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I received this book for free from Amazon, NetGalley. This review is voluntary. My opinion is not influenced in any way.The Last Line by Robert Dugoni
Series: Tracy Crosswhite #8.5
Published by Amazon Original Stories on October 21, 2021
Genres: Suspense, Thriller
Format: eARC, Kindle Book
Source: Amazon, NetGalley
Buy on Amazon
A newbie Seattle detective gets an education in corruption in a short story by Robert Dugoni, the Amazon Charts and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of the Tracy Crosswhite series.
His old life in the rearview, Del Castigliano has left Wisconsin to work homicide for the Seattle PD. Breaking him in is veteran detective Moss Gunderson, and he’s handing Del a big catch: the bodies of two unidentified men fished from Lake Union. It’s a major opportunity for the new detective, and Del runs with it, chasing every lead—to every dead end. Despite the help of another section rookie, Vic Fazzio, Del is going nowhere fast. Until one shotgun theory looks to be dead right: the victims are casualties of a drug smuggling operation. But critical information is missing—or purposely hidden. It’s forcing Del into a crisis of character and duty that not even the people he trusts can help him resolve.
The Last Line by Robert Dugoni is a short suspense/thriller story featuring Detective Del Castigliano working his first case as a homicide detective in Seattle, WA. I have read an earlier short story as well as the first book in the Tracy Crosswhite series, but it has been about 7 years since I read them. Still, you can absolutely read this as a standalone short story/prequel. This story takes place before Tracy arrives at the Seattle PD. It will definitely whet your appetite for the series!
The Last Line hooks you right from the beginning – the mystery of two bodies that appeared to be drowning victims coupled with Del attempting to build a new life in Seattle and move on from his failed relationship. When I started reading this, I didn’t want to stop. I had to know how in the world Del was going to move forward with the case with so little to go on. If you enjoy police procedurals, this is an enjoyable quick read. I appreciated how well Mr. Dugoni developed the plot and characters in such a short story.
Robert Dugoni Q&A
From books to movies to television, police procedurals are incredibly popular with audiences. What do you think is the appeal of these stories?
I think the appeal is readers and viewers have good guys to root for and bad guys to root against. Readers also like a good mystery. They like to see if they can solve the crime, determine the bad guy and figure out what he did and how he did it, just like the detectives. It keeps them engaged in and part of the story.
Do you recall the first detective story you ever read or perhaps you have a favorite? What was it about this type of story that made you want to write in the genre?
Years ago, I remember reading Michael Connelly’s The Poet. I don’t know if it was the first detective story I read, probably not, but it was visceral and stuck with me. I do recall reading All The President’s Men when I was in high school, and though Woodward and Bernstein were not detectives, per se, they very much functioned like detectives in that story—finding clues, trying to piece together those clues, and then solve the puzzle. In many ways, that’s what a good detective story is all about: solving a puzzle. I think that is one of the appeals to writers, as well as readers and viewers.
Del Castigliano, the police detective in your newest release The Last Line, has worked in narcotics, arson, sexual assaults, robbery, and now homicide. He has definitely seen the worst that humans have to offer. What keeps him sane and on the job?
For most police officers I’ve spoken with, they do the job knowing that they are keeping people safe—maybe people they know or even love. It’s a tough job and burnout can be a problem. Most detectives have to be mentally tough and can be frequently rotated to help minimize burn out. It’s one of the reasons detectives and uniformed officers, I believe, are underappreciated. It’s a tough job.
Throughout The Last Line, readers get to see Del at his worst—he faces loss, failure, insecurity, loneliness…yet we also respect him. He is honest, hardworking, and clever. How do you see him? If you were to sit down to have a beer with him, what would you talk about?
In The Last Line, I see Del as a guy trying to find his way after life has thrown him a curveball. If we sat down for a beer, I’d ask him if, looking back, he has any regrets, or if time has helped him put life in perspective and he realizes that what he went through as a young man actually helped him to get to a better place in his life.
The Last Line ends in a way that will have readers wanting more. Do you have any future plans for Del and the larger cast?
Very much so. Del is a central character in the Tracy Crosswhite series, and in Tracy #9, What She Found, the story of Del’s first case from The Last Line comes back to Tracy, who is now working a cold case and trying to figure out what happened 24 years ago.
For fans of your bestselling Tracy Crosswhite series, will they feel at home with Del as the lead protagonist? For readers who haven’t discovered Tracy yet, will they be able to dip right in?
Absolutely. The Last Line is a standalone story that predates Tracy arriving at Seattle PD. I’ve had so many readers ask me for more of Del and Faz! Writing The Last Line was an opportunity to dig into how they got started and what shaped them. I have a thought now about Tracy #10 being a cold case that Del and Faz investigated 25 years earlier and telling the story from both time periods leading up to Tracy solving the crime in the present.
What do you have coming up next?
The third book in the Charles Jenkins espionage series, The Silent Sisters, will be published, February 22, 2022, followed by Tracy #9, What She Found, which will be out August 23, 2022. Beyond that, readers can look for a new standalone legal thriller introducing criminal defense attorney Keera Duggan. I’m excited about that novel and working hard to get it finished soon.