Tracy returns from her extended leave in her hometown of Cedar Grove to find her position in Seattle PD’s Violent Crimes’ A-Team given to another detective. As just another excuse for her spiteful boss to enforce his authority, Tracy is, instead, offered a position in the Cold Case unit. The mother of an infant daughter herself, Tracy is immediately drawn to a case involving the disappearance of a five-year-old girl whose parents, embattled in a nasty divorce, were once prime suspects.
As she begins reconstructing the timeline leading up to the girl’s disappearance, Tracy’s former partner Kinsington Rowe brings her in on an active investigation where a young woman has vanished on an isolated jogging trail in North Seattle.
Divided between two critical cases, Tracy has little to go on. On one end she has only the treacherous deceptions behind a broken marriage and a trail long gone cold; on the other, despite unsettlingly fresh leads, she must pry open the secrets hiding behind the closed doors of a deceptively quiet middle-class neighbourhood.
Given her own traumatic past, Tracy must also follow her instincts—to whatever dark and dangerous places they may lead.
After devouring the Tracy Crosswhite Series for my 2020 Annual Binge-Read, the opportunity to read an advance review copy of the next book in this series was irresistible.
One of the reasons I find myself returning to Dugoni’s writing is because his mysteries explore the intensity of human emotions under fire. In the cold case disappearance of five-year old Elle Chin, the parents’ relationship shows the dark underbelly of a toxic marriage. As for jogger Stephanie Cole’s disappearance, it is the secrets kept hidden in plain sight. His characters touch the far end of the spectrum, peeling away the circumstantial layers that drive them to the choices they make, whether negative or positive.
As a reader you find yourself hooked from the beginning to the thrill of the chase and the suspense it builds along the way. While Tracy chases leads on both cases, she must also work though the difficult memories it resurrects of her sister’s disappearance, twenty years ago. And then there is the jaw-dropping twist at the end which will hit mystery fans hard in the gut.
I am also intrigued by Tracy Crosswhite the protagonist. A woman and a mother, with a physically demanding and mentally exhausting job, she is constantly trying to balance her personal and professional life. Having followed her story through the course of eight books now, I find her character journey incredibly inspiring and wholly relatable. More than the mystery, I look forward to Tracy Crosswhite’s personal growth each book brings. For me, she continues to be the biggest hook of the series.
A dark crime thriller that plays havoc with your emotions and a motivated female lead determined to bring justice even if at personal cost, this will continue to surprise you with its engaging storyline and grey characters.
Note: The book covers all relevant parts of Tracy’s backstory to make this a standalone read and you can always go back to book1 if you enjoy this. I read Book 4 in 2018 and then read the entire series from the beginning in 2020.
Book 24 of 2021.
Aquamarine Flavours Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟1/2.
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