A Book Spy Review: ‘The Trapped Girl’ By Robert Dugoni

51H5siPPATL._SX332_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgRobert Dugoni has a magician-like ability to take otherwise ordinary stories and turn them into something more special. Never has that so strongly been the case as with The Trapped Girl, the fourth novel in his Tracy Crosswhite series. 

When a young man goes crabbing, he inadvertently pulls up more than he bargained for when out of the ocean’s depths comes the body of an attractive woman stuffed in a crab pot. Detective Tracy Crosswhite is assigned to investigate the case and goes looking for answers, but things take a mysterious turn almost immediately.

Initially, the body was identified as Lynn Hoff. But careful examination of the corpse revealed extensive plastic surgery, raising additional questions. That, along with different clues (including the word of a ranger) lead Tracy to believe that the woman may actually be Andrea Strickland, the wife of a wealthy and prominent lawyer, who was reported missing after going on a hike more than a month ago.

As the story progresses, Tracy begins to suspect that Lynn Hoff and Andrea Strickland are actually the same person. Her theory is that Strickland had some reason to fear for her life, and thus changed her appearance and took on an alias so she could go into hiding.

But from who?

The most obvious suspect is Graham Strickland, Andrea’s husband. That theory seems to take on more weight as Tracy uncovers that he was known to be controlling and, perhaps more importantly, that he was the beneficiary of a sizeable insurance policy taken out on his wife. 

Just as the investigation starts to come together, Dugoni zigs when you’d expect him to zag, throwing a wrench into Tracy’s case and causing readers to doubt everything that’s already happened. It’s precisely at this point (around halfway through the book) that this story goes from your typical he-killed-her-to-get-the-money scenario–to something of a different flavor altogether. 

In addition to the new twist, Dugoni develops Tracy’s character by adding parallels between the case and her own personal life. On top of being sucked into the mystery, readers are treated with a significant portion of backstory that makes Tracy a more relatable and more compelling protagonist.

Things continue to heat up as tempers flair within Seattle PD’s violent crimes unit due to a disagreement of how to handle the complex case. As multiple theories break out, one thing remains the same–Tracy Crosswhite is at the center of it all, and she’ll stop at nothing to learn the truth. 

It’s hard to come up with an original plot, as almost everything has already been done before. For his latest mystery, the veteran author takes a classic scenario and puts his own twist on it. The Trapped Girl is a blistering mystery, and some of Robert Dugoni’s best work to date.  

Book Details

Author: Robert Dugoni
Series: Tracy Crosswhite #4
Pages: 378 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 1503940403
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Release Date: January 24, 2017 (Order Now!)

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