Recommended: My Sister’s Grave by Robert Dugoni

I have recommended, and will continue to recommend, My Sister’s Grave to everyone I know who reads novels.

The novel introduces the world to Tracy Crosswhite, a sharpshooting Seattle detective whose kid sister was murdered in their youth.

As many procedurals do, the novel has two cases to solve. There’s the immediate murder that Crosswhite and her partner, Kinsington Rowe, are working. Then there is Crosswhite’s sister’s murder, which was solved long ago, but hurriedly and without a body.

As you might’ve guessed, the discovery of that body in her long-hidden “grave” decades later is what sets the events of My Sister’s Grave in motion.

Though the setup for this novel may seem familiar, the content and execution are not. It all starts with Crosswhite, whose shooting ability is derived not from a background in the military, but something far more interesting. This history is a shared one with her kid sister, Sarah.

Dugoni lets us in on that history throughout the novel using flashbacks. This is often hard to do for novelists, and bad execution has kept me from enjoying a story more than I could have. But Dugoni is a master at knowing when and why to put in flashbacks.

Though there is the slaying in the first chapter that Crosswhite and Rowe, along with a well-done love subplot, it is the connection that Crosswhite had with her sister – and Tracy’s need to know whether or not the right man is in prison for Sarah’s murder – that drive this story.

I’m not into posting spoilers, but when I read the major twist that occurred just before the climax of the story, I literally said “holy $h!t” and nearly gave myself a papercut turning the page. It was innovative, unexpected, and wonderfully executed. And, of course, the last line of a chapter.

My Sister’s Grave is well executed from start to finish, and it is easily on my list of top 10 mystery/thriller/suspense novels.

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