What She Found (Tracy Crosswhite #9), by Robert Dugoni

Nine stars

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.

Excited to get my hands on the latest Robert Dugoni novel, I rushed to read it and learn more about the adventures of Detective Tracy Crosswhite. While things in Seattle have been running smoothly, Crosswhite has a great deal still going on, particularly with her work in Cold Cases. Dugoni continues to develop his protagonist in a story where the twists do not stop until the final page. A wonderful addition to the series.

Detective Tracy Crosswhite could not be happier working within the Seattle Police Department, especially with a new Chief of Police. While she has been able to make an impact, she knows that her daily work must not be shelved. When a local reporter approaches Crosswhite to help with the disappearance of her mother 25 years ago, the detective is keen to see what she can uncover. Anita Childress is keen to learn what happened all those years ago and how her mother could up and disappear without a trace.

While Lisa Childress was herself a roaming reporter in 1996, she knew that she could not rely on the memory of others to reveal the truth of many cases. Chasing down a lead one night, Childress simply vanished and her husband was presumed to have murdered her. Living under a veil of suspicion for years, the family soon became local pariahs. Now, Anita wants answers and is not sure her own reporting will be enough to fill in all the gaps.

With Detective Crosswhite now on the case, it would appear that Lisa Childress had been looking into some fairly damning stories, including one about drug trafficking through coastal waters where a police team could have been looking the other way. Might this have been a reason Childress disappeared and could have been murdered? Crosswhite is keen to discover the truth and pulls on some leads of her own, including the original investigating detective.

The more she learns, the less sure Detective Crosswhite is about what she is discovering, but it is only after a trip out of town that things really take a turn. With everything up in the air, a daughter seeking answers about her mother’s disappearance, and Crosswhite feeling the pull from her own family, the case ramps up. Guilty parties seek to hush the sleeping dog that remained quiet for many years, which could have dire consequences. Dugoni adds chills to an eventful thriller, perfect for series fans.

There is nothing like knowing Robert Dugoni has a new book ready for reading, as he is able to mix wonderful ideas with an addictive storytelling ability. I am always highly impressed with Tracy Crosswhite in her stories, especially as there is no lack of character development throughout the experience. Dugoni has a great handle on the series and one can only hope there will be many more books to come, as I am keen to see where things will progress from here.

There is nothing better than an author who has mastered the art of storytelling and knows how to convey their ideas well. Robert Dugoni has never had this issue and keeps readers on the edge of their seats. An easy flowing narrative make the pages melt into one another, as chapters rush by and the story progresses wonderfully. Key characters provide wonderful contrast throughout and there is nothing like seeing Tracy Crosswhite grow, personally and professionally, while those around her also advance in their own way. The plot proves unique and yet grounded, keeping series fans feeling that sense of life in Seattle is ever-evolving and crime is always being explored in new ways. While this is book nine, I can only hope Dugoni has a lot more for his protagonist to do in a series that has not lost its lustre whatsoever.

Kudos, Mr. Dugoni, for proving that some series can stand the test of time and additions, without getting stale. I want to see what Tracy Crosswhite has to show when she returns soon.

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: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/248185-a-book-for-all-seasons

A Cold Trail (Tracy Crosswhite #7), by Robert Dugoni

Eight stars

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

A Steep Price (Tracy Crosswhite #6), by Robert Dugoni

Nine stars

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.

Presenting yet another stellar novel in the Tracy Crosswhite series, Robert Dugoni has not disappointed his fans whatsoever. While trying to come to terms with her pregnancy, Detective Tracy Crosswhite has yet to tell anyone, save her husband and partner, Kinsington Rowe. An added stress befalls Crosswhite as she is forced to testify in an important case that has many within Violent Crimes hoping for the best. When she returns to Seattle PD after a day of testifying, Crosswhite discovers a new detective assigned to her team, one who knows more about her than she’s comfortable admitting. Has her pending maternity leave been leaked to her Captain and is this new woman her permanent replacement? Before Crosswhite can get too wrapped up in the drama, she’s alerted to an ‘all hands on deck’ call, where two of her fellow teammates, Del Castigliano and Vic ‘Faz’ Fazzio, are out dealing with a shooting close to a playground. The victim, an advocate for cleaning up the neighbourhood of its drug and prostitution. Might someone be trying to execute their own vigilante justice to silence a do-gooder? Crosswhite is also called down to Missing Persons by a fellow detective, one who has a bad feeling about a case that’s just come up. Kavita Mukherjee, a college graduate from a traditional Indian family has up and gone missing. Her roommate and close friend has called it in, as it is so unlike Kavita to disappear. As Crosswhite takes on the case off the books, she learns that the Mukherjee family’s traditional values go so far as to want Kavita to marry and start a family. With little to go on, Crosswhite turns to a technological angle in order to seek answers. With these two cases gaining steam, the reader is pulled in deep to Dugoni’s masterful storytelling where no one is safe and no topic seems off limits. Brilliantly done and sure to appease series fans, as well as those who love a good America police procedural.

