First and foremost, a large thank you to NetGalley, Robert Dugoni and Thomas & Mercer for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.
Returning for another instalment of this series, I turn to Robert Dugoni and hope that the quality remains high and the plot twists plentiful. I was not disappointed with this novel, which returns to some roots and provides a core storyline that many series fans will surely enjoy. Tracy Crosswhite is on the mend, with a newborn and an energetic husband. As they renovate the home Dan’s parents once owned, Tracy is back in Cedar Grove, alongside all the memories of her youth. When a house fire kills a local journalist, the town is abuzz with the news, though it is something she was working on that has Tracy more than interested. New revelations about a case from two decades before have come to life, casting doubt that a young woman’s death was at the hands of the same serial killer who murdered Tracy’s sister. The local police are happy to let Tracy use her Seattle skills to help uncover the truth, though she remains uncertain if she wants to thrust herself into the path of danger yet again. When Tracy sees the ME’s report, she is left to wonder if a new batch of suspects might have had motive to kill. Now, all those who have seen the report are dying, likely not from the natural causes to which things have been attributed. Meanwhile, Dan has been doing some legal work in town, helping a store owner negotiate with the town council about buying his property. The council lawyer seems to be pushing hard to offer a settlement, but Dan cannot be entirely sure if there is more to the story. When someone targets Tracy at the house while Dan is away, everything becomes a little more real and the fragile balance of work and home life come crashing together. Might both Tracy and Dan have taken on more than they can chew in Cedar Grove? Another great piece in the series that has me devouring the story and hoping for more. Recommended to series fans who need a little Tracy Crosswhite fix, as well as the reader who loves a small-town mystery with big-city thrills.
I have loved this series since I first got my hands on it and this book has not disappointed whatsoever. Dugoni has a great handle on the characters, plot, and development, even as he juggles a few writing commitments at this time. Returning to Cedar Grove is surely tough for Tracy Crosswhite, where the memories of her childhood linger and knowledge that her sister’s murder two decade before remains on the minds of everyone she sees. Tracy is forced to face many of these fears and the people she knew growing up, though she sees many of them in a new light. Her struggles with that are balanced with the unknowns around being a new mother and trying to do what is best for her daughter. Throughout, the reader can see the pull of both worlds, as well as Tracy trying to define how her life as a detective might be permanently changed, what with a little one who depends on her. This is nicely offset with her husband, Dan, who has some of the same issues, but more that Tracy is thrusting herself into danger. He struggles to determine if he should and can be that protector for his family, while also keeping up a legal practice. Introspection for both characters enriches the story immensely. There are a handful of others who grace the pages and add depth to an already jam-packed story, keeping the reader attentive to all the clues and possible motives that lurk behind every corner. Dugoni does well to bring the story ‘home’ in a sense, allowing Crosswhite and the others to focus on the small picture, which is actually part of the larger one (if that makes sense). With a mix of short chapters that propel the reader forward and longer ones that set the stage for more excitement, this novel is one that can be tackled in short order, as the pages melt away. A legal thriller and police procedural rolled into one, this is one of Dugoni’s best in the series.
Kudos, Mr. Dugoni, for another stellar piece of work. I am so very excited to see how well things are going and cannot wait to see where you take your readers next.
A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/248185-a-book-for-all-seasons