I have read and reviewed, “The 7th Canon” by the New York Times bestselling author, Robert Dugoni elsewhere in this blog. Having enjoyed that, I eagerly took up another of his thrillers recently called, “The Trapped Girl.” This features Detective Tracy Crosswhite of the Seattle Police Dept’s Violent Crimes Section, who apparently appears in several of his books. A gripping start gets you hooked to the story. A young man illegally fishing for crab in Puget Sound finds early one morning that the unusually heavy crab pot he is hauling in was not because of large-sized crabs but because of a human body.
The cops initially believe based on the evidence they gather that the woman who was killed and placed in the crab pots was Lynn Cora Huff. Later they wonder if the woman could instead be Andrea Strickland, wife of a flamboyant lawyer called Graham Strickland. This woman has been missing ever since she disappeared when alone with him on a trekking trip on Mount Rainier. Detective Crosswhite and her colleagues narrow down the suspects. They feel that most likely it was Graham himself who killed his wife. He stood to gain immensely by her death as he would come into a lot of money kept away in a trust created for her by her parents.
Andrea has had a traumatic childhood. Her parents were killed in a car accident on Christmas Day when she was a young girl. She has only one surviving relative, her aunt Penny Orr who carries the guilt of her husband sexually abusing Andrea when she was young and came to live with them after her parents’ death. In adult life, Andrea is very much the introvert. She is a voracious reader and lives in a world of her own with just hiking and reading as her major interests. Her only good friend in the world is her colleague, a woman called Devin Chambers.
When Devin, at one time a suspect in the killing of the woman found in Puget Sound believed to be Andrea Strickland, is herself killed some time later, Crosswhite had no hesitation in believing that Graham Strickland was her killer. She had found out that Graham had two timed Andrea and had an affair with Devin too. Later, another woman known to Graham called Megan Chen is also killed. This tightens the noose, so to speak, around Graham’s neck.
In the meantime, Crosswhite’s investigation is marred by issues relating to turf battles. Her boss, Johnny Nolasco is against her pursuing the case when the jurisdiction is contested by the Portland cops. They are represented by Stan Fields whom she abhors as being a creep, though they are forced to work together.
The story builds to a climax with Graham Strickland admitting that he killed Megan Chen but had no hand whatsoever in the deaths of either Andrea or Devin. As with his other books, Dugoni steers the story to an intriguing end.
Highly recommended for fans of thrillers and detective works.