What is this about?: The search for the truth behind Sarah Crosswhite’s murder. Tracy Crosswhite, her sister, is willing to do anything to find her killer.
What else is this about?: An examination of a family torn apart, and Tracy’s guilt at being the one left behind, and the one to let her sister drive home alone that fateful night.
Tracy Crosswhite has spent twenty years questioning the facts surrounding her sister Sarah’s disappearance and the murder trial that followed. She doesn’t believe that Edmund House — a convicted rapist and the man condemned for Sarah’s murder — is the guilty party. Motivated by the opportunity to obtain real justice, Tracy became a homicide detective with the Seattle PD and dedicated her life to tracking down killers.
When Sarah’s remains are finally discovered near their hometown in the northern Cascade mountains of Washington State, Tracy is determined to get the answers she’s been seeking. As she searches for the real killer, she unearths dark, long-kept secrets that will forever change her relationship to her past — and open the door to deadly danger
My Sister’s Grave follows Tracy Crosswhite, Seattle’s first female homicide detective as she tries to find out the truth behind her sister’s death. Twenty years ago after a shooting match, Tracy let Sarah, her younger sister, drive home alone, while she went off to dinner with her boyfriend.
The next morning her father calls her from Hawaii where he is on holiday with his wife, to explain her truck has been found abandoned by an old road and no one can find Sarah. Thus begins her twenty-year nightmare.
The author follows two timelines: the present, where once Sarah’s remains are finally found after twenty years, Tracy has the evidence to prove the man in jail for her death, Haus, might be innocent. She has been convinced of that since he was arrested, and wants to find the real killer. Tracy convinces Dan, an old friend and now lawyer, to help her prove her theory that Sarah’s killer is still out there.
The second timeline is the one set in the past, that shows us the relationship between Sarah and Tracy, and Dan too as kids, and fast friends in a small town.
As the present timeline continues however, is where characterisation gets… iffy.
When the book starts, Tracy has been consumed by Sarah’s murder – and then her father’ s subsequent suicide and her mother… well, she’s pretty much non-existant in this story. Tracy gave up being a school teacher, and lost her marriage because she was so obsessed with Sarah’s murder and convinced that the discrepancies in the investigation mean only one thing: Haus is innocent and Sarah’s killer is still out there.
The romance while it is pleasant in a book focused on murder, weirded me out. The day Sarah’s remains are buried, Dan comes to the funeral and Tracy kind of checks him out… by all means, check someone out during a funeral, but if it’s your sister’s funeral and you’ve been waiting twenty years to bury her… this didn’t sit right with me.
With Dan, Tracy follows his lead in the courtroom, and rightly so because it’s his domain. What I would have liked to have seen more of is her in her element, as a cop and homicide detective, which may come in later books, but wasn’t really present all that much in this one.
Dugoni conveys how much Sarah’s disappearance destroyed the town and her family, and I absolutely felt for her, for her quest to put her sister to rest.
And then the ending happened
It undermined Tracy’s characterisation completely. I thought it made her look foolish and inept. The author tried to explain it away, but it just didn’t work for me. Sure it’s a bit of twist I guess, but those should not come at the expense of the main character, in a book where pretty much everything worked well. Damn.