Sunday, September 3, 2017

Book Review: 'The Trapped Girl' by Robert Dugoni

Forty-three year old homicide detective Tracy Crosswhite is called to the scene when a young man illegally harvesting crabs in Puget Sound inadvertently snags a crab pot containing human remains. "The Trapped Girl," by Robert Dugoni, is the story of twenty-two year old Andrea Strickland, who had a traumatic childhood that left her lonely, depressed, and emotionally scarred. She works for an insurance company, but prefers to spend her free time immersed in her favorite pastime--reading. At least Andrea has the solace of knowing that she will come into a great deal of money, thanks to a trust fund set up by her late parents. After a whirlwind courtship, corporate attorney Graham Strickland proposes to Andrea and she marries him. Only later does she realize how little she really knows about her new husband.

This is a complex and cleverly plotted thriller. Tracy and her capable "A Team," Kinsington Rowe, Vic Fazzio, and Delmo Castigliano, must identify the aforementioned Jane Doe in the crab pot before they can find her killer. This case will be far more taxing than they had anticipated, especially since they face jurisdictional problems that could stymie their investigation. Departmental politics and an uncooperative supervisor do not deter Tracy, who has personal reasons for pursuing the perpetrator. She will not quit until she accomplishes what she has set out to do.

Dugoni's fast-paced, complex, and cleverly plotted police procedural has intriguing italicized passages in which Andrea provides background information and a unique perspective on a series of perplexing events that can be interpreted in various ways. As the mystery deepens, there are surprising developments and a final twist that may a bit too far-fetched to accept unquestioningly. Still, "The Trapped Girl" is engrossing, thanks to its lively prose, witty dialogue, colorful characters, wry humor, and picturesque setting. The author effectively demonstrates how challenging it is to outsmart ruthless, self-serving, and vicious adversaries who will do anything, no matter how repellant, to get what they want.

Editor's note: This review was written by Eleanor Bukowsky and has been reposted with permission. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.

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