Tag Archives: mystery

Book Review: In the Clearing

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I received an advance copy of Robert Dugoni’s forthcoming third novel in the Tracy Crosswhite series, In the Clearing.   I’ve read all three of the books, all prior to publication, and think that the third entry is a considerable improvement over the second novel,  Her Final Breath which left me disappointed, and felt like it did little to advance the development of the recurring characters.    This novel is more similar to the introduction to the series, My Sister’s Grave as Detective Crosswhite investigates a cold-case murder (which had been viewed as a suicide) that had some minor similarities to the detective’s own personal story, namely the murder of her own sister.


In the Clearing is a quick read. 51tCw4-LuyL._SX332_BO1,204,203,200_ It has a great start, and hooks the reader in.  The premise is that a friend of  Tracy Crosswhite, a sheriff in a fictional Washington town three hours from Seattle, wants to re-open a case that her father, the now deceased former sheriff had investigated 40 years earlier.  A teenage Native American girl was found dead in a river, and it was attributed as a suicide.  The then young deputy sheriff investigated the case on his own, but never was able to prove the case.   Tracy is brought in to re-examine the case.

My criticism of the book is that there were times when it was very confusing, as the book would go from Tracy Crosswhite investigating a current murder case in Seattle, to flashbacks from 1976 of the Sheriff Deputy, to contemporary investigation of the cold-case.   It jumped around that way, and required a lot of focus on the part of the reader.   But this is a minor criticism.   In the end, the story has a clear resolution, and was an enjoyable read.    I’d recommend it, but I’d say start with the bestseller My Sister’s Grave, if you haven’t read the series before.  There is a LOT of references to both prior novels.

In the Clearing is available on May 17.    I reviewed this for Netgalley.com.   



Book Review: Kellerman’s The Murderer’s Daughter

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This is new for me – writing book reviews.  But I am participating in NetGalley.com as an early reader of forthcoming novels, and the first book I read through the program was Jonathan Kellerman’s The Murderer’s Daughter, which will be out later in August.

I have not read a lot of Kellerman’s work, but was familiar with the Alex Delaware mystery series.  This was a stand-alone novel, although with a cameo tie-in to the author’s famous detective.  The Murderer’s Daughter tells the story of a successful psychotherapist with a disturbing past.   Grace Blades is an extremely talented young woman who survived the deaths of her drug-user parents, and navigated the foster care system until she found a family who was able to nurture her special talents.    The novel uses flash-backs, starting in the past, with her birth, and going back and forth from present day for most of the story, revealing to the reader, bit by bit, more of Grace’s back-story.

The author’s use of flash-backs could be seen as tired, but in this book it actually works quite well, as it ties in with the actual mystery that drives the book (which I won’t reveal, as it is too hard to not create a spoiler).

I am not convinced that the ending of the book was as good as it could be.  It felt in some ways like the author was running into a page limit, and wrapped it up a bit too quickly.   That said, I’d read a second book in the Grace Blade series, if it is a series.

4.2 / 5.


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