Saturday, March 5, 2011

Review: Unspeakable

Laura Griffin
Romantic Suspense
Tracers/Book 2
Pocket/June 29, 2010

From the author's website ~



Elaina McCord’s dream of being an FBI profiler is in danger with her first case—investigating a string of murders near a Texas beach resort. The victims, all young women, were drugged and brutally murdered, their bodies abandoned in desolate marshland. Elaina’s hunch—met with disbelief by local police—is that these are only the latest offerings from a serial killer who has been perfecting his art for years, growing bolder and more cunning with each strike.

True-crime writer Troy Stockton has a reputation as an irresistible playboy who gets his story at any cost. He’s the last person Elaina should trust, let alone be attracted to. But right now Troy, along with the elite team of forensics experts known as the Tracers, are her only allies in a case that’s turning dangerously personal. A killer is reaching out to Elaina, taunting her, letting her know how ruthless he is and how close he’s getting. Now it’s not just her career that’s in danger—it’s her life. . . .

The second book in the Tracer series focuses on the murders of young women in and around the popular beach community of Lito Island, Texas. Griffin does a good job describing the area, the beaches, the marshes, the rivers and the night life. You get a feel not only for the region but also for the social climate. Lots of young, college age people out to party and have a good time. The local police are not prepared for what could be a serial killer. In comes the FBI.

Elaina McCord didn't choose to be an FBI profiler, in a way, it choose her. Her father is a well known profiler who Elaina has been trying to please for most of her life. When she was sent to the Brownsville, Texas office instead of her first choice of Washington, DC, she sucked it up and did her job. She not a complainer and I liked that about her. But there is a difference between complaining and standing up for yourself. The problem I did have was she didn't stick up for herself. She feels like she's not part of the investigation team, and she has good reason to feel this. She's the only woman on the team and both the local police chief and the FBI agent in charge don't take her seriously. But Elaina keeps herself separate from them and that was part of the problem. She was more likely to go off and work by herself than to join the team efforts. I think she worked with Troy more than she did with her team.

Troy Stockton is a famous author and a local of Lito Island. His home is there and he has a personal interest in the murders that are currently happening. He wrote a book years ago about a convicted murder but now it looks like some of his facts may be wrong. He's not attracted to Elaina at first, he's more interested in using her to get information. But he soon falls in lust and can't keep away from her. Troy is rich, famous and sexy as hell. Elaina doesn't come across as his type and it took a while before I could figure out why he wanted her when she made it clear she didn't want to get involved with him. She's attractive but Troy could have his pick of women if all he wants is something casual which is the impression that's given. I didn't really feeling a connection to this couple. It was more a mutual using of each other to find the killer with the sex as a way to relieve the stress. No much in the way of romance.

There is a developing secondary romance running throughout the book. It's between a homicide detective working a cold case and a woman who is an expert in DNA. They get pulled into the serial killer case because of a potential connection between the cold case and the latest murders. I didn't feel any sexual tension between these two, they found each other attractive but in a abstract way. They are both overworked and it felt like they didn't have time for much else. Their book is next in the series so I'm hoping for more in the way of tension between them.

The murder mystery was all over the place with Elaina and Troy spending a lot of time hunting down leads and clues. They try to connect the various killings, looking for a commonality between the victims. In doing this, there is even more separation of Elaina and the investigating team. I did like how the victims and the killer were connected and how the killer was able to get to the victims. It was creative and something that I had never heard of.

The suspense is the more dominate feature with the romance coming in a distant second. The end of the book left unanswered questions. The motivation of the killer was never fully explained. Why were the women murdered? Why did the killer fixate on Elaina? Why was she treated so harshly by some of the men in the investigation? I did find the scenes at the Delphi Center, a highly sophisticated forensics lab that Troy works with, interesting and look forward to reading more about it in the next book.

Rating: B-

Books in this series ~



  1. Seems like you're going through Ms Griffin's backlist and that you're enjoying the books :) Tabs sent me this one... but seems like the balance of this book is off :(

  2. Nath ~ I wouldn't read it for the romance. Still have 3 more of Griffin's books but taking a little break from them for now.

  3. Yeah, a break is sometimes good and necessary :) Is it books after this one or before?

  4. I read this book and didn't enjoy it. If I recall correctly, there were just too many things that didn't sit right for me. Elaina so separated from her group, Elaina not sticking up for herself and how her team and the other men got away with their treatment of her, and also I wasn't feeling the romance either. And another thing was how Troy, a writer, had more success and cooperation with his investigation than Elaina....just wasn't realistic for me.

  5. Nath ~ 2 from a separate series and 1 after this one.

    Tabitha ~ I had issues with Elaina too. She complained about being excluded but she helped in that exclusion. I wasn't feeling the romance either.

    Troy's influence - I'm guessing his fame and wealth helped with that. Plus he was a local boy.