Seattle homicide detective Tracy Crosswhite is on maternity leave. While the family’s Redmond, Washington house is being renovated, she and her husband, Dan, return to her childhood home in Cedar Grove for what they hope will be a time to relax and bond with their new daughter, Daniella. Instead, Tracy becomes involved in a complicated murder investigation that stirs up emotional feelings about her sister’s murder and her father’s suicide.
A Cold Trail is Robert Dugoni’s seventh Tracy Crosswhite thriller. Jumping into the series with this book, I admit it took some time to come up to speed. I’m still confused about Tracy’s sister’s murder and the retrial of the man charged with the crime. Fortunately, A Cold Trail moves ahead and the focus is on two other killings – one from the past, another more recent – that the local authorities have not been able to solve.
In 1993, Heather Johansen was on her way home from a company Christmas party when she was found dead from a serious blow to the head. Her killer was never identified. Kimberly Armstrong, a writer for the local newspaper, dies in a house fire after she begins to investigate Heather’s murder. An investigation discovers that Kimberly died from blunt force trauma to to head before an accelerant was used to start the fire.
Cedar Grove’s police chief, Finlay Armstrong, not only was married to Kimberly, but had previously dated Heather. Until Finlay’s cleared of all suspicion, the former police chief, Roy Calloway, comes out of retirement to take over the department. Knowing he needs help, Calloway approaches Tracy.
While Tracy enjoys every minute she spends with her daughter, she’s also a skilled and dedicated investigator. She quickly realizes that Calloway is in over his head. Also, his past relationship with Heather, means that Tracy can’t clear him as a suspect. Because Tracy has a young woman, Therese, who takes care of Daniella, finding time to investigate removes one barrier. Dan, however, is opposed to Tracy working with Calloway. When the investigation places Therese and Daniella in danger, even Tracy begins to reevaluate her decision.
Meanwhile, one of Dan’s cases, focusing on redevelopment in Cedar Grove, begins to heat up and may actually have a connection with the murders. Suddenly, both Tracy and Dan are in the crosshairs, and it will take both of them, as well as Faz, Tracy’s former partner in the Seattle police department, to solve the two cases.
Dugoni has created a very appealing character in Tracy Crosswhite. A Cold Trail will be sure to please his many loyal fans.
Author photo: Douglas Sonders
A Cold Trail