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Trace Evidence

(Evelyn James #1)

3.61  ·  Rating details ·  380 ratings  ·  59 reviews
A gripping suspense novel that introduces forensic expert Evelyn James as she tries to decipher trace evidence and solve a bizarre crime It's a cold Cleveland November day when forensic trace evidence expert Evelyn James is summoned to the scene of a bizarre crime. A young woman has been forcibly drowned, her feet chained and sunk in cement. When a second young victim is c ...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published August 3rd 2005 by Hachette Books (first published January 1st 2005)
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3.61  · 
Rating details
 ·  380 ratings  ·  59 reviews

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Jennifer Wardrip
May 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing
In the style of Patricia Cornwell (a real life former Medical Examiner), Keith Ablow (a forensic psychologist), and Kathy Reichs (a forensic anthropologist), new author Elizabeth Becka draws on her life as a forensic specialist to pen a wonderful thriller/forensic procedural!

Evelyn James is a forensic scientist in Cleveland 's Medical Examiner's office. On a cold November day, she's called to the scene of a chilling crime--a young woman has been pulled from the river, arms and body encased in c
Feb 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Good detective story, well crafted, characters a bit overwhelming and an unlikely premise.
Aug 30, 2015 rated it it was ok
I have to say that I forgot if I even read this book when I went through my pile of books to take back to the library.

The story kept me interested and I always like having a female protagonist that is an expert in her field. The disposal of the bodies in the river using 'cement shoes' made the story a bit different and caught my imagination as well.

I really didn't like the romance aspects of the story. Her relationship with the mayor or her relation with the detective or the relation between h
Nov 28, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: thriller
When forensic trace evidence expert Evelyn James is summoned to the scene of a bizarre crime, she finds that a young woman from a prominent Cleveland family has been forcibly drowned in the Cuyahoga River.

Comparable to Patricia Cornwell's Kay Scarpetta and Kathy Reich's Tempe Brennan, this thriller featuring Forensic Scientist, Evelyn James and set in Cleveland is a fantastic addition to the genre.
Krystal C. |
Dec 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Honestly, this one caught my attention because the story is based in Cleveland. Being from Northeast Ohio, I was immediately intrigued. Little did I know that the author is from here and that she has more books based in our CLE. I actually enjoyed this book. I read it in less than 2 days. I blew through the chapters, not wanting to put it down. It may because I could so vividly picture as many of the landmarks easily appeared in my head. Others complained of the romance part, but let's face it, ...more
Vincent de Paul
Jul 01, 2019 rated it liked it
Trace Evidence by Elizabeth Becka is one of those books that draw their inspiration from the lives of their authors, a la Patricia Cornwell and the like books. Elizabeth Becka, a forensic specialist, writes about Evelyn James, a trace evidence specialist who helps solve crimes and bring justice to those who have no voice. It is an interesting read.

For a debut novel, it is a piece of mastery. The story is interesting, but it drags a little to the point the writer had to rush towards the end to s
Louise B
Nov 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
I got given this book from a pal, and had never heard of the author. But as I do like crime books, I gave it a whirl. Nicely done, good pacing and it kept me engrossed the whole way through. Worth a read.
Reasonable forensic thriller, which while I did enjoy it, didn't quite grip me as much as I was hoping it would. Evelyn James, the forensic scientist that the book features, is an engaging enough character & I would expect to see her...probably along with David Milaski...appearing in further books.
Kim Bardon
Finding the story a little slow and then a rush to get all the information out at the end.
Oct 14, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Chris by: goodreads author /alison
Shelves: ill, elizabeth-becka
From another reviewer.

In the style of Patricia Cornwell (a real life former Medical Examiner), Keith Ablow (a forensic psychologist), and Kathy Reichs (a forensic anthropologist), new author Elizabeth Becka draws on her life as a forensic specialist to pen a wonderful thriller/forensic procedural!

Evelyn James is a forensic scientist in Cleveland 's Medical Examiner's office. On a cold November day, she's called to the scene of a chilling crime--a young woman has been pulled from the river, arms
Sep 13, 2014 rated it it was ok
The supporting characters of Mayor Pierson and his mobster friend Ashworth were far more interesting than the protagonists or the mystery. I want to know about their friendship.

The portions of the novel where Evelyn was in the lab alternating between analyzing data and making investigative leaps were too few compared to her mental complaints about her ex-husband and his new wife. Don't get me wrong, character background is extremely important in crime novels to assess motivations, but this just
Morgan Bardon
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lee Ann
Aug 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
The first few pages of the book draw you in by introducing the reader to a young woman struggling to escape and alllllmost succeeding. It is a heartrending intro to a great crime novel.

