Clearly, Robert Dugoni suffered no sophomore slump with the second book in his series featuring Seattle homicide detective Tracy Crosswhite. Like the first, My Sister's Grave, the author hits the ground running and never looks back.
As the book opens, Crosswhite has just come back to work after dealing with the retrial of the man who killed her sister several years earlier. Once back, Crosswhite is given charge of a task force investigating a serial killer who becomes known as the Cowboy, and who is killing exotic dancers in crummy motels in the north part of the city.
Crosswhite is given the job by her boss, Captain Johnny Nolasco, who is setting her up to fail. The two have a history and Nolasco is looking for a way to get Tracy kicked off the job. But as she digs into the murder of the Cowboy's first victim, Crosswhite notices some similarities to a case nine years earlier. In that case a woman was strangled to death and the crime was investigated by none other than Johnny Nolasco and his partner. A man was arrested and tried for the crime and ultimately pled guilty in a deal that would allow him to escape the death penalty. Reviewing the case, Crosswhite wonders if Nolasco arrested the wrong man, something that will hardly endear her to a supervisor who already has her in his sights.
As the number of victims mounts, so does the pressure on Tracy and her team to find the killer. The odds against her are impressive: The killer is clever and leaving very few clues in his wake. Her boss is out to subvert the investigation to make Tracy look bad, and if that weren't enough, Tracy herself may have become a target for the killer.
Tracy Crosswhite is a very sympathetic protagonist; the case is a compelling one, and the author clearly knows his police procedure. The story moves along at a fast clip with plenty of suspense to keep readers on the edge of their seats and turning the pages quickly. All in all, a very good read, and I'm anxiously looking forward to the third volume in the series.