EXCERPT: ‘Let’s play hide and seek, Daddy.’
‘We don’t have time for that, Elle. We have to get through.’
‘I’m sorry, honey. Maybe we can play at home.’
Elle cried. Then she sat down in the dirt.
‘Elle, get up, honey. You’re getting your costume dirty.’
‘Honey, you have to stand up.’
‘I want to play. Mommy lets me play.’
The counsellor Chin had seen for his court-ordered anger-management classes had warned that kids going through a contentious divorce could become defiant and play one parent off against the other.
‘Elle. You need to stand up.’
‘No. Graham plays with me.’
Chin felt his heart ripping apart. ‘Okay. One quick game. All right?’
Elle got to her feet. ‘Yay!’
‘But when I say come out, you have to come out. Okay?’
‘You count, Daddy. You have to hide your eyes.’
‘Okay, but if I say come out, you come out. Right?’
‘Turn around when you count.’
Chin turned and counted. It wouldn’t be hard to find Elle’s colourful butterfly wings among the green corn stalks. ‘One Mississippi. Two Mississippi. Three Mississippi.’
At six he cheated and turned. He didn’t see Elle’s wings behind the corn stalks. ‘Here I come.’ He stepped forward. ‘I’m coming.’ He searched the aisle, looking under the drooping leaves. He turned the corner to another row. Then a third and a fourth. He checked his watch, felt himself starting to panic.
He shouted, ‘Okay, Elle. I give up. Come out.’ He turned in a circle, looking, hearing the wind rustle the stalks. ‘Don’t let the lights go out,’ he muttered under his breath. He called again. ‘Elle? You have to come out. The game is over.’
His heart raced.
He jogged, turning left and right, down the rows, shouting her name. ‘Elle. Come out. Elle? Elle!’
He turned a corner, disorientated.
Elle’s colourful butterfly wings lay in the dirt.
Then the lights went out.
ABOUT ‘IN HER TRACKS’: Returning from an extended leave in her hometown of Cedar Grove, Detective Tracy Crosswhite finds herself reassigned to the Seattle PD’s cold case unit. As the protective mother of an infant daughter, Tracy is immediately drawn to her first file: the abduction of a five-year-old girl whose parents, embattled in a poisonous divorce, were once prime suspects.
While reconstructing the days leading up to the girl’s disappearance, Tracy is brought into an active investigation with former partner Kinsington Rowe. A young woman has vanished on an isolated jogging trail in North Seattle. Divided between two critical cases, Tracy has little to go on except the treacherous deceptions behind a broken marriage—and now, the secrets hiding behind the closed doors of a deceptively quiet middle-class neighborhood.
To find two missing persons, Tracy will have to follow more than clues, which are both long cold and unsettlingly fresh. Given her own traumatic past, Tracy must also follow her instincts—to whatever dark and dangerous places they may lead.
MY THOUGHTS: Another solid addition to Dugoni’s Tracy Crosswhite series. Tracy is returning to work following her maternity leave and finds that she has been shafted by her longtime arch-nemesis, Nolasco. But as they say, every cloud has a silver lining and Nolasco may just wind up having to eat humble pie.
Tracy’s character continues to develop and motherhood seems to have made her more conscious of the effect her personal traumas have had on her, and the need to learn to cope with them, if not overcome them has her regularly seeing a therapist. She has to learn to balance her caseload with her family life, not always an easy task, especially for someone as dedicated and empathetic as Tracy.
There are some unexpected twists and turns, and one that wasn’t so surprising to me, that I had guessed earlier on. Even though we know what has happened to Stephanie Cole, the young woman who has been abducted, Dugoni has laid a clever trail of red herrings so that the case is not quite as clear cut as it initially seems. This case somewhat overshadows the cold case involving the disappearance of five year old Elle Chin, and I also felt that the resolution to this was dragged out too long. Despite this, Dugoni kept my interest throughout and I enjoyed this addition to the series.
As a bonus, I think that this book could well be read as a stand-alone, so if you are daunted by the thought of starting this series at book #8, don’t be.
#contemporaryfiction #crime #detectivefiction #mystery #policeprocedural
THE AUTHOR: A writer turned lawyer turned writer.
Robert Dugoni was born in Idaho and raised in Northern California the middle child of a family of ten siblings. Dugoni jokes that he didn’t get much of a chance to talk, so he wrote. By the seventh grade he knew he wanted to be a writer.
Dugoni wrote his way to Stanford University, receiving writing awards along the way, and majored in communications/journalism and creative writing while working as a reporter for the Stanford Daily. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa and worked briefly as a reporter in the Metro Office and the San Gabriel Valley Office of the Los Angeles Times.
DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Thomas & Mercer via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of In Her Tracks by Robert Dugoni for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.
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