Sunday, July 12, 2015

Gone Without a Trace by Patricia Bradley

I like a well written mystery and this one fits the bill.

Robyn Martin disappeared from Logan Point over two years ago. Her cousin Livy, a homicide detective, never believed Robyn left voluntarily. Alex, a private investigator from Dallas, has been asked to look into the disappearance of Samantha Jo, the daughter of a senator. She was last seen at Logan Point and had been working at the same restaurant as Robyn. Seeing the similarities in their disappearances, Livy and Alex begin working together.

Their efforts are not so harmonious, however, as Livy is plagued with self doubt. A few months before, she had shot and killed a robber, a young man wielding a toy gun. On leave and with her law enforcement future in doubt, she struggles to work with a private investigator she doesn't like.

I liked the characters in this novel. Livy is a gutsy woman but is caught unawares by her reaction to shooting an unarmed young man. Though cleared of any wrong doing, she wonders why she didn't know the gun the man was brandishing was only a toy weapon. Where was God and why didn't He keep her from taking a life? I liked Alex too. Son and grandson of powerful lawyers, he is the black sheep of the family for becoming a private detective. Like Livy, he needs to prove himself with the missing person case. I was disappointed that, in the end, he did not continue to stand up against his grandfather's expectations. I liked Livy's growth during the novel but found Alex weak in that area. And the villain ends up being a really creepy guy. He is crazy enough that you really want him caught in the end.

The plot is a little complex and I thought just perhaps a bit unlikely. There is good reason for Robyn to have been missing for over two years, even though she was no longer held captive by her kidnapper. I found the emotional involvement of Robyn's immediate family a little puzzling, especially at the end of the novel. Also, the action to try to capture the villain was complex and a bit unrealistic. It turned out to be ineffective too.

However, even with those little imperfections, I really liked the novel. I enjoyed Livy's character development as she faced her confidence to use her gun when it came down her needing to do so. There was good suspense at the end, even if it was a bit short.

This novel is the third in a series but can certainly be read on its own.

Patricia Bradley is the winner of a 2012 Daphne du Maurier Award and a 2012 Touched by Love Award. Se was also a finalist for the 2012 Genesis Award. She lives in Mississippi. You can find out more at www.ptbradley.com.

Revell, 336 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.
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