Here we again have a cold case which is central, about a young Native American girl whose body was found floating in the river forty years ago but the young deputy who investigated the case never believed was a suicide. His daughter becomes sheriff and brings the case to Tracy. This is after Tracy catches a complicated case where both the estranged wife and the troubled son admit to shooting the husband/father in a domestic disputes during a bitter divorce.
Surprisingly, it is the cold case which occupies more of Tracy’s time in In The Clearing. The girl who died was well-liked and was loosely connected to four star football players who despite playing for a small-town high school team had gone on to win the state championship the next day. Tracy pounds the pavement and finds leads and clues left by the original investigator.
Eventually Tracy solves both mysteries, using insights gained by seeing how relationships in families (especially parents and children) can be warped by self-interest and ego.
Overall, I’d say this third book was a bit more formulaic of a police procedural than the first two entries in the series, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. In the first two books the story lines are so emotionally charged and Tracy endangers herself do recklessly that it became a little exhausting to read. The romance/relationship with Tracy’s boyfriend Dan is nice and realistic. One drawback in the structure of Book 3 that there is much less interaction between Tracy and her Seattle Police Department detective colleagues, which is a shame. However, as a solid, suspenseful, nicely plotted and well-executed mystery, In The Clearing lives up to this description.
Title: In The Clearing (Tracy Crosswhite, #3).
Author: Robert Dugoni.
Paperback: 479 pages.
Date Published: May 17, 2016.
Date Read: September 7, 2019.
GOODREADS RATING: ★★★★☆ (4.0/5.0).
OVERALL GRADE: A- (3.67/4.0).