Evelyn James has a teen daughter, a burgeoning relationship, and a gruesome job right out of a horror tale...but at least the dead don't talk back. When she learns that the girl whose death she is investigating was the daughter of a former love, it becomes more personal...and more frightening when her daughter ge
Nov 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Another trace evidence scientist in the Cleveland morgue office is featured in a mystery series. This one features Evelyn James who appears more normal--a single parent of a teenager with attitude whose father and his new wife make everything more complicated. And, it's not as if these cases aren't complicated enough--young women wearing cement "shoes" and drowned along the Cleveland Metropark. Are all the missing young women possibly down below bridges? The weather is getting too cold to send s ...more
Nov 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
I found this book quite suspenseful, with red herrings thrown in, making it hard to guess the killer. The promotional material for "Trace Evidence" compared the book to the Patricia Cornwall series; I didn't feel this was quite right. "Trace Evidence" wasn't nearly as graphic as the Kay Scarpetta books, nor as bogged down in technicalities. "Trace Evidence" did, though, show some of the forensic goings-on, which I liked, as they didn't take over the book. (I liked the early Scarpetta books when ...more
Mar 05, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cops-and-robbers
Thoroughly enjoyed's a good thing I picked this up on a Saturday so I could stay up late till I finished it! This book went right from my "to read" to "have read" list without pausing at 'currently reading." Yea, I know there are some plot flaws.... For example, I felt Evie was too wrapped up in angst over her relationship with her sixteen year old daughter and loathing for the ex and his new bimbette to so suddenly have such an intense interest in the new guy...and I thought the remn ...more
Dec 19, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: thriller, forensics, 3-09
If you love CSI, you'll love Trace Evidence, the first in the Evelyn James forensic thriller series, by Elizabeth Becka. You can a real good insight on the ME's office and forensic details on what caused the deaths and how to nab the bad guys, if not by natural causes or suicide. This has high action-packed drama with tons of action and a hint of romance. And it takes place in my hometown area and home state area of Cleveland, Ohio--A big plus, like Casey Daniels's Pepper Martin paranormal cozy ...more
Jul 02, 2008 rated it liked it
A young woman is found dead, drowned in the river with her feet in a bucket of cement. Evelyn works forensic trace evidence for Cleveland and wants to find the woman's identity and her killer. A few days pass before another woman is found and she is a member of an important family. Evelyn gets very wrapped up in the case because her daughter is the same age as the victims. She is becoming close to one of the detectives but worries about starting a relationship. She is worried about her daughter ...more
Apr 29, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Women who like a quick read
Shelves: mystery
A recently divorced woman, Evie, from the medical examiner's office is the main character. She is a bit too paranoid about her teenage daughter and the ex-husband is classically clueless with a bimbo for a new wife. When Evie meets David, a cop whose career has been called into question, their attraction builds steadily while working on a gruesome crime. This is a moderate spine-tingling mystery with no gore and no sex. Just suggestions of both. A pretty quick read.
Mar 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
Evelyn James is a forensic scientist who is drawn into a horrible murder of young women. The victims are forcibly drowned. I liked this debut book. The characters are real, the descriptions of the murders are horrifying and plot kept me going. Cleveland Ohio was described a bit too! US State Challenge again. As some other reviewer said,the book was not as technically detailed as Cornwell's books
Sam Brennan
Sep 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. It was a thrilling mystery that wasnt all cliche. All the things i thought were going to happen mostly didnt and then i was like oh ok well there ya go! I loved the characters i felt like they had there own personalities and they wernt just unthought about last ideas. The story was good and the mystery was better.
Peggy Walker
The heroine of this story is an expert on trace evidence. It is not as detailed as books by Kathy Reichs,, and the heroine seems to be awfully important at crime scenes. She also seems extremely vulnerable to supervisory whim, which is strange in what is almost certainly a civil service job. It's a pretty good, fast read, but for very light reading situations. Definitely a beach book.
Oct 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This turned out to be a very good first book. The author told the story, it built up to an edge of your seat suspense, with all the things you want in a good mystery. There is the heroine, Evelyn James a forensic scientist, dead bodies, the bizarre killer. I was trying to guess who the murderer was, but she really hid it well. I will start her second book soon.
Jul 07, 2009 rated it really liked it
For fans of CSI, Law and Order, Bones and all the forensic shows out there this is the book to read. Written by a forensic investigator this book captured the horror, grit, and emotions of a graphic crime, and the aftermath that follows. I read this book a few years ago, and just writing a review now, I can still remember this book well, and would recommend to crime readers everywhere!
Anne Homeschooling-Mama
Absolutely fantasic!! Had me riveted to the book and I couldn't put it down until I finished. Bit graphic for my taste in places, but not gratuitously so. Would definitely be interested in reading more by this author.
Jan 14, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: audio
I liked this book. It opens with a very suspenseful scene and continues at a good pace. There are interesting 'crime scene' scenes and office politics and family interactions that most readers can identify with.
Nathan Shumate
Jun 21, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good forensic-scientist-vs.-serial-killer novel (who would have predicted that would become a genre?), which adds personal stakes without the obvious cliches. Keeps the romance from becoming distracting, too.
Tara Plumley
Nov 14, 2012 rated it it was ok
Very obviously her first book. Clunky un flowing dialogue. Hard work for a shot book. At times iI thought hse was trying too hard and at times not hard enough. It has not earned a space in the book shelves; off to the charity shop! Not a patch on Kathy Reichs.
Karen Rae
Apr 16, 2015 rated it it was ok
Pretty good until near the end; I felt like the author was about to miss a publisher's deadline so threw in a few elements that made no sense. The portrayal of a budding romance left me cold. Oh, well.
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Aka Lisa Black

Elizabeth Becka Lansky is a forensic specialist working with the Cape Coral, Florida, police department. Formerly with the Coroner's Office in Cleveland, Ohio, she has lectured to students and officers, has testified as an expert witness, is a member of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, and is certified by the American Board of Criminalistics.

She spent five years of her life

Other books in the series

Evelyn James (3 books)
  • Unknown Means
  • Verletzt (Evelyn James, #3)