Working out of the Seattle Violent Crimes unit, Detective Tracy Crosswhite is called to a gruesome hit-and-run accident. At the scene, D’Andre Miller, a few months shy of his thirteenth birthday, lies dead on the street. A vehicle ran him down while he was on his way home from school, never stopping or slowing before or after impact. Miller never had a chance, and now those in his neighborhood wants justice.
Later, the vehicle–which is registered to Laszlo Trejo–is found in a nearby field. Tracy collects evidence and carefully examines everything making sure she can place Trejo at the scene of the crime. But once he’s brought in, Trejo makes two surprise moves. First, he claims that his car was stolen and that he was nowhere near the crime scene. Secondly, Trejo calls his attorney, Leah Battles, a JAG lawyer.
Trejo, it turns out, is a Petty Officer in the United States Navy. Battles quickly pulls rank, informing Tracy that the crimes Trejo has been accused of fall under the Navy’s jurisdiction, meaning it’s not the Seattle Police Department’s problem. Except that, for Tracy, it’s absolutely her problem. Seeking justice for Miller and his family, she does all she can to stay involved in the case, which takes a shocking turn after a key piece of evidence goes missing, paving the way for Trejo to walk free.
Determined to find a way to put Trejo behind bars, Tracy continues her investigation, uncovering a surprising conspiracy that kicks the story into another gear as Dugoni ramps up the pacing and suspense level.
While the majority of the story follows Tracy and her case, there’s a secondary plot that involves Detectives Fazzio and Castigliano as they take on the heroin epidemic that’s been rocking the streets of Seattle for far too long. Things become personal when Castigliano’s teenage niece dies from an accidental overdose after consuming an unusually lethal blend of heroin. Together, the duo searches for the drug dealer responsible, while Castigliano and his family struggle through the grieving process.
The secondary plot thread is plenty interesting, and it feels like Dugoni is setting up other characters to play bigger roles down the road in future novels. If that is, indeed, the case, then developing those characters now is worth the time spent away from Crosswhite. If it’s not, well, readers might look back on this someday and wish more time had been spent following Tracy’s side of the story.
Dugoni, a former trial attorney, presents the legal issues in Close to Home in an authentic and entertaining way. When mixed with the detective investigation aspects of the plot, the story takes on a vibe that falls somewhere between Law and Order and A Few Good Men, making it a lot of fun to read.
Robert Dugoni continues to hit his stride following last year’s The Trapped Girl, which features a killer twist-ending. Close to Home is another very solid thriller in the Tracy Crosswhite series, which keeps getting better with each new book.
Author: Robert Dugoni
Series: Tracy Crosswhite #5
Pages: 382 (Hardcover)
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Release Date: September 5, 2017
Book Spy Rating: 7.0/10