Fresh off a very difficult case, Seattle homicide detective Tracy Crosswhite finds herself entangled in two new cases, one contemporary and the other a forty-year-old cold case. In the first instance, a man is found shot to death in the home he once shared with his wife from whom he is now separated. The wife and their teenage son are present in the home when officers first arrive. They claim that the husband/father was abusive, that he attacked his wife, and that she shot him in self-defense. But what appears at first to be a fairly straightforward case soon turns out to be a lot more complicated.
At virtually the same time, Jenny Almond, who had been a classmate of Tracy's in the police academy, asks Tracy to take over the investigation of a cold case in rural Klickitat County. Forty years earlier, a Native American high school student went missing while walking home from work one night. She was later found dead floating in a river. The official verdict was suicide, the explanation being that the victim, Kimi Kanasket, was distraught because her boyfriend had just broken up with her.
Jenny Almond is now the sheriff of Klickitat County, following in the footsteps of her father, Buzz Almond. As a newbie sheriff's deputy, Buzz Almond had investigated the case of Kanasket's death, but was never satisfied with the official verdict. Given his position at the time, he couldn't challenge the conclusions of his superiors, but the case bothered him enough that he kept the file for all those years and his daughter found it after Buzz died. She'd like Tracy to review the file and see if anything can be done.
Once the book is underway, Dugoni allows the other members of Crosswhite's unit to pursue the contemporary case, and the bulk of the novel is devoted to Tracy's investigation of the cold case. It turns out to be a fascinating case and Dugoni very convincingly demonstrates how Tracy, with a lot of help, is able to apply new investigative techniques and technologies to a case that originally seems cut and dried and devoid of any new insights.
Like the first two books in the series, it's a very entertaining read that should appeal especially to any fan of police procedurals. I'm anxious to get to the next book in the series.