Title: MY SISTER’S GRAVE
Author: Robert Dugoni
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (Amazon)
Genre: Police Procedural | Murder-Mystery
Tracy Crosswhite has spent twenty years questioning the facts surrounding her sister Sarah’s disappearance and the murder trial that followed. She doesn’t believe that Edmund House—a convicted rapist and the man condemned for Sarah’s murder—is the guilty party. Motivated by the opportunity to obtain real justice, Tracy became a homicide detective with the Seattle PD and dedicated her life to tracking down killers.
When Sarah’s remains are finally discovered near their hometown in the northern Cascade mountains of Washington State, Tracy is determined to get the answers she’s been seeking. As she searches for the real killer, she unearths dark, long-kept secrets that will forever change her relationship to her past—and open the door to deadly danger.
WHAT I THOUGHT
MY SISTER’S GRAVE by Robert Dugoni has one of those typical settings we’ve come to expect—the northern Cascades in Washington State—where the weather has to play a big part in making the over-all story arc work. Without which there would be no drama or action. It didn’t help. In the end, I felt like I was reading a made-for TV movie, not a taught murder-mystery.
While the author touts this as a police procedural, where the procedural bit is—quite frankly—a bit vague, it’s ostensibly a whodunnit; who killed Tracey Crosswhite’s sister, Sarah, 20 years ago.
The story opens interestingly enough as Dugoni builds us a character profile for Tracy Crosswhite, and feeds us flashbacks to fill in childhood details about both her, and her sister, Sarah. I would have loved to have seen more of this play out. But, sadly, the story then devolves into a courtroom drama, which is where the story begins to lag considerably.
It is also obvious at this point which characters are keeping the secret, and worse, why. Flimsy reasoning that has put three officers of the court on the wrong side of the law. One of my pet peeves.
While Dugoni’s other characters are less than memorable and even less substantive than paper, I have to say, I did like the character of Dan. Especially as he started to evolve in the latter third of the book. Also, the witty banter between the kids in Tracy’s posse at the start and then later, between Dan and Tracy, where excellent. Sadly, that doesn’t save MY SISTER’S GRAVE from sagging in parts, rambling in others, and being distracted with its own hubris.
With a little more editing, cohesion, and forethought to planning, this could have been a really good murder-mystery, as the twist at the end, had great possibility. As is, it’s an average read at best.