Tag Archives: female protagonist

Review: The Trapped Girl by Robert Dugoni

3 1/2 Stars

This is the 4th installment of the Detective Crosswhite series.  I received this copy from NetGalley and the publishers.  I have also read the previous three books and would definitely recommend reading the previous books, but the author has written these novels in such a way that you can read them without reading the previous installments, but definitely recommend reading them in order, much more satisfying.

A woman’s body is discovered inside a crab pot, submerged deep in the waters of Puget Sound.  Once again, Detective Tracy Crosswhite finds herself with yet another difficult case to solve.  The first order of business is to find out who this woman is.  During the course of the investigation, they find that this woman went to a lot of trouble to hide who she really is.  What or who is she running from?

As Tracy and her A Team of detectives begin to unravel this case, they discover that their Jane Doe is actually a woman who went missing weeks earlier from Mount Ranier.  This woman was married and her husband had been the prime suspect in her disappearance and becomes the prime suspect again now that she has been found dead.  Just as the case gets rolling, the team is told that the case is going back into the hands of the jurisdiction that handled the disappearance case.  Tracy doesn’t want to let go and she is willing to risk her entire career to solve this case.

As the case goes on, it dredges up memories of Tracy’s sister and the twenty year search for justice in her case.  This is another case that hits close to home.  The young woman who disappeared had much in common with Tracy.  She lost her entire family at a young age and Tracy feels that she owes it to this woman to find out the truth, no matter the cost.

Once again, Tracy is an admirable protagonist and I love her strength and her convictions.  But I am getting a little bored with the whole “personal connection” to every case.  It’s starting to feel a little forced at this point, as is the strained relationship with her Captain.  The guy is a creep and should have been shown the door after the last book.  Her team is full of amazing people too and I’m glad to see them taking a larger role in this book.  I especially love Faz and Del.  We also get to see more of Tracy from a personal level and her relationship with Dan.  It was nice to see her outside of the role as Detective and in the role of just an ordinary woman in love with a man.

If you have read any of the previous books in this series, I definitely recommend this one.  I would not recommend this to someone who hasn’t read the backstory, it just wouldn’t give you the complete story and for that reason alone, I had to deduct half a star.  It’s always hard to review books in a series to someone who hasn’t read the previous books.  But this is a solid undertaking and I don’t think we are done seeing Detective Tracy Crosswhite.

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Review: Black Irish by Stephan Talty

4 Stars

Absalom Kearney, a Harvard graduate and detective, has come home to South Buffalo.  She is the adopted daughter of a revered and highly respected cop.  But she’s still an outsider.  She was raised in an area that is known as The County, an insulated area where not only the color of your hair or skin matters, but also where your ancestors were from.  Even though she is from the County, she’s still finding doors closed in her face and people either afraid or too stubborn to talk to her, even to solve a series of gruesome murders that are taking the lives of men of the County.

The book opens with the murder of Jimmy Ryan.  The point of view is from the victim and you get to feel his terror as he’s faced with his killer.  It was a hell of an opening to a book.  He was ultimately found murdered in the basement of a church.  The real mystery begins when Abbie and her partner go to question the family.  They are faced with a wall of silence and excuses.  No one wants to talk and the police can’t understand it.  Why wouldn’t you want to find the person who just took away your husband?  What does this community have to hide?

Abbie begins her investigation and learns that this community has more than a few skeletons in their closets.  The violence intensifies and the body count rises.  Abbie and her father are also targeted by the killer when he leaves his bizarre calling card at her door.  The more she digs, the more she finds that the roots in these murders go far deeper than she could have ever imagined.  A world where a secret society can silence an entire community and let a killer get away with murder.  As she learns more about this society, she learns that it has touched her own life and will have an impact that she never could have imagined.

I was incredibly impressed with this book.  The twists and turns kept you guessing right up until the end.  I thought I had the secret figured out several times, but then I was proven wrong time and again.  I will have to say that I was completely shocked with the conclusion.  I didn’t expect it at all.  I was fooled by one of several blind alleys that the author put into the novel.  It was perfect.

The characters were enjoyable too.  I’m always excited to meet a female protagonist, and Abbie was definitely a very strong lead.  I was a little sad to see her portrayed as crazy or troubled, but I also think that it’s probably impossible based on her upbringing and her chosen profession to not be at least a little bit troubled.  But this didn’t detract from the fact that she is a brilliant investigator and definitely someone I enjoyed getting to know.

I definitely recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a good mystery with lots of thrills and healthy dose of gruesome.

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Review: The Night Charter by Sam Hawken

4 Stars

For just the second time in recent months, I read a hard-cover book and not an e-book.  I joined Book of the Month club (dangerous find for a book addict) and I choose The Night Charter as my selection for February.

This book introduced a new to me character named Camaro Espinoza.  From what I understand, she’s been around for awhile in novella form but this is the first full-length novel featuring her character.  And as someone who had never been introduced to this character before, the author did a very good job of introducing her.  There were enough snippets and flashbacks that make me want to go back and read the previous works so I can find a little more about her history.  She’s definitely a very interesting character.  Former soldier who had done some bad things in her past for the right reasons and had to flee her past life.  She now makes her living as a charter boat captain, taking customers out for some deep ocean fishing.

It all starts with a man who came to hire her boat for night fishing.  Parker Story, a man with a story.  A man who is mixed up in something bigger than he is.  What begins as a request to hire her boat for a night of fishing turns into something much more.  He has become mixed up with some not-so-nice people who want to pay her $10,000 to take them into Cuban waters to pick up a man and bring him back to the states.  An easy trip, just in and out and she can go on her way a little bit richer for just a few hours of work.

Of course things don’t quite work out that way for Camaro, Parker or any of the other people involved.  Not only are they bringing in someone from Cuba illegally, they happen to be bringing in someone who both sided desperately want to get their hands on for much different reasons.  The Cubans want to capture this man because they believe he is a terrorist and a dissident, someone who stirs up unrest under the Castro regime.  But his compatriots in the States want him to further their cause in a battle that has been going on for nearly 60 years between Castroites and their Anti-Castro enemies.

There are not many twists and turns in this book.  You always know who the good guys and the bad guys are.  There are definitely plenty of grey areas, but it’s pretty easy to figure out who the true villains are.  What is interesting is how Camaro holds herself.  She isn’t squeaky clean and she definitely doesn’t mind getting her hands dirty.  She’s always at the center of the action and she’s sometimes the cause of it.  You can see that she does have a heart and a conscience, and if put into her shoes, how many of us would be able to do the right thing?

Plenty of action, the story moves fast and there is very little lull in the action.  There were a few characters that didn’t quite fit.  But they didn’t detract from what ended up being a really good action novel.  It’s always fun to see a female protagonist that isn’t a damsel in distress.



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