I have long admired Dugoni and his work, which seems so easy to read, no matter its length. He has mastered the art of character development, both looking forward and through well-woven backstories. Tracy Crosswhite may hold the name for the series, but it is not only her struggles with motherhood that finds its way into the narrative, but also the familial issues of another detective, who must face life-altering news. The more things change, the more they stay the same. The adage fits perfectly into this novel, as Dugoni seeks to add depth to the series and its characters, which is readily apparent to series fans. The narrative pushes forward and keeps the reader involved throughout, mixing longer chapters to develop plot lines as well as shorter ones, presenting cliffhangers and parachuting new twists into an already compact story. Dugoni never stops, though the reader need not feel tired or mentally exhausted, but rather astonished that so much of the book as progressed as they are lost in the story. One can only hope that Dugoni will not tie-off the series in the near future, as I know many who have come to love these novels and all that he has to offer.

Kudos, Mr. Dugoni, as you offer up yet another winner. I love all your ideas and can only hope that the novel plots keep coming to you as you put them down.

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/248185-a-book-for-all-seasons

Close to Home (Tracy Crosswhite #5), by Robert Dugoni

Nine stars

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.
Adding another explosive novel to the Tracy Crosswhite series, Robert Dugoni has answered the call of his fans to create another superior story. Pulled from the headlines, Dugoni draws on some heart-wrenching topics to add depth to this fifth novel. After young D’Andre Miller is struck and killed in a hit and run while walking home, Tracy Crosswhite and her partner, Kinsington ‘Kins’ Rowe make their way to the scene and begin an investigation. With no vehicle, it might be like finding a needle in a haystack, with a grieving family breathing down their necks. After someone calls in a vehicle matching the evidence left at the scene, Crosswhite and Kins trace it back to a member of the Navy, one Laszlo Trejo. He denies being in Seattle at the time of the crime, though admits his vehicle was stolen overnight. As things are heating up, Trejo makes a call and JAG lawyer Leah Battles appears to lay the groundwork for whatever defence she can formulate. Trejo continues to claim his innocence, even when evidence points in the direction of his being placed at the intersection where Miller was struck. While juggling this agonising case, Crosswhite has her own issues at home on which to focus. With a biological clock that continues to tick, she has agreed to seek some intervention surrounding not being able to get pregnant. With the support of her husband, Dan, Crosswhite takes her last apparent avenue to bring a life into the world, though the prospects are poor. In other events around the Violent Crimes Squad, Detective Delmo ‘Del’ Castigliano is still reeling at the death of his niece from a heroin overdose. Forced to hold the family together, Del tries to track down the person who derailed his niece’s life after she’d recently completed rehab. When he discovers that she has been sold a highly-potent form of heroin, Del will stop at nothing to run up the supply chain to get to the creep who destroyed his family. Del liaises with Celia McDaniel, working in the D.A.’s office on the rise in drug offences. Del and Celia tackle the legal angles and soon find themselves trying to come to an agreement to remove the dealer from the street before another family is torn apart. When the Article 32 hearing arrives for Trejo, Battles is hoping to score at least a few points before a court-martial. However, a key piece of evidence paralyses the prosecution and all eyes shift to Battles, who was the last person with the box of evidence. A killer going free, a young life taken due to heroin, a budding romance, and the perils of pregnancy. All of these are issues that strike close to home in this latest Dugoni legal thriller that will keep the reader enthralled until the last sentence. Series fans will flock to this and newbies will surely find their curiosity piqued.
I have long been a fan of Dugoni’s work, as I find it flows so easily and keeps the reader’s attention. The growth of Tracy Crosswhite has be prevalent throughout the five novels, allowing the series reader to explore her from various angles. The exploration of her maternal side here is poignant, as her work within Violent Crimes has her consoling witnesses and families on a daily basis. However, she is left to be stoic, even in the face of her own personal tragedies. Dugoni does well to build on this throughout the story, adding aspects of Dan’s interpretation. All this, while Crosswhite keeps her detective skills sharply honed to find a killer. The added storyline involving Del Castigliano pulls on the heartstrings of the reader as the family regresses after the death of a young woman. As Dugoni mentions in his Acknowledgements, he cannot fathom the depths of despair that these people must face, but has tried to put a face on it to allow further character development for Del. Dugoni’s use of other characters pulls the story in many directions, all of which prove useful to the overall story arc. The premise of the novel is timely, even if the drug-related storyline takes second chair to the hit and run. The reader is able to relate to both stories, or at least is given enough to allow them to connect, without dwelling too long and losing the narrative’s momentum. Dugoni’s writing style allows the chapters to flow with ease and the narrative to keep things fresh, which makes digesting the book in short order a real treat for the reader. The only issue with this, is the need to wait for the next instalment, though Dugoni seems to be able to churn them out so easily without losing their quality. I hope many will find Tracy Crosswhite to their liking and add this series to a teetering ‘to be read’ pile. It is well worth the gamble.
Kudos, Mr. Dugoni for impressing yet again with an explosive thriller. You touch the heart while spinning a crime and legal thriller like no other in the genre.