A Cold Trail

By Robert Dugoni

Thomas & Mercer. 357 pp. $15.95

Reviewed by Jeff Ayers

A cold case pulls Seattle homicide detective Tracy Crosswhite into a deep look into her past in A Cold Trail, Robert Dugoni’s latest mystery.

Crosswhite returns to the small town of Cedar Grove with her husband, Dan, and their new baby to enjoy maternity leave and stay away from their own home while it is being renovated. The town holds a rough past for her. Crosswhite's sister was murdered while they were both in high school, and the last time she visited the area was to solve her sibling’s killing. Tracy is supposed to relax with her child while her husband works on a legal matter involving a real estate deal in the town. Of course when a mystery comes calling, she can’t resist.

A reporter investigating a cold case from a few months before the death of Tracy’s sister is killed in a house fire. Forensics discovers arson and learn that she was dead before the fire started. The main suspect is her husband, a local police officer. The chief asks Tracy to investigate and she soon discovers the woman had uncovered some new leads. The young woman who died was pregnant and the last person to see her alive was the man now suspected of murdering his wife.

Poking into the case stirs up old emotions for Tracy and the people she grew up with, who all now seem to want to distance themselves from her. It doesn’t help that Dan wants Tracy to drop the case and focus on being a mother. Uncovering the truth will jeopardize everything she holds dear, assuming her family survives.

Dugoni blends the best elements of a classic small town mystery with a legal thriller to craft a compelling tale. His characters and vivid setting drop the reader right into the emotional heart of the story.

Tracy Crosswhite is one of the best protagonists in crime fiction today, and there is nothing cold about A Cold Trail.

From the Associated Press.