Sam was a flawed person too, but keen to prove that Carey’s husband was behind the attack in the parking lot.

We also get to see the story from the viewpoint of Karl, who escapes from prison, and Stan Dempsey, who is more obsessed than we initially can imagine.

Some of the story is over the top, for instance Casey’s husband was rather too uninterested in his wife even when she was beaten up, and Stan and Karl go too far in order to get what they want – a little over the top. But in all, a very enjoyable read.

Rating: 4 (out of 5)

Number of pages: 384 (Dutch edition)

First published: 2006

I got this book: from a book swap

Genre: thriller

Have you read this book?

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About Leeswammes
I'm owner and editor at In my free time, I read and review books on my two blogs, Leeswammes' Blog and De Boekblogger.

4 Responses to Book Review: Prior Bad Acts by Tami Hoag

  1. Chinoiseries says:

    I’ve yet to read a book by Tami Hoag, but from the sound of it, these books are perfect for holidays 🙂

  2. It does sound good for a holiday read. My mum is a fan of Tami Hoag, but I’m yet to try her books (despite Mum telling me to!)

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