Down the Darkest Road_
“Down the Darkest Road" is a masterful tale, offering up a strong narrative sprinkled with similes and metaphors; captivating, eccentric, feisty characters; and an abundance of sheer, wicked debauchery. Without a doubt, Ms. Hoag knows how to take her readers on a frightening ride on a twisting highway of evil, making the probable seem possible while leaving us tightening our seatbelts, gasping for vengeance.”
Down the Darkest Road is as ominous as the title implies. Ms. Hoag uses her innate talent to create a mystery infused with gut-wrenching suspense, making this book a roller coaster of a ride.
Upper middle-class Lance and Lauren Lawton have it all: a happy marriage, upstanding careers, the perfect home, and two wonderful daughters, Leslie and Leah. Then the unexpected happens and their world crashes around them when 16-year-old Leslie goes for a bike ride never to return. Her bicycle and one shoe are discovered abandoned, and a search of their Santa Barbara town ensues, but Leslie is not found. Though a suspect is on the cop’s radar, they cannot hold him due to lack of evidence.
Flashing forward four years, Lauren will not give up on the possibility of finding Leslie. Grief stricken, Lance gives up the ghost in a car crash that many consider suicidal though the official cause of death is termed an accident. Younger daughter Leah remains quiet and introverted, striving to be the perfect child and trying not to upset Lauren.
On the recommendation of friends, Lauren and Leah move an hour away to Oak Knoll for a fresh start. Leah ends up even more withdrawn—an emotional cauldron ready to explode. Forty-two-year-old Lauren appears much older and continues to despair over her missing daughter and the fact that Leslie’s case is now listed as cold.
Then one day Lauren spots the man she holds responsible for abducting Leslie at the local supermarket. He is in Oak Knoll! In a fit of panic, she follows him, and in her frenzied quest to reach him, she comes close to plowing down some pedestrians in a parking lot. Detective Tony Mendez, witness to her behavior, pulls her over. Lauren does not trust the authorities, but to her amazement, she divulges her tale to Mendez, along with her need to follow the criminal.
Curiosity piqued, Mendez takes it upon himself to investigate, traveling to Santa Barbara to talk to the cop who originally handled the assignment. She informs him that the suspect has been kept under observation, though neither closely nor recently. When Mendez then discovers the perp has left town, he realizes Lauren may possibly be right: this creep could have followed her to Oak Knoll and might indeed be planning to abduct Leah.
Down the Darkest Road is a masterful tale, offering up a strong narrative sprinkled with similes and metaphors; captivating, eccentric, feisty characters; and an abundance of sheer, wicked debauchery. Without a doubt, Ms. Hoag knows how to take her readers on a frightening ride on a twisting highway of evil, making the probable seem possible while leaving us tightening our seatbelts, gasping for vengeance.