Reading Guides



Deeper Than the Dead introduced Tami Hoag's millions of fans to Oak Knoll, a small California town that, in the mid–eighties, seemed as idyllic as any . . . until the See–No–Evil killer shattered that notion. It took FBI agent Vince Leone and a new technique called "profiling" to put an end to the trauma.

Secrets to the Grave brought Leone's teacher–turned–child– advocate wife, Anne, into a central role. Together with Vince and local sheriff 's deputy Tony Mendez, she solved an Oak Knoll murder with a particularly challenging mystery: The victim never existed.

And now Hoag returns once more to Oak Knoll for the third installment of this bestselling series. Through Leone's pioneering, science–based investigatory skills, Hoag explores the early days of forensic police work. And through the chilling case at the heart of Down the Darkest Road, she hooks ever more readers into the meticulously crafted, all–too–terrifying world of Oak Knoll, where the scariest secrets of all can be found . . . Down the Darkest Road.


Tami Hoag

Tami Hoag is the #1 international bestselling author of thirty books. Renowned for combining thrilling plots with character–driven suspense, Hoag first hit the New York Times bestseller list with Night Sins, and each of her books since has been a bestseller. She lives in Southern California and Florida.


  1. Lauren and Leah deal with the tragedy in their lives in various ways. Discuss their coping mechanisms, both healthy and unhealthy. Does one deal better than the other? How do their coping mechanisms clash?

  2. Do you think, under the circumstances, Lauren could have been a better mother to Leah? If you were a friend of Lauren's, what advice would you offer? What advice would you offer Leah?

  3. Which character did you find most compelling? Which did you find most sympathetic?

  4. Discuss Tony Mendez as a character. What qualities does he possess? Does he overstep his bounds as a police officer?

  5. How does Lauren help and/or hinder the police investigation? Would you have done anything differently?

  6. What did you think of Lauren's intentions for moving to Oak Knoll? Was it the right decision? Did your impressions of Lauren change throughout the novel?

  7. Discuss the best and worst aspects of Oak Knoll. If Oak Knoll were a real place, would you want to live there? How do you think the story would be different if it were set somewhere else?

  8. What role does Anne play? Do you think she was effective in helping Lauren or Leah?

  9. What mistakes were made in the investigation of Roland Ballencoa? Could/ should any of the cops have handled anything differently?

  10. What do you think of Danni Tanner as a police officer? How does her police style differ from Tony's? Does she make a good match for Tony?

  11. What do you envision for Leah and Lauren's future? Tony Mendez's future? How will the experiences in Down the Darkest Road change them forever?