Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Review: Untraceable

Laura Griffin
Romantic Suspense
Tracers/Book 1
Pocket Star/November 2009

From the back cover ~

Be careful what you look for…you might find it.

Private investigator Alexandra Lovell uses computer skills and cunning to help clients drop off the radar and begin new lives in safety. Melanie Bess, desperate to escape her abusive husband, was one of those clients. But when Melanie vanishes for real, Alex fears the worst and sets out to discover what happened. Using every resource she can get her hands on—including an elite team of forensic scientists known as the Tracers, and a jaded, sexy detective who’s helped her before--Alex embarks on a mission to uncover the truth, one clue at a time.

Homicide cop Nathan Devereaux wants to believe that Alex’s hunch about Melanie’s murder is wrong, but his instincts—and their visceral attraction—won’t let him walk away. As a grim picture of what really happened begins to emerge, he realizes this investigation runs deeper than they ever imagined. And each step nearer the truth puts Alex in danger of being the next to disappear. . . .

This is the first book by Ms. Griffin I've read but it won't be the last. It is slated as the first in a series but there are characters from previous books/series that are secondary characters in Untraceable who were primary character previously. I wish I had known that before, then I would have started with the earlier books. It looks like I'll just have to go back a read a few off her back list before continuing with this series.

Untraceable grabbed my attention quickly, opening with a dramatic chase leaving me curious as to the fate of a character. It's the fate of that character that leads to Alex Lovell. She starts off as an intelligent woman who works in the predominately man's world of private investigation. Much of her work is for insurance fraud but she has created a reputation for helping women get out of abusive relationships. When someone starts asking about one of Alex's special clients, Alex does some digging and finds that something terrible must have happened to her. Alex fears the worst and enlists the help of Detective Nathan Devereaux. This is when Alex started getting on my nerves. She bugged the heck out of Nathan, expecting him to do "something" with no real evidence to go on. She would get upset with him when there really wasn't much else he could do. He did have his job to think about and had to be careful of not crossing the line. Alex had no problem crossing lines and expected Nathan to do the same. Not very realistic of her.

Nathan Devereaux is a damn fine detective and an all around decent guy. He's a bit gruff but in a likable way many women find attractive. I liked Nathan right off. He says what he thinks and doesn't put up with any crap. He and Alex have a bit of a past that is alluded to, I'm guessing this happened in a previous book. Anyway, they also have an attraction for each other but Alex is hesitant to act on it. She doesn't want to get involved with anyone but I was never quite sure why. The most I could figure out was because she didn't like staying in one place too long and a serious relationship would require her to stay. Nathan is tenacious, not giving up on Alex even when she uses him for his connections and sex. They did make a good couple once Alex go over her fear of commitment.

The group of very elite forensic scientists known as the Tracers play a part in helping Alex obtain evidence of the crime she thinks has taken place. They are an interesting group of characters who work in a high tech building full of expensive equipment and high security. I liked the exploration of the forensic side of the crime. There were details on how evidence it obtained and interpreted but it wasn't overwhelming and didn't feel like a lecture. I thought Griffin did a good job incorporating the science in with the story.

There are some pretty tense scenes along with a mystery to solve that wasn't a complete mystery. I did figure out what was going on fairly easily but didn't get all the connections until the end. Untraceable is more centered on the investigation and the action with the romance coming in second. It's a good, solid story with a heroine who could have had a few less annoying traits. I'll continue with this series once I do a little reading from Ms. Griffin's back list.

Rating: B


  1. Great review, Leslie! I have a couple of her older ones if you want me to send them. Whisper of Warning, especially was terrific!

  2. start with "Thread of Fear", then "whisper of Warning" all yummy!

  3. I have these books slotted for reading. My friend Natalie (NJ bloggers) recommended them. Great review, I can't wait to give this author a try too.

  4. Lori ~ thanks for the offer but I did get Thread of Fear & Whisper of Warning from the library. Yeah for my library. LOL

    Kaye ~ Those are the ones I want to read next, especially Whisper of Warning because of Will & Courtney and I'm guessing that's when Alex & Nathan met.

  5. Hils ~ I think you'll enjoy this author. :)

  6. I just read that book last month!! :) Seems we're on the same wavelength lately, Les :)

    I thought the story started out well, but at some point, it lost a bit of momentum. I think especially regarding the relationship, sigh. I feel perhaps too much time was trying to explain the expert unit/system they were trying to implement...

    Also, there was something about Alex' personality that wasn't really explain... why she was so guarded and the need to move.

  7. Nath ~ Did you review it? I don't remember. I don't think it was ever spelled out why Alex moved so much. She did mention her parents staying in one place & alluded to them not being very happy. Of course I could be remember this all wrong - you know my memory. :)

  8. Oh no, you remember right. I just felt we didn't know Alex well enough, her character was not really fully developed. I mean, I didn't understand her... perhaps it's because she was introduced in a previous book....

    And no, haven't reviewed it yet. Doubt that I will though.