The Pirate Ghost (Formerly known as the Curmudgeon)'s Reviews > Untraceable

Untraceable by Laura Griffin
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Okay, I'm going to try and keep this review short... no, really, I'm going to try and keep this review short. I'm not kidding!

Untracable (Tracers #1)

General Impressions, Thoughts, Feelings, etc...

If you are big on Feminist issues, you will be caught in a juxta position. That means you'll have to tape some brown paper around it so nobody can see what you are reading because, once you start it, you'll want to finish it.

This book turned out to be a delightful read. I liked the female lead initially, and even though she did not turn out to be what I expected, she was likeable through the end. Before I read this, I read some of the GR Reviews. I was under the impression that this would be comparable to Snake Skin by C.J. Lyons. If you liked that book, and actually want a book that compares to it, then this may not be for you.

Why not? Because Snake Skin is about a strong leading woman, crime fighter, soccer-mom action hero type. Untracable is more like most of the other books in this genre (remember genre, from a publisher's point of view means what formula can I sell, not where does this fit, or what did the author write).

Having said that, that doesn't mean this is not an enjoyable book. It had enough gritty details to be scary, or rather, so the characters reactions fit the feelings described, but not enough for me to consider it noirish or "hard boiled." I found it funny where it was supposed to be funny, tense and thrilling where it was supposed to be and hot and steamy when...well, darn near boiled the e-ink off of my kindle page without having a dirty or naughty feel to it. It's nice to read a relatively clean if complicated romance angle.

Three stars from me, I would recommend this to just about anyone old enough to think about sex without getting somebody arrested and who like tense thrillers but are not so hot on lots of gory violence.


Alex is a self-made woman at the ripe old age of twenty something who works as a private investigator. She makes a fair living at that, and takes on bleeding heart cases where she helps abused and battered women, disappear so their attackers, the police and everyone else can never find them. She's high school educated with a PHD in how to do creative-semi-legal ways. Her real specialty is with computers and electronic devices.

She's also a romantic wreck who tells herself she'd rather be the sexy blond in "The Sure Thing" (John Cusak, Daphne Zuniga(SP), Anthony Edwards) played by Nicolette Sheridan as the girl the title fits. Sex, no strings attached, no guilt, no problems. In truth, everyone on the planet knows that's a crock of smelly human fecal matter.

The Hero, a brauny, hunky Austin cop with an ex-wife, don't all cops have an ex-wife?, and a lot of survivor guilt issues over his cases. He was born and raised in New Orleans and that gives some identity to him, but, other than that, he's just another brauny hunky (in girl terms not guy terms) cop, with a soft heart and a lot of insight that we get to read, but he never shares. He takes his job seriously, very seriously and, he's horny...did I mention the ex wife thing?

Um... to make a long story short (without giving details to spoil the book) cute, spunky, sexy rather than smokin' hot magazine cover sexy girl gets in over her head, well meaning cop gets caught up in things and low and behold, there's a three headed monster lurking right in Austin