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Her Final Breath by Robert Dugoni (2016-07-02) Library Binding – January 1, 1602
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The reason you can read these books in any order is because these books tell the same story over and over again! Beautiful, young, female, top-notch detective investigating old cases involving missing women who end up dead. Each ends up being murder (of course) with wrongful prosecution and/or cause of death resulting from incompetent and corrupt law enforcement behind a shady cover up. The beautiful young detective is stalked by every crazed psychopath within a 100 mile radius...making me ponder if they'd run into each other a time or two while watching her through her bedroom window or at the local Starbucks...hey, maybe they met for coffee to watch her together!?!? In each book, our sharp little detective also trusts her gut instincts and puts together the tiniest of puzzle pieces to uncover the cover ups, solve the crime and bring justice to all...yet she misses the BIG things like a male being in her home while she's out and leaving the toilet seat up, her backyard motion detectors being tripped multiple times when she's home alone, a snow covered car with a clear windshield in multiple locations, her cat being locked outside of her "fortress" home when she knew he had been locked inside...these glaring clues, she shrugs off...so ridiculous. In each book, it is snowing or raining in each of her investigations as well so the detective and other characters are either brushing the snow from their faces or feeling the rain trickle down their backs. Despite the stories taking place in different places/settings, having different characters and different details about the murders and cover-ups, the tale unfolds exactly the same in every book making what I presume the author intended as plot twists so painfully predictable. You know those books that make you roll your eyes and blurt out, "Oh for goodness sakes." or something a little more colorful? Well, these are those books tenfold.
Additionally, the author fixates on specific words and phrases and repeats them over and over...bare light bulbs hanging overhead, the ability to complete a sex act in the time it takes to boil pasta, fending off the cat while trying to open a can of cat food and the word "glock"...never "her gun" or "her service weapon" or "her side arm"...always glock...and you'd be hard pressed to find one paragraph in any of these books that does not reference her glock. It's annoying enough to have to deal with all this repetition in a single book but, when it repeats in ALL of the books, it becomes intolerable.
I gave the first book, "My Sister's Grave" a 3 star because, as a stand alone, it would have been an average read. With regards to the other two books, I could not be nearly as forgiving or kind. Additionally, the reader in the audiobook is terrible at age and gender inflection. Ugh...
The premise is that a serial killer is targeting women, but not sexually assaulting them as would be expected. All of the victims are noted to have had no signs of having sexual contact within 72 hours of the attack in order to make it clear that this is not part of the killer's MO. But in order to frame other suspects, it is also said that the killer specifically makes his move *right after* the women have been with other men that they were intimate with, usually within the hour. So they absolutely would have shown signs of sexual activity and the detectives wouldn't have been able to say until the truth came out that it wasn't with the killer.
You can't have it both ways! Not sure if the author didn't put this together or was just hoping no one else would just because it served different aspects of the story for both contradictory ideas to be true.
So the book was good for mindless entertainment, but I get annoyed when there are glaring inconsistencies like this.
A few weeks after returning to Seattle after finally solving her sister’s murder, Tracy is back on the hunt for the serial killer dubbed The Cowboy, who has been hog-tying exotic dancers in motel rooms so that they are forced to strangle themselves. Her captain, the obnoxious Johnny Nolasco, is setting her up to fail over his longstanding petty jealousy, and he has a predatory reporter on standby to make her disgrace as public as possible. Discovering that an earlier case with similar traits was closed by Nolasco nine years earlier, she knows he will block attempts to investigate it, so she puts her boyfriend Dan the attorney on the case, but with an obsessed stalker watching her house, her trusty Glock might not be enough to save her...
I’m really enjoying Dugoni’s writing as he creates believable and interesting characters in a twisty plot that follows classic serial killer tropes but still managed to keep me guessing.
Nolasco is a brilliant love-to-hate antagonist and Tracy is a sympathetic mix of bravery and compassion, with her team providing some welcome comic relief. The most stressful part was worrying that something awful would happen to Roger, Tracy’s poor neglected cat. It’s OK, nothing does! I’m looking forward to continuing reading about her adventures very soon.
Top reviews from other countries
Her Final Breath is a classic police procedural, with a delicately woven plot and carefully paced build-up to a dramatic conclusion that fairly races off the page. There are twists and turns aplenty, a bad-guy boss, and even a nice bit of love-interest to add a softer counterpoint to the tough stuff. Dugoni has a very easy writing style and develops a great plot without it being overly complex, meaning you can dip in and out of the book without losing track. His heroine, Tracy, is a highly likeable character, with many facets to her personality, who can be better understood if you’ve read the first book in this series - My Sister’s Grave. I look forward to following her adventures further.
Thanks for reading my review. I hope you found it helpful. You can find more candid book reviews on my Amazon profile page.
Can't wait to read book 3 and found out what happens to Nolasco. Will he be thrown off the force? I hope so. I have a feeling that Nolasco hasn't yet finished with trying to hurt Tracy.
5 stars from this happy reader.
Her captain, Johnny Nolasco, is the complete antithesis of her approach to crime investigation. Not only is he old school he bears a 20-year grudge from when her time at the police academy.
It suits him to set her up as the lead detective in a task force considering a serial killer of exotic dancers. These kinds of operations can be career ending as you get side-lined waiting on a break while the death toll rises. So, it serves a double purpose for him until Tracy starts to consider one of his old cases because of its possible similarities to the current investigation. When he finds out he throws her to the wolves; but she isn't like him, the investigation has been based on hard work and people tend to trust her and seek her out when they have a lead or want to share information.
The author writes so well the book reads itself.
At first for the initial 100 or so pages it is frenetic but laying down the story; you can dip in and out as time affords. But get beyond a third of the book and you better find time to read it to the end if you find it difficult to put a book down when the action keeps coming.
Crammed with suspects and angles. I liked the use of the old case to underscore the difference between detectives perusing a murder investigation. The story telling is so sharp and clear you always hold the story even when you put the book down. You trust the author, you know he will play fair and reveal a truth that doesn't disappoint.
It was good to see the characters of the task force team coming out but the star is undoubtedly Tracy who is driven by her own demons and her sister's murder as recalled in book 1. You don't need to have read that story as this novel stands alone and is complete within itself however going forward with future stories already released I have remained true to the chronology of the series