The Academy

The Academy_RobertDugoni_22713330

SCORES DON’T MATTER

5 STARS

The first sentence of this short story surely had me doing a drop-jawed double take and wondering just what I had chosen to read. After pulling my surprised eyebrows out of my hairline, I started on the second sentence. Forty-five minutes later, having finished the entire tale, I understood exactly why that first sentence was written in that manner and placed in that spot.

It’s 1996 and Washington State wants more female police officers in their ranks. Tracy Crosswhite, currently a high school chemistry teacher, has applied to enter the police academy. Being brutally honest with the recruiting selection board, she tells them that she is specifically motivated to join by the murder of her sister, Sarah, three years prior. She has aced her written tests, is clearly qualified intellectually and physically, demonstrates to the board the extent to which she can think on her feet, and is selected.

The remainder of this prequel to Dugoni’s new Tracy Crosswhite series concentrates on specific events that occur during the final weeks of academy training. These scenes give us an explicit demonstration of Tracy’s character, her determination and integrity, and her ability to relate to another’s potential as well as to their reality. They are also quite action-filled.

Scene by scene, that first sentence on that first page loses its shock value and becomes the vital thread that weaves the scenes together into a whole. And its import winds its way through to the last scene, until the final sentence on the last page swamps the first with its own surprise. The stage is now set for the first book of the series, a tale which does not begin until seventeen years after that last sentence is uttered.

Cover Art From Goodreads

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