REVIEW: Untraceable by Laura Griffin
Dear Ms. Griffin,
I don’t think readers need to worry that “Untraceable” is a sequel to your last book “Whisper of Warning.” There’s enough background information about the characters to bring newbies up to speed but – and I’m really impressed by this – they can still go back and read that book without fear that the surprises in it have already been revealed in this book. Good job. Alex Lovell caught my attention when she was introduced in the last book and I’m glad that she and Nathan get a HEA here.
Private Investigator Alex Lovell spends most of her work days doing the usual PI kind of stuff: finding deadbeat parents who owe child support, video taping healthy people who are trying to swindle insurance companies with false claims, gathering evidence on cheating spouses, etc. It’s boring but it pays the bills. But her heart is in the work she does for people trying to escape… mainly women seeking help fleeing abusive relationships. With her computer skills and savvy, Alex helps them disappear under the radar and blend in with the crowd.
One such woman is Melanie Bess. Months ago she fled her abusive husband but Alex now fears the woman has done exactly what she was told not to: come back to Austin, Texas. When Alex’s attempts to contact her fail and she tracks Melanie to her last known place of residence only to find evidence of foul play, Alex reluctantly turns to her source in the APD – homicide investigator Nathan Devereaux.
Alex’s hesitancy is understandable given that Melanie’s husband is a cop too and one Nathan counts a friend. Also, it’s her instincts telling her that something bad has happened rather than the hard evidence Nathan prefers before he starts accusing a fellow police officer of murder. But as the two delve deeper into the murky mess of this case, they discover far more than either ever bargained on.
The opening of this book grabbed me and hung on. I could feel Melanie’s terror as her world closed in on her. Then…for most of the rest of the book, I felt more detached, less involved. I wanted to know what was going to happen and how things would shake out but I wasn’t on the edge of my seat anymore. It was more, “hmmm, wonder what happens next” instead of “OMG, what now!?”
As with “Thread of Fear” and “Whisper of Warning,” there is police procedural stuff. Nathan and his partner Will catch new cases throughout this book and I think you show how thinly spread most police departments are. Especially ones facing the rising crime that comes from drug trafficking.
Most of the book focuses on Alex and how she works for a living. While reading it, I discovered that I think I prefer police stuff to PI stuff. There’s a lot of “sailing close to the wind” things that Alex does which appall Nathan as he wonders if they’d ever be admissible in court. Maybe this is what actually happens in real life but it makes me twitchy.
The Delphi stuff, however, was fascinating. Is there such a place? I never quite understood if they only process crime information
that is brought to them or seek it out, like the FBI? In other words, are they affiliated with anyone or is it all freelance? The ultimate depth of the crimes being committed in the story is sweeping yet seems plausible given today’s headlines. I feel for poor Nathan and Will having to deal the fall out.
As for the relationship between Nathan and Alex, it didn’t grab me as much as the heroes and heroines from the previous two books. Nathan seems willing to take on the world for Alex – or rather be dragged by her on errands after nights with little sleep or travel for hours to help her out – only to have Alex then slough him off, IMO. I just never quite “got” what attracted him to her in the face of all this seeming indifference. Yeah, they’re hot in bed and he admires her intelligence but what else? Not much that I could see.
So, while I enjoyed catching up on these two and watching them solve the mystery behind Melanie, they didn’t viscerally move me as much as your previous characters have. I am looking forward to the next book “Unspeakable” based on the excerpt included with this novel and hoping the magic will spark again for me. B-