Review: In the Clearing by Robert Dugoni


In the Clearing 
Robert Dugoni
Thomas & Mercer

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 Sister’s Grave was one of my favorite books last year. It was compelling, surprising and emotional at the same time. After reading that ending, I didn’t know how someone could write such an amazing story in a way that everything made sense. Her Last Breath was also great and kept me intrigued, but it didn’t reach the first book’s standards. I was really excited when Thomas & Mercer accepted my request via Netgalley and I have to say In The Clearing didn’t disappoint.

In The Clearing focuses on two different mysteries, one that revolves around a “cold case” that dates back to 1976 and the present one, which is what our main character Tracy Crosswhite is working on. Speaking of Tracy, I love how fearless she is, how she’s always willing to help others, even if everyone seems to be against her. She makes mistakes, but she tries to make it up in the end and that’s what really matters. Her relationship with Dan is not your typical romance: they’re mature adults, they know what they want and they realize their work is the most important thing in their lives (at least, for Tracy).

Both mysteries kept my attention through the whole book, although in the end, the 1976 “suicide” was the one that impressed me the most. The present case ending was a bit bland and I didn’t care much for it. However, the Washington crime had everything I love in a story and the flashbacks were particularly awesome.

Robert Dugoni clearly knows how to write a great mystery. He doesn’t ignore the classic elements (cops that focus only on work and are bad at marriage, fires that destroy important documents…) but he uses them so well and the stories are so well-crafted, that you enjoy them even more. Don’t miss it. Keep in mind that Dugoni doesn’t spoil the first two books here, so you can read this one even if you haven’t read the previous ones (although I’d say go for it and begin with My Sister’s Grave).

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