After a medical leave for some PTSD following her last case, Tracy Crosswhite is finally cleared to return to work. As she arrives for her first day, she’s promptly called to Capt. Nolasco’s office, only to learn that her Violent Crimes Squad team position was given to another detective while she was away. Her only choice is to assume to role of cold case investigator, whose present detective happens to be retiring today. Feeling cornered, Traci stops by the cold case office to get the lay of the land.
Meanwhile, Stephanie Cole is planning on running a new jogging path at an out of the way park, before heading to a Halloween party. As she finally locates the park and sets out, she’s surprised to find that the running trail dead ends. She turns around to run back, but never makes it out of the woods.
As Tracy gets settled and reviews some of the cold cases, a couple in particular catch her eye. One is that of the disappearance of a Seattle police officer’s daughter, 5 years ago, after playing hide and seek in a corn maze. The child was never found. More than a bit intrigued, Tracy digs into the file. Then a knock on the door brings her former partner Kins, who has just picked up the missing jogger case, and asks her to take a ride, as he lays out the situation. Together they start some interviews as they attempt to discover the whereabouts of Stephanie Cole. Tracy then recalls two of the case files in her office – also those of missing women from the same general area – and wonders if they might be related.
As Tracy, Kins and the rest of the VCS team race against time to find a missing woman, the missing child from years ago is not ever far from Tracy’s mind. As DNA evidence mounts, the team zeroes in on a suspect, desperately hoping to find Stephanie alive, but there’s still a piece of the puzzle missing…and time is running out…
This is another series I’ve discovered, thanks to Netgalley & Thomas & Mercer Publishers, and it does not disappoint. A first-rate protagonist, and a fast-paced thriller make for another fantastic read from Robert Dugoni! As always, I cannot wait for Tracy’s next adventure!
(I received this book as an Advance Reader Copy from Netgalley, in exchange for an objective review.)