Description: Detective Tracy Crosswhite has a skill, and a soft spot, for tackling unsolved crimes. Having lost her own sister to murder at a young age, Tracy has dedicated her career to bringing justice and closure to the families and friends of victims of crime.
So when Jenny, a former police academy classmate and protégé, asks Tracy to help solve a cold case that involves the suspicious suicide of a Native American high school girl forty years earlier, Tracy agrees. Following up on evidence Jenny’s detective father collected when he was the investigating deputy, Tracy probes one small town’s memory and finds dark, well-concealed secrets hidden within the community’s fabric. Can Tracy uphold the promise she’s made to the dead girl’s family and deliver the truth of what happened to their daughter? Or will she become the next victim?
In The Clearing is the third book in the Tracy Crosswhite series. I stumbled across the second book in the series Her Final Breath last year and enjoyed it so much I then had to read the first book My Sister’s Grave.
In the Clearing has two main threads. A murder investigation in Seattle (where Tracy is normally based) which seems like a domestic and the 40 year old case in Stoneridge that her friend Jenny asks her to look at. Tracy’s skill seems to be tackling unsolved, older crimes. Although Stoneridge is out of Tracy’s jurisdiction, her friend Jenny wanted an independent assessment of the file in case it had to be officially re-opened. Tracy manages to get permission to investigate from her boss Nolasco on condition she does it in her own time. Luckily she was owed time off and returned to Stoneridge.
As she delves deeper into the case it looks like the town has its share of secrets and possible cover ups. Some people really don’t want anyone to look too closely at the case or have it re-opened. She enlists the help of experts who have access to modern forensics methods.
There were a few twists and turns along the way and the ending wasn’t quite what I expected.
I like Tracy. She’s hard working, fairly straightforward and tenacious when seeking clues. She takes some risks but I don’t think she’s one for flaunting the rules. She has a love interest lawyer Dan O’Leary but he only appears briefly in this book.
Tracy’s boss, Captain Johnny Nolasco, doesn’t like Tracy. In fact there’s no love lost between them. In this book Nolasco seems much more subdued (all part of the story) but I kind of missed the dynamic that was between them in the previous two books. If you haven’t read the first two books then that doesn’t make any difference. Each of the books can stand alone but some characters appear in all the books, all with a role to play.
Robert Dugoni has a good writing style – easy to read but a complex enough plot to be a satisfying read. I love the procedural and forensic detail we get from him. It’s easily understandable and never too complicated or boring. There are a few twists and turns along the way and the ending wasn’t quite what I expected.
This is another of those books where I just had to stay up late to finish it.
Author’s website: robertdugoni.com