Tracy is a hardened Seattle detective with a background as a chemistry teacher and competitive shooter. She’s intelligent and deadly and still puts up with a lot of crap from her sexist boss over Tracy “embarrassing” him by fighting back after he got a bit too handsy with demonstrating a pat down during her training. Tracy’s boss, Nolasco, is such a wonderful douchebag. You absolutely love to hate this guy and Dugoni does a great job in showing the hurdles Tracy has to jump just to do her job correctly without bruising his fragile ego. Nolasco even has a “porn stache” which automatically makes me picture him as an older version of the prison guard in Orange is the New Black “Porn Stache” so that’s kind of fun. The entire book you root for Tracy and want her to put this guy in his place so whenever she gets a leg up on him, it’s deliciously sweet.
I’m not going to talk too much about plot because I would hate to ruin anything. But in this story, Tracy is hard on the trail of a man who likes to hog-tie strippers until they end up strangling themselves when they can no longer hold their legs up. Essentially, the noose around their neck is tied to their ankles, they can only physically hold that position for so long until their legs cramp and as they straighten, the noose tightens. It’s brutal and twisted and the police hit so many snags with trying to catch this serial killer… some are self-imposed by Nolasco who has given Tracy the lead on the task force with minimal resources for the sole purpose of watching her fail. Nolasco not really caring that by doing so it will get more women killed is mind boggling but it 100% makes sense for Nolasco’s character.
On top of an unsupportive boss, Tracy has to deal with leaks to the media, unreliable witnesses, and a stalker who may or may not be the serial killer all at the same time and then … then she gets attacked. Throughout this whole process, Dugoni is weaving subtle but clear hints and foreshadowing elements as to who the serial killer might be and if it’s the same person sneaking around Tracy’s house. They’re little things, mannerisms from the suspects they talk to that make you kind of slow down and say “But that doesn’t make sense!” and that’s entirely intentional. Dugoni makes you really stop and think who could be doing these things because, like Tracy, you as the reader know something isn’t adding up. It’s a great feeling and I wish more thriller authors could capture this level of subtlety.
By the time everything wraps up, the twists make sense, nothing feels like it blindsided you for conveniences sake. Tracy legitimately rises above all the issues thrown at her because she is a damn good cop. Never once does Dugoni make up science just to explain how they figured things out from one blurry image. There is no CSI: Miami moment where one blurred pixel makes a perfect image that points to the killer and I love that. Dugoni is superb at grounding his crime drama’s in research and realism which heightens the suspense and makes Tracy such a relatable character.
I really liked the first in the series but I find that, with how this book and the first connect and how masterfully the foreshadowing is done, I liked the second in the Tracy Crosswhite series more than the first! A solid 5 stars! This is definitely one of those series I’ll be sticking with for the long run.
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