Tracy Crosswhite is a Seattle homicide detective, haunted by the tragedies that have befallen her family – not least the abduction/disappearance of her sister years before. In the first novel, she heads back to her home town in Cedar Grove when her sister’s body is found. Determined to find out the truth about Sarah’s disappearance and murder, she must dig deep into her past. Are some questions best left unanswered as the advice from everyone is to let sleeping dogs lie.
In the second novel, Crosswhite is back in Seattle and back in the crosshairs of her boss, Johnny Nolasco. Dancers (code for strippers and prostitutes) are being murdered and Tracy has been tasked with finding the serial killer. Again, her doggedness lands her in trouble as she refuses to quit. Along the way, her relationship with her childhood friend, Dan, who plays a central role in the first novel, deepens.
I particularly enjoy series and I’m delighted to have found a new one in Robert Dugoni’s Tracy Crosswhite. I always know it’s a winner when I go straight on to read the second after the first and am disappointed to find that the third instalment won’t be available until 2016.
As with other novels in the genre, a detective is nothing without their ghosts and Tracy’s lie in the disappearance of her sister twenty years before. Her guilt is tied to the fact that she left Sarah to head home alone at the age of 18. Her car ran out of gas … and that was that. Tracy has spent the subsequent years chasing answers, reading files, and generally keeping the rest of her life on hold as her quest for answers remains unfulfilled … until Sarah’s body is uncovered. Then it’s back home to small town Cedar Grove, where everybody knows her name and her story.
The two novels in the series so far chart Tracy’s involvement in her sister’s murder inquiry which continues to impact on her life and professional reputation afterwards. And, as in politics, sometimes the enemy is within, and she has to look out for the shenanigans of her boss, Johnny Nolasco. They had a run-in in the Academy and, as these things go, it has never been resolved and their distrust and dislike of each other has ripples and aftershocks – for both of them – as time moves on.
The love interest angle is covered by lawyer Dan O’Leary, a childhood friend of Tracy who turns up at Sarah’s funeral, having moved back to Cedar Grove. The relationship is handled well and it’s not all spark and fizz as in other novels, moving along at a more realistic and believable pace.
The novels aren’t as fully engaging as others, but I’m happy to have added them to my library nonetheless and will follow Tracy as she ponders her next move. These novels have also whetted my appetite for other Dugoni novels, so that’s surely a compliment.