One Last Kill
September 13, 2023

Book Review

One Last Kill

Always happy to reach for another Robert Dugoni novel, I am especially pleased when it is the Tracy Crosswhite series. Dugoni has crafted a strong collection of novels, sure to interest those who enjoy police procedurals, moving from active cases, to cold one, and now delving into a long-ago serial killer who may have re-emerged.

Crosswhite has grown throughout the series, as Dugoni puts her in many awkward positions. This novel helps explore some of the backstory of a superior and sworn enemy, Johnny Nolasco, including how his past has come to help shape the bitterness. In a race to find a long dormant serial Killer, Crosswhite and Nolasco will have to put their differences aside in order to find that missing piece of evidence. Dugoni dazzles once more and kept me on the edge of my seat.

Seattle was facing major panic in the 1990s when the Rout 99 serial killer was on the loose. Thirteen victims appear to be attributed to him, though he left only a mark on their left shoulder, something that was never released to the public. Outrage boiled over when four women who worked in the mayor’s office were slain, when the SPD finally took notice. When they could get nowhere, the case was shelved and left to gather dust. 

Tracy Crosswhite is tasked with reopening the investigation, pressured by a Chief of Police who remains bitter for some recent accusations. While she would love to work with one of her former partners, she is pushed to work alongside another cop who cut his teeth on the hunt and task force, Captain Johnny Nolasco, Crosswhite’s largest nemesis , who has brought her nothing but pain and misery since she joined the SPD.

Nolasco is not yet ready to let bygones be bygones and challenges Crosswhite to close the case once and for all. The two are forced to revisit old clues and follow-up on some reports from an investigative journalist who blew the lid on another SPD scandal before she was kidnapped and left for dead in California. When Crosswhite thinks that she has found a solid lead, she presses it and reveals the likely killer, who has been lying low for decades. When the man is taken into custody, a new murder with the same marking occurs, leaving many to wonder if they have the wrong man. The pressure of the accusation and the obvious mess-up by SPD has many thinking that the police have dropped the ball once more. 

When DNA shines light on a new possibility, Crosswhite and Nolasco will have to act quickly, as someone appears to be haunting them and trying to use their anonymity to their advantage. A killer is out there, and appears ready for one final kill, as Nolasco finally sees Crosswhite’s detective work as pure gold. This will be one case that must be solved in order to bring some form of respect back to the Seattle Police Department. Dugoni proves himself once more and keeps the reader guessing.

There’s noting like a Tracy’s Crosswhite book to get the blood pumping. Dugoni has built up the series over a number of years, adding just the right amount of spice to strong story foundations. The narrative flow guides the reader throughout this piece, leaving little to chance in a series that never turns towards the dull. With great characters, Dugoni has been able to set the groundwork for strong development and, in this case, turning a minor character into someone whose backstory is quite intriguing. Plot points emerge throughout the story, providing some surprises for the reader and keeping the novel from being too linear. Many will ask, should the series be read in order? Dugoni builds on themes and makes references to past novels, making reading the books in order an essential. I am eager to see what Robert Dugoni has to offer in the coming years, as Tracy Crosswhite appears far from done her work with the Seattle Police Department. 

Kudos, Mr. Dugoni, for another great addition to the series that makes it even more enticing.

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