Author: Robert Dugoni
Series: 2nd book in the Tracy Crosswhite series
Publisher: Thomas and Mercer
First Published: September 15, 2015
First Line: "Her tactical instructor at the police academy liked to taunt them during early morning drills."
Book Description from GoodReads: 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?
My Review: After the whirlwind of reading Dugoni's first book in his Tracy Crosswhite series, My Sister's Grave a few weeks ago you can bet that I was more than eager to read Her Final Breath, the second book in the series which picks up where My Sister's Grave left off.
I enjoyed how Dugoni brought one of Tracy's previous cases that was mentioned in the first book to the forefront here. As a reader it's great when books in a series are intertwined with story arcs and characters. Once again Dugoni's attention to detail is evident as he weaves his stories which are a perfect mix of police procedural, suspense and mystery. He gives his readers twists that kept me guessing and second guessing who I thought had 'dunnit'. There were many suspects which makes for good red herrings but, I will admit, sometimes made it harder to figure out who was who among the characters.
While this was another great read by Dugoni but I didn't love it quite as much. Dugoni had some mighty big literary shoes to fill since I adored My Sister's Grave (and gave it a very rare 5 stars). Unfortunately I didn't find myself as emotionally invested in Her Final Breath and it wasn't quite as riveting as My Sister's Grave which was non-stop suspense. This time around there's still a lot of tension and twists abound but Dugoni lets the reader come up for air in between periods of suspense.
The reader gets to see another side of Tracy - as part of the Seattle Police Department's Violent Crime Squad. Some characters from the first book make appearances and there are some new characters introduced as the reader is made privy to Tracy's professional life. These include her partner, Kinsington Rowe (whom I hope makes more appearances in future books) and Tracy's notoriously nasty, ornery and back stabbing Captain Nolasco. Man, I love to hate that guy!
Tracy is once again a tenacious and strong main character who has her sights set on finding this killer and a stalker. She's easy to root for and has enough turmoil in her life to be believable but not overdone.
Dan, Tracy's romantic interest, whom we met in the first book continues to be by Tracy's side. While their relationship is sweet it sometimes feels like he's a little too good to be true and this time around he felt more superfluous because he didn't really add much to the suspense or plot. I'd like to see more issues between them or something dark from Dan's past brought to the surface to spice things up. These two have been through so much but it doesn't seem to have affected their relationship very much.
Note: While it's not necessary to read My Sister's Grave before taking on this book I highly recommend reading this series in order. Dugoni does a good job filling in some of the blanks if the reader hasn't read the first book but reading the books in order will give the reader a much more well-rounded look at relationships and larger story arcs that spread between the books.
Once again Dugoni proves he has a knack for setting up his plot and slowly building suspense so that all of a sudden the reader finds that they cannot put the book down for any length of time. This was an enjoyable read and a great addition to what is becoming a favourite suspense series of mine.
My Rating: 4/5 stars
Disclaimer: My sincere thanks to Thomas and Mercer and NetGalley for providing me with a complimentary e-book copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.