The Last Line (Tracy Crosswhite #8.5), by Robert Dugoni

Eight stars

A longtime fan of Robert Dugoni, I was pleasantly surprised to see this short story emerge in his latest series. A prequel of sorts that offers series fans a closer look of another of the SPD Homicide detectives, this piece offers a great tale that is sure to entertain. While Tracy Crosswhite is front and centre in the series, the work of Del Castigliano and Vic Fazzio gets some of the spotlight here. Both rookies, they work through a case that could open up more than a simple motive and cause significant issues for those in their own squad.

Del Castigliano has moved to Seattle for a new start in 1995. His life is in shambles and all he wants is to climb the ranks of the SPD. When he arrives at the scene where two men were found floating in the harbour, Del cannot help but wonder if there is more to the story than a simple drowning. However, his senior partner dismisses it as much of anything and tosses the background investigating to Del.

When something doesn’t add up, Del turns to fellow rookie detective, Vic Fazzio, for some help. Together, they poke around and learn that the two victims have ties to some drug running, but that there may be more to it. As Del and Fazzio try to piece it all together, they realise that they could be sitting on a powder keg that might explode if what they are hearing from interviews comes to light. It’s time to make some serious choices. A great short piece that proves Dugoni is a master, even when constrained by a page limit.

The Tracy Crosswhite series has been one I have come to love for many years, though it is not only the protagonist that pulls me in. The entire team has quirks and great aspects that make each of the eight novels highly exciting. Not only does Dugoni take us back in this piece, but he offers some great backstory on two of the members who work alongside Crosswhite regularly. This masterful short story has all the elements I need for a single sitting read.

Del Castigliano is surely the central actor in this piece, offering up some great backstory that helps put his time on SPD into perspective. Alongside his growth is that of Vic Fazzio, another familiar face to series fans. Some of his own backstory comes to life in this piece, which allows readers to see how they forged a connection that would eventually lead to a strong partnership.

Dugoni offers up an intriguing case that can be digested in short order, offering up just enough drama and controversy to keep it exciting. Great writing, paired with a strong plot and decent character development, kept me flipping pages for thirty minutes to get to the end in a single sitting. Now, while I have to wait for more Tracy Crosswhite, I feel as though I got my dose until the next novel emerges soon!

Kudos, Mr. Dugoni, for a great filler piece. How you keep up the stories with such high quality, I will never know. Don’t stop now!

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: