Genre: Police Procedural

Guest Review: At Close Range by Laura Griffin

Posted January 25, 2017 by Jen in Reviews | 8 Comments

Guest Review: At Close Range by Laura GriffinReviewer: Jen
At Close Range (Tracers, #11) by Laura Griffin
Series: Tracers #11
Also in this series: Deep Dark
Published by Pocket Books
Publication Date: January 31st 2017
Genres: Police Procedural, Romantic Suspense
Pages: 368
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four-stars

New York Times bestselling author Laura Griffin “delivers the goods” (Publishers Weekly) again with the eleventh title in the gritty, heart-pounding Tracers series.
When a lakeside tryst ends in a double murder, police detective Daniele Harper arrives on the scene determined to get answers. Clues are everywhere, but nothing adds up. Dani turns to the Delphi Center crime lab for help, but soon regrets it when her secret attraction to their chief firearms examiner threatens to distract her from the most important case of her career.
As a ballistics expert and former Navy SEAL, Scott Black knows firearms, and he knows he can help Dani unravel her case. Scott has managed to hide his interest in his best friend’s younger sister for years, but when her investigation brings them together, the sparks between them quickly get out of control. Scott resolves to keep his hands off Dani and his eyes on the goal—identifying a killer. But when that killer zeroes in on Dani, all bets are off. There isn’t a line Scott won’t cross to convince Dani to trust him so that he can help her take down a ruthless murderer who has her in his sights.

Tracers book 11! This time we’re largely back on the police side of investigations, following detective Dani Harper as she investigates a double homicide. She gets forensic help from various experts at the Delphi Center, including Scott Black. Scott is her brother’s friend, a former SEAL, and a guy she’s had a low key crush on for years. Scott too has some pants-feelings for her, but he’s mostly stayed away because of his friend, he’s not good enough, you know the drill. The homicide case quickly gets much more complicated than anyone expected, and both Dani and Scott end up right in the middle of it all. They have to navigate their attraction while trying to put a stop to the killings.

This was the kind of book where I mostly enjoyed it while I was reading it, but after I put it down some things started bothering me. It was fairly fast paced and exciting. The first two murders turn out to be just the tip of the iceberg, and I liked that Griffin kept things interesting and exciting throughout. There’s no “figuring out” for the reader to do, but you do come along for the ride as Dani, Scott, and the rest of the police uncover details. I definitely got hooked and wanted to know how it all would be resolved. It was great to catch up with some past characters, and we get to meet another Delphi Center employee, Brooke, who I assume is going to be a future heroine. I am very intrigued by her so far!

There were quite a few weak points in the book for me, though. Like I said, while I was reading the book I was into the plot, but after I was done I couldn’t help thinking that some of the details were kind of ridiculous or unresolved. The villains have a really complicated plan that didn’t entirely make sense to me – it seemed far fetched.

I also wasn’t entirely feeling the romance. Scott is a really private, stoic guy. He seems to have PTSD or some other mental/emotional issues as a result of his combat experiences, but that’s just kind of glossed over. He and Dani have a lot of sex but do very, very little talking. Dani admits she really hasn’t spent much time with Scott after he came back from combat, so who is she really in love with? The kid/teen version of Scott she knew in the past, or the adult with piles of baggage and severe communication issues? Scott jerks her around a lot, acting like she’s just a fling and and saying some cruel things to her. He knows he’s hurting her but he selfishly continues doing it because he wants to, and I didn’t love that about him. Then the ending was also rushed, and Scott suddenly flips and is Mr. Commitment. It wasn’t entirely unsatisfying, but I would have preferred more build up. Plus, just like the hero in Beyond Limits (book 8), Scott steamrolls Dani and tries to take over her investigation. There was even a near-repeat of the moment I hated from book 8, where Scott grossly violates investigation protocol in a way that could get Dani in serious trouble, and instead of holding him accountable she caves and sleeps with him. I wanted Dani to stand up for herself a bit more, and I wanted Scott to acknowledge he was being a dick, but that didn’t happen.

Despite the problems, I still had a good time reading the book! The characters were interesting, the investigation details fascinating, and the plot fast paced. I think other Tracers fans will enjoy it too.

Grade: 3.75 out of 4

*I received a review copy of this book from the publisher.

 

four-stars

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Guest Review: Deep Dark by Laura Griffin

Posted May 23, 2016 by Jen in Reviews | 10 Comments

Guest Review: Deep Dark by Laura GriffinReviewer: Jen
Deep Dark by Laura Griffin
Series: Tracers #10
Published by Simon and Schuster
Publication Date: May 24th 2016
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Suspense, Contemporary, General, Fantasy
Pages: 368
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three-half-stars

“If you like CSI and well-crafted suspense, don’t miss these books” (RT Book Reviews)! The tenth novel in the New York Times bestselling Tracers series is a gripping romantic thriller from the author who “never fails to put me on the edge of my seat” (USA TODAY).
The moment detective Reed Novak steps onto the crime scene, he knows the case is going to rock his world. A beautiful young woman murdered at home. No sign of forced entry. No motive. She’s obviously not the killer’s first victim, and Reed’s instincts tell him she won’t be his last. Reed’s first clue comes via a mysterious text that links to a dating profile, but even more intriguing than the clue is the person who sent it.
As a white-hat hacker in the Delphi Center’s cyber investigation unit, Laney Knox sneaks into some of the deepest, darkest corners of the Internet looking for predators. Laney would prefer to stay away from Austin PD’s most recent murder case, but she can’t ignore the chilling similarities between that crime and her own brutal attack years ago. Laney offers to help the sexy lead detective, but he wants more from her than just a promising tip—Reed wants her trust. Laney resists, but as their relationship deepens she’s tempted to reveal the closely guarded secrets that could make her a key witness…or the killer’s next victim.

Time for another Tracers book! This time we have Reed Novak, a detective with the Austin PD, and Laney Knox, a white hat hacker for the Delphi Center. When Laney hears about a recent murder that bears a striking similarity to an attack she experienced years ago, she contacts Reed and wants to help. She doesn’t trust him and he’s not sure how much he trusts her either, but as they both pursue the investigation, they start to uncover dangerous information that could put Laney at risk.

I thought the suspense aspect of the book was great. The villain is creepy and disturbing, and there are lots of twists and turns here as Reed and Laney close in on him. As usual, Griffin includes lots of details from the investigation to make the book feel realistic and based on science. Whether that’s actually true, I don’t know, but I love the geeky details she sprinkles in! We get to see some glimpses of other characters too, and I always enjoy that because, realistically, many of these investigator-types working in a medium-sized city would know each other, right?

The relationship between Reed and Laney just didn’t do it for me, though. First, Reed is fifteen years older than Laney, not a trope I love. I could get over it if they felt in sync, but I didn’t get that here. Reed is cynical and hardened and a very seasoned professional, but he meets Laney and he starts breaking protocol left and right for her. (I’d say he was largely thinking with his…lower brain.) Laney acts her age–she’s immature, rushes into things without thinking about the consequences, and behaves more like an infatuated girl than a grown woman. Sure, she’s also cynical based on her past and her work hunting online predators, but when it comes to general life skills she shows her age. The two had chemistry, but I didn’t feel a deeper connection, at least in this book. And the age thing isn’t really explored in great depth. Come on, 15 years is a long time! Some serious conversation seems in order.

Am I getting tired of this series and therefore being too harsh? I don’t know! I did really enjoy the last book in the series, and I haven’t hated a Tracers book yet, including this one. The storylines and suspense elements are always thrilling, and the science of investigation keeps me hooked.

I have no problem suggesting that everyone who enjoys this series read this one, and I’ll be first in line to keep reading future installments.

Grade: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars

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Lightning Review: Immortal in Death by J.D. Robb

Posted January 6, 2010 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Lightning Review: Immortal in Death by J.D. RobbReviewer: Holly
Immortal in Death by J. D. Robb
Series: In Death #3
Also in this series: Creation in Death, Strangers in Death, Suite 606, Salvation in Death, Kindred In Death, Naked in Death, Glory in Death, The Lost, Rapture in Death, Fantasy in Death, New York to Dallas, Celebrity in Death, Brotherhood in Death
Published by Penguin
Publication Date: 1996
Genres: Fiction, Mystery & Detective, General, Police Procedural, Women Sleuths
Pages: 320
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four-stars

She was one of the most sought-after women in the world. A top model who would stop at nothing to get what she wanted -- even another woman's man. And now she was dead, the victim of a brutal murder. Police lieutenant Eve Dallas put her professional life on the line to take the case when suspicion fell on her best friend, the other woman in the fatal love triangle. Beneath the facade of glamour, Eve found that the world of high fashion thrived on an all-consuming passion for youth and fame. One that led from the runway to the dark underworld of New York City where drugs could fulfill any desire -- for a price . . .

 

This is one of my favorite In Death books. I think because this is the first time we really see Eve open up. She shows a lot of emotional growth here, plus she opens the door to new friendships.

It was easy to figure out who the killer was, but I still enjoyed the basic plot and watching Eve and her team work it out. I was disappointed in the timeline of the investigation though. It seems strange that both Eve and Roarke would be working right up until the night of the wedding.

All of Eve’s past is revealed in this book, and I found it just as shocking and horrific this time around. I hate that she pushes Roarke away, and yet that’s one of the most real parts of the book. After everything she suffered I’d be upset if she reacted differently.

Overall I’m just as impressed this time around.

4.5 out of 5

For a full list of the books and their reading order, see here.

This book is available from Berkley. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

four-stars

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Lightning Review: Rapture in Death by J.D. Robb

Posted January 5, 2010 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Lightning Review: Rapture in Death by J.D. RobbReviewer: Holly
Rapture in Death by J. D. Robb, Nora Roberts
Series: In Death #4
Also in this series: Creation in Death, Strangers in Death, Suite 606, Salvation in Death, Kindred In Death, Naked in Death, Glory in Death, The Lost, Immortal in Death, Fantasy in Death, New York to Dallas, Celebrity in Death, Brotherhood in Death
Published by Penguin
Publication Date: 1996
Genres: Fiction, Mystery & Detective, General, Police Procedural, Women Sleuths, Romance, Suspense
Pages: 310
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four-stars

They died with smiles on their faces. Three apparent suicides: a brilliant engineer, an infamous lawyer, and a controversial politician. Three strangers with nothing in common - and no obvious reasons for killing themselves. Police lieutenenat Eve Dallas found the deaths suspicious. And her instincts paid off when autopsises revealed small burns on the brains of the victims. Was it a genetic abnormality or a high-tech method of murder? Eve's investigation turned to the provocative world of virtual reality games - where the same technique used to create joy and desire could also prompt the mind to become the weapon of its own destruction.

 

This novel takes place right at the end of Eve and Roarke’s honeymoon. I think this is the first book where we really see them in harmony with each other.

Once again Eve’s case spills over into her personal life. People keep killing themselves, but Eve is convinced they were helped along. Her only evidence – besides her gut feeling – is each had a small blip on the brain. For me it isn’t ever hard to figure out who the villains are, but it is a joy watching Eve work. I especially liked the moral and social implications this case delved into. Mind control/mood control is a very scary thing.

There’s one scene in particular with Roarke that’s very emotional to read about. I will say, reading this book knowing what’s going on ahead of time really changed the tone of some of the scenes. The first time around my reaction was much different than it was this time around.

Something about the end of this book strikes me as odd, however. I don’t want to spoil it, but Eve’s reaction during the very last scene of the book seems off somehow. I can’t quite put my finger on why it’s wrong, though.

Overall a good entry.

4 out of 5

For a full list of the books and their reading order, see here.

This book is available from Berkley. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

four-stars

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Review: Glory in Death by J.D. Robb

Posted December 23, 2009 by Holly in Reviews | 4 Comments

Review: Glory in Death by J.D. RobbReviewer: Holly
Glory in Death by J. D. Robb, Nora Roberts
Series: In Death #2
Also in this series: Creation in Death, Strangers in Death, Suite 606, Salvation in Death, Kindred In Death, Naked in Death, The Lost, Rapture in Death, Immortal in Death, Fantasy in Death, New York to Dallas, Celebrity in Death, Brotherhood in Death
Published by Penguin
Publication Date: 1995
Genres: Fiction, Mystery & Detective, Women Sleuths, Police Procedural, Thrillers, Suspense
Pages: 313
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

The first victim was found lying on a sidewalk in the rain. The second was murdered in her own apartment building. Police Lieutenant Eve Dallas had no problem finding connections between the two crimes. Both victims were beautiful and highly successful women. Their glamorous lives and loves were the talk of the city. And their intimate relations with men of great power and wealth provided Eve with a long list of suspects--including her own lover, Roarke. As a woman, Eve was compelled to trust the man who shared her bed. But as a cop, it was her job to follow every lead..to explore every secret passion, no matter how dark. Or how dangerous.

 

Now that I’ve started, I may end up re-reading the entire series. I’d forgotten how much I love the earlier books. Each case of Eve’s is intersting, of course, but it’s her character development that really makes these fascinating. Not to mention her relationship with Roarke.

Though I figured out early on who the killer was, I really enjoyed watching Eve puzzle it out. Roarke again pops up in Eve’s investigation. The victim in this book is a close personal friend of Eve’s commander, which further complicates an already murky case.

Naturally the best part of the book is Eve and Roarke. Eve is still struggling to accept Roarke in her life and Roarke is upset that she’s struggling. I love this aspect of the novel. I find their relationship so..real. Here the main struggle comes from Roarke wanting to deepen the relationship and Eve balking at such a thing. She knows cops are a bad bet, and she’s worse than most. When Roarke tries to give Eve a gift, something she’s very uncomfortable with, things really blow up. Roarke issues an ultimatum and Eve spends the next miserable, yet refusing to admit it.

I will confess that there isn’t enough from Roarke’s point-of-view in these earlier books. That didn’t bother me so much the first time I read them, but this time around I find myself disappointed that we don’t see more from him. That isn’t to say we don’t get his POV at all, because we do, it just wasn’t quite enough. But then there will never be enough Roarke, so I suppose this is subjective.

This book contains one of my favorite scenes of the entire series..when Eve goes to confront Roarke after their separation. I love how raw both of them are, and how real their emotions and actions are. I also love the symbolism of the diamond Roarke gives Eve, and how that continues on throughout the series.

4.25 out of 5

For a full list of the books and their reading order, see here.

This book is available from Berkley. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

four-stars

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