Tuesday, June 28, 2016

In the Clearing Book Review

In the Clearing by Robert Dugoni

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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 crimes.

So when Jenny, a former police academy classmate and protege, 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?

Review by Brittany:

I always comment on books that are part of series but work fine as a standalone, and that's what this one does. It's the third in the Tracy Crosswhite series, but a reader could pick this one up without needing to know the full stories of the other two. As is usually the case, reading the previous books will enhance this novel, but it's not necessary.

I've read the other two and knew that I was going to love this one. Dugoni writes characters who are smart and quippy, building relationships between characters in just a few short lines. There are some characters - other detectives - that Tracy does not interact with much in this novel, but Dugoni is able to express the relationship they have in the short time they're in the story. Tracy's relationship with her long-term boyfriend, Dan, is also emphasized in this novel. I feel as if new readers to the series would still be able to believe the relationship between the two characters, even without all of the backstory. I consider this to be a clear indication of the author's skill.

As for the story, the main case is the cold case Tracy is working, but there's another murder case that her partner has picked up that is being worked as well. Both cases kept me interested and I was equally eager to find out "whodunnit" in each scenario. What struck me as interesting about the cold case was that all of the evidence was basically already there for Tracy - photographs, reports, interviews. However, in 1976 the evidence could not be interpreted in the same was as it can in present day, the one hindrance that the investigating deputy seemed to have. While he clearly had a grasp on what happened, he could not prove it based on his evidence. Reading along as Tracy was able to decipher the evidence he had gathered and piece together what happened to Kimi was incredibly interesting and sad.

Dugoni wrapped up the case nicely, leading the reader along with Tracy to the big reveal. One thing that Dugoni does that I love is he throws in that one last surprise. Even once the case seems wrapped up, there's one more piece of the story that Tracy figures out at the very end.

I loved this book. It has suspense, character development, and good relationships. Dugoni is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors, and I will definitely continue to read this series.

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