Kovac and Liska Books

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Sam Kovac and Nikki Liska are the lead characters in the Kovac & Liska series of novels by American thriller and romance novelist Tami Hoag. The first novel featuring the two characters was “Ashes to Ashes” first published in 1999.

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Order of Kovac and Liska Series

# Read Title Published Details
1 Ashes to Ashes ( By: Tami Hoag) 1999 Description / Buy
2 Dust to Dust ( By: Tami Hoag) 2000 Description / Buy
3 Prior Bad Acts / Dead Sky ( By: Tami Hoag) 2006 Description / Buy
4 The 1st Victim (Short Story) ( By: Tami Hoag) 2013 Description / Buy
5 The 9th Girl ( By: Tami Hoag) 2013 Description / Buy
6 The Bitter Season ( By: Tami Hoag) 2016 Description / Buy
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Nikki and Sam Kovac have formed a partnership that is so strong it could almost be described as a marriage, though they could not be any more unlike. Nikki is an adrenaline junkie and a very social person who loves the camaraderie of working with her colleagues. Kovac is a hard-boiled detective, though less social and more temperamental, particularly when dealing with young colleagues. The series is set in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The first novel in the series “Ashes to Ashes” opens to a serial killer wreaking havoc in Minneapolis. But just as the police begin to think they have him figured out, he changes tack and abducts and kills someone who is not a prostitute. He is now become a phenomenon in law enforcement, the press, and the community. His new name becomes “The Cremator” as he loves to burn his victim’s bodies after killing them.

With politicians seeking a solution, the top people from law enforcement are assigned to the case. A former FBI agent from DC named Kate Conlan is the witness/victim advocate assigned to work with the only witness in the case. She works alongside the US’s top profiler for the FBI, John Quinn a man with whom she has a history. What follows is an explosive narrative as the two track down one of the most prolific of serial killers in a novel. The novel shows the excellent storytelling skills of Hoag that have made her one of the most eminent authors of the detective thriller.


Ashes to Ashes: The first novel in the series is by far one of the best novels in the series. It comes with a diversity of flawed characters who are on the hunt for a deranged killer while dealing with scandal from their pasts. There are several layers to the plot and to the characters as Quinn and Kate the leads in the novel reflect on their past relationships and tragedies. Even better are the red herrings and the twists and turns, which are quite pleasant and offer some awesome distractions before identifying the killer.

Prior Bad Acts: The second novel in the Kovac & Liska series, is a shocking thriller that sees the lead detectives Nikki and Sam hunt and arrest a serial killer that is the personification of evil. He had committed a crime so brutal that it has turned the stomachs of some of the most hardened of homicide police officers, and left an indelible mark on the community. With everyone calling for his head, Judge Carey Moore rules that Karl Dahl’s prior criminal record has no bearing on the case leading to a public outcry.

Things get more interesting when the judge now becomes the target of an unknown assailant. Sam Kovac and Nikki Liska are called in to try to resolve the mystery of the attack, but everything changes when Karl Dahl makes a daring escape from jail further complicating the case. The judge is kidnapped from her bed with the police sitting outside, and now the detectives need to trawl through a maze of suspects that includes a rogue cop out for revenge, a husband with a dodgy life, and a stepson of the murder victim.

The Bitter Season: The fifth incredible novel in the series that sees the lead characters Kovac and Liska work different cases. Nikki is working the cold case squad and misses the rush of working homicide with her partner Sam Kovac. Sam also misses Nikki but has to work on a brutal double homicide before it goes cold. As the two work on their different cases, they soon discover that the cases may have more of a connection than they first thought which soon has them working together. But in the excitement of solving the cases they never notice the danger from the past that may just destroy Liska’s perfect life forever.


If you liked the Kovac & Liska series of novels, you will love the “Eve Duncan series of novels by Iris Johansen. The lead in the series is Eve Duncan” who survived the ordeal of having her seven-year-old daughter kidnapped and killed, to become the foremost forensic sculptor, helping to bring closure to parents whose children have gone missing.

Fans of the Kovac & Liska series also recommend the “Quincy & Rainie” Series by Kay Hooper. The novels are detective thrillers following the two detective partners Rainie and Quincie, who solve a range of complex murders involving psychopaths and serial killers.

What Is The Next Book in The Kovac And Liska Series?

There doesn't seem to be an upcoming book in The Kovac And Liska Series. The newest book is The Bitter Season and was released on January, 12th 2016.


1 thought on “Kovac and Liska”

  1. I’m a fan of this series! I’m three books in and going back for more. I think it was smart of the author to have it set in Minnesota because it makes you think that brutal crimes like these really can happen anywhere. Scary if you think about it too much!

    I think my favorite part is how relatable the characters are. Kovac and Liska are total opposites but they really do bring out the best in each other. The details from the characters to the storyline and everything in between keeps you coming back for more with these books. Can’t wait to read the next one!

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