Tracy Forrester is leading the life she always envisioned. She's teaching in the psychology department of a small private college in a small town and living in an old but updated farmhouse sitting on thirty acres of land, mostly woods. It cost her a small fortune, but she put chain link fence around the entire tract just so she could let her two dogs run through the woods without having to worry about them venturing into the road. She's made some good friends here, including Kurt, her boyfriend. He's a detective with the sheriff's department. Between his schedule and hers, they play a lot of phone tag, but they're made for each other. There's no tension, no strings, and no games in their relationship. They both maintain that they are not exclusive, not serious, and not talking marriage, but neither of them has dated anyone else since they started seeing each other a couple of years ago.
Tracy's actual field is counseling, and her concentration is trauma, with a specialty in rape. With the help of her two closest friends, she started and runs a Rape Crisis Center out of a local community center. The staff is made up mainly of Tracy's students, with Tracy and her friends providing the training, support, and supervision. Although her original goal was to provide help for the local college students, her center has become much more than that. They serve anyone in the county who is a victim of rape or any other violent crime. She loves teaching, but the Rape Crisis Center is her pride and joy.
The last thing Tracy wants is to become involved in any type of criminal investigation. She'd much rather leave that to the professionals and tend to her own little corner of the world, which means finishing out the school year and going on vacation with Kurt. But when the police arrest and charge one of her students with murder, a guy she has known for two years, a guy she has worked with at the Rape Crisis Center, she feels she has to do something. The one thing she can think of that might help him is a good lawyer, so Tracy finds one. Unfortunately the only way he'll take the case is if Tracy agrees to join the defense team. Tracy does, and before long she's knee deep in the investigation.
If you're looking for a thriller, this isn't it. I don't particularly like thrillers, so it stands to reason I wouldn't write one. In A Shot in the Dark, Tracy is not shot at, attacked, or even physically threatened. Neither are any of the other members of the defense team. But sometimes threats don't have to be physical to hurt. When something you've built is threatened, when you risk losing your job, it's hard to keep going, to keep asking questions, to keep looking for the truth. But sometimes you just have to do the right thing, no matter how hard it is.
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