Judith D Collins
In the Clearing
By: Robert Dugoni
Tracy Crosswhite #3
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Publication Date: 5/17/2016
My Rating: 4 Stars
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?
A special thank you to Thomas & Mercer and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Robert Dugoni returns following (2015) Her Final Breath, with the third riveting installment of Tracy Crosswhite, IN THE CLEARING a cold case of 40 years with some dark secrets of the past. Set in Seattle, Washington Detective Tracy Crosswhite, finds herself in another adventure—from 1976 to 2016. Klickitat County Sheriff Jenny Almond (friend from the academy), asks Tracy to take a look at a file that Jenny’s late father, retired sheriff Buzz Almond, held on to for forty years. Kanasket County Washington 1976 Kimi Kanasket did not return from the diner after work. A Native American senior in high school, some forty years ago. The body was found; however the family was not convinced her death was a suicide. A complicated case. The first case her friend Jenny’s father ever investigated as a deputy sheriff. Like Kimi, Sarah had been about to start college when her sister disappeared. Tracy had become a homicide detective out of a strong desire to determine what had happened to her sister, and to help other young women like her. The pathologist and the prosecutor concluded it was a suicide—jumped, a bridge, the White Salmon River—a theory due to her ex-boyfriend. However, the case was never sent to storage. The records at the office indicated they were destroyed. The detective on the case had died years earlier. Due to forensics in today’s time, Jenny felt like she owed it to her dad and Tracy takes the case. Closure for her friend and the girl’s family. No DNA However, the town holds dark secrets. They do not want a stranger turning over stones and the more Tracy investigates the more disturbing, putting herself in danger. High school football, Everyone was shocked, she was not the kind of kid to commit suicide. She was working at the diner saving money for college. Something does not sit right. Tommy Moore, the boyfriend? Who is to blame? A coverup?
Trying to get witnesses to remember an event months or even just weeks earlier could be difficult, but the fact that Kimi had disappeared the weekend of what was apparently the most celebrated sporting event in Stoneridge’s history gave Buzz and Tracy a point of reference to ground witness’s recollections. They want to keep the past in the past. Were there tensions between the Native Americans – racial? A forty year old secret . . someone had time to cover their secrets. Evil. There is also a parallel narrative, back in Seattle and Tracy and her team are trying to solve the case of the murder of Tim Collins. A concerned brother, Mark who wants the wife, Angela in jail. Could the wife be covering for the son, Connor? Was it self-defense?. Kins takes the lead and Tracy concentrates on the cold case, while alternating chapters. Divorce, money, estate. No new signed will? Motive? As Tracy gets further into the older investigation, and she thinks of the other case. Who is to blame? The author does a good job of catching up new readers with the previous books in the series. I have read the previous two; however, a good refresher. To really get a good background of Tracy’s past, recommend reading #1 and #2. Between the two cases, the cold case was more intriguing. From family lies, small town, dark secrets, crime, mystery, and suspense –with a psychological twist. Fans will enjoy catching up with familiar characters. As always, Dugoni does an outstanding job with dual narratives, character development, forensics, and cop procedures. For fans of Marcia Clark, Linwood Barclay, and Joseph Finder.Looking forward to seeing what’s next for Tracy.
About the Author
Robert Dugoni is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and #1 Amazon Bestselling Author of the Tracy Crosswhite Series: My Sister's Grave, Her Final Breath (September 2015) and A Clearing in the Woods (May 2016). He is also the author of the critically acclaimed, David Sloane series: The Jury Master, Wrongful Death, Bodily Harm, Murder One and The Conviction. Dugoni has twice been nominated for the Harper Lee Award for Legal Fiction, was a 2015 International Thriller Writer's finalist for thriller of the year, and the 2015 winner of the Nancy Pearl Award for Fiction. His books are sold world-wide in more than 20 countries and have been translated into a dozen languages including French, German, Italian and Spanish. Dugoni and author Steven James teach a four day writing intensive. www.novelwritingintensive.com Dugoni wrote his way to Stanford University, receiving writing awards along the way, and majored in communications/journalism and creative writing while working as a reporter for the Stanford Daily. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa and worked briefly as a reporter in the Metro Office and the San Gabriel Valley Office of the Los Angeles Times. Dugoni attended the UCLA law school and practiced law for 13 years in San Francisco. His longing to return to writing never wavered, however, and in 1999 he awoke one morning and made the decision to quit law and write novels. On the 4-year anniversary of his wedding day, keeping a promise to his wife, he drove a u-haul trailer across the Oregon-Washington border and settled in Seattle to pursue his dreams. For the next three years, Dugoni worked daily in an 8 foot by 8 foot windowless office in Pioneer Square to complete three novels, winning the 1999 and 2000 Pacific Northwest Writer's Conference Literary Contests. Dugoni's first novel, The Jury Master, followed and became a New York Times bestseller. Deadly Pleasures mystery magazine chose The Jury Master as one of three "Best of the Best" debut novels of 2006 and the Seattle Times likened Dugoni to a young John Grisham, calling The Jury Master, "A riveting tale of murder, skullduggery and treachery at the highest level." Dugoni's second novel, Damage Control, reached number 8 on several national independent bookseller's lists. Publisher's Weekly and Library Journal called Damage Control "a page turner" with "a fast moving plot and a few twists that will surprise even seasoned thriller readers." Wrongful Death, Dugoni's second novel featuring Dugoni's popular protagonist, David Sloan, received critical acclaim. Kirkus called it, "An entertaining thriller about a hotshot lawyer with good guys to like, villains to hiss, and windmills to attack.." And Booklist wrote, "Mixing the suspense of a Grisham legal thriller with the political angle of a Baldacci. Dugoni is knocking on the A-list thriller door." June 2010, Dugoni released his third in the David Sloane series, Bodily Harm, which Library Journal chose as one of the top five thrillers of 2010. The Providence Rhode Island Journal wrote that Bodily Harm branded Dugoni as "The undisputed king of the Legal Thriller." Dugoni's fourth in the series, Murder One, was released June 2011 and hailed as a cross between Presumed Innocent and Basic Instinct. Publisher's Weekly called it "the best yet in the series" and Library Journal again chose it as one of the top five thrillers of 2011. The Miami Examiner wrote, "Dugoni should be cloned." It was a finalist for the prestigious Harper Lee Award given by the University of Alabama School of Law and American Bar Association. The Conviction, the fifth in the David Sloane series will be released June 2012 and again hailed. The Associated Press wrote, "The names John Grisham and Scott Turow are mentioned when discussing the legal thriller genre. Robert Dugoni is as good, if not better." TheProvidence Rhode Island Journal agreed. "The Conviction isn't just the best legal thriller of the year, it's one of the best thrillers period." Dugoni's first novel in the Tracy Crosswhite series My Sister's Grave (Nov. 2014) became a months-long Amazon #1 and New York Times and Wall Street Journal Bestseller. Crosswhite, Seattle's First Female Homicide detective is on a twenty-year quest to find out who abducted and murdered her younger sister. The answer will shock her, and open horrifying new dangers. The sequel, Her Final Breath, will be released Sept. 2015 and the third in the series, A Clearing in the Woods, will be released May 2016. Look for the short story prequel, The Academy, a free Amazon download. Read More