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Thursday, November 07, 2019

Despite Familiar Plot, First Installment in Mystery/Thriller Series Still Compelling

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

I grew up in Washington in a tiny town that no one's ever heard of.  Except for mystery/thriller writer Robert Dugoni, apparently.  My sister mentioned that one of the books in his popular Tracy Crosswhite series, which is set in The Evergreen State, talked about not just our little village, but also referenced nearby ones like Pucker Huddle.  That was enough to get me to check out the series!  All in all, I'm glad I did. 

The first installment, My Sister's Grave, introduces readers to Tracy, a high school chemistry teacher turned homicide detective.  At 42, she's still haunted by the rape and murder of her younger sister 20 years ago.  Although the body has never been found, a man named Edmund House was convicted for the crime.  To Tracy, the evidence against him has never really stacked up, leading her to wonder if he's truly guilty.  

When the remains of Sarah Crosswhite are finally discovered, Tracy pushes her colleagues to reopen her sister's case.  While examining the details of Sarah's short life, the detective discovers long-buried secrets and lies, which cause her to see the past in a whole new light.  The more she digs, the more she finds, which puts Tracy in the crosshairs of a dangerous killer.  Can she figure out who killed Sarah before she becomes the next victim?

As you can tell from the plot summary, there's nothing super new or original about My Sister's Grave.  It tells a familiar story, but one that does offer up some twists and turns I didn't see coming.  The thriller gets a little long, true.  Still, it kept me reading.  Overall, I like the characters in this one enough to continue on with the series.  After all, I have to get to the installment that mentions the little Columbia River Gorge towns that I know and love (even if no one else does)!

(Readalikes:  Reminds me of lots of mystery/thriller novels, although no specific title is coming to mind.  You?)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for language, violence, blood/gore, mild sexual content, and disturbing subject matter

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find


  1. I read that whole series a few months ago and really liked it. Good luck with your time in the Pacific Northwest! LOL

    1. Thanks! I wish I could be there for real, but fictional visits are the next best thing, right?

  2. There's a town called Pucker Huddle? That's awesome! I'd read this book just for that. :)

    1. Ha ha. Well, it's not actually it's own town. More a section of another town. It's a funny name, though, and until this moment, I've never wondered about its origin. Now I'm curious ...

  3. I love when books are set in my hometown. I grew up in Brooklyn, so many books there, but I recently read a few that were set around my part of NJ and I was really giddy about it. Sounds like this was a decent thriller. It's always a good sign, when the author can throw some twists you didn't see coming.

    1. It's always fun when I read books set in places where I've actually been. It helps me visualize the setting so much better. I grew up in a little tiny town in a gorgeous, rugged national scenic area - I'm actually surprised more books aren't set there. With the moody, broody weather and the rugged terrain, it would make a terrific backdrop for a mystery, suspense, survival, romance, or even horror novel!

  4. I've read books with similar stories but each one is intriguing - in different ways. The family story is also emotional because people do want closure as well.
    Thank you for the review.

  5. I've read this whole series and recommend it to suspense readers. Now he's started a new series, and I'm not sure if I'm on board. Isn't it fun when our little corner of the world is mentioned in a book? btw: from Washington state to Arizona-- big difference for you!

  6. It must be virtually impossible to come up with a new plot; I mean, hasn't every story pretty much been told? Maybe not. That's fun that your small town is in this book!

  7. I do like that the sister of the victim who had doubts of the convicted's guilt. Usually, the families of the victims would be hard pressed to reopen the case just to reverse the ruling. So I guess in that way, this is something different for me.


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