Her Final Breath (Tracy Crosswhite #2) by Robert Dugoni

KK Conley Review

RD Her Final Breath

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Tracy Crosswhite is both threatened by and chasing a serial killer in this second installment of this series by Robert Dugoni. Tracy still suffers from the loss of her younger sister over twenty years ago, and is relentless in her pursuit of a killer, trying to capture him before he can kill again. .

I like the character because she is willing to do whatever it takes to get the perpetrator off the street, even if it costs her detective badge. Her old nemesis, Johnny Nolasco, is now her boss, and he’s just as determined to get rid of her as the guy who left a noose hanging on the fence at the shooting range when she practiced late one evening.

Dugoni paces the story well, and it is obvious that he works with a detective to ensure his story rings true. The threats against Tracy become more and more life threatening until Tracy faces down the psychopath at the end of the book.

Dugoni takes the time to craft wonderful characters, including his walk-ons. A favorite of mine is Alita Gotchly who appears in the last half of the book. She’s a randy woman north of fifty and not shy about anything.

“Ah, Dan O’Leary,” she said, imitating a thick Irish brogue. Her blue eyes shimmered. “You’re a nice-looking man, Dan O’Leary, and wearing some fine dungarees you are. I don’t suppose you’ve come to bid on me house for sale now, have ya?”

“I’m afraid I haven’t,” Dan said.

She dropped the accent. “Well, that’s a damn shame. Do you paint?”

Dan smiled. “I’ve been known to slop on a coat or two, but I haven’t brought my work clothes.”

“Alita,” she said, introducing herself. “And you’re catching me at a good time. Unless you’re a process server.”

Alita lives in Everette, so maybe we’ll see more of her in another Crosswhite installment.

This book has everything: a strong protagonist, a doozy of a psychopath, a nasty boss out to make Tracy look bad, a rekindling of the romance between Tracy and Dan O’Leary, her former fiance, and other great characters.

Booklist Online Review

At first blush, this reads like more of the same. A serial killer. A cop with personal problems. Her jerk boss. Plus lizardly lawyers and a troublemaking TV reporter. Hold on: this one takes the stock items and reinvents them with crafty plotting and high energy. Someone is murdering young women after luring them to seedy motels ringing Seattle, and for the first third of the book, we watch detective Tracy Crosswhite patiently doing her job, interviewing witnesses and reading files. She notes something odd: the crime-scene details echo those of a 10-year-old murder. That case was solved, and the killer put away by Tracy’s jerk boss, who got a proamotion out of it. Did he twist evidence to jail an innocent man? Now the boss is undermining her current investigation. Is there a connection? Is the real killer back in business? The revelations come in a wild finale. Dugoni is not afraid of coincidences, which happen all the time in real life, though genre authors fear them. It’s that busted taillight.

— Don Crinklaw

© Booklist Online

Amazon Description

Homicide detective Tracy Crosswhite has returned to the police force after the sensational retrial of her sister’s killer. Still scarred from that ordeal, Tracy is pulled into an investigation that threatens to end her career, if not her life.

A serial killer known as the Cowboy is killing young women in cheap motels in North Seattle. Even after a stalker leaves a menacing message for Crosswhite, suggesting the killer or a copycat could be targeting her personally, she is charged with bringing the murderer to justice. With clues scarce and more victims dying, Tracy realizes the key to solving the murders may lie in a decade-old homicide investigation that others, including her captain, Johnny Nolasco, would prefer to keep buried. With the Cowboy on the hunt, can Tracy find the evidence to stop him, or will she become his next victim?

4.6 stars, 500+ reviews

Goodreads Rating

4.2 stars, 2,400+ ratings

Dugoni’s Description

(Same as Amazon Description)