Thursday, 16 June 2016

Book Review: IN THE CLEARING by Robert Dugoni

In the Clearing (Tracy Crosswhite, #3)

 In the Clearing
Author: Robert Dugoni
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Read: May 2016

Synopsis (Goodreads):

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?

My thoughts:

In the Clearing is the third book in the Tracy Crosswhite series, but the first book in the series I have picked up. I found I was able to read it as a stand-alone novel but would have liked to know more background information of the main character, Tracy, as her past is referred to as a main motivator for her passion for solving cold cases and bringing closure to the families involved. I will clearly need to look up Dugoni’s other books and start the series from the beginning.

In this novel, Tracy receives a call from a friend to help her solve an old case her father was investigating when he first started his career as young deputy 40 years ago. It concerned the death of a young Native American girl, which was ultimately ruled a suicide despite the detective’s misgivings about discrepancies in the evidence he found. After his recent death, his daughter came across an old case file he has held on to all these years, and she wants Tracy to follow up the mystery which had clearly haunted him all his life.

As a parallel case, this time in the present, Tracy tries to solve the shooting of a father accused of beating his wife and son – was it murder or self-defence? Or is the mother trying to protect her son by taking the blame?

Both stories run parallel with no connection apart from Tracy, but Dugoni managed to keep my interest in both, although I found the cold case much more compelling and was glad that most of the story was devoted to it. I especially enjoyed the details about the forensic evidence and science available to solve the crimes 40 years ago, without the technology we have today. All in all an enjoyable read with a good solid lead character – I will make sure to look up the earlier books in the series.

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a free electronic copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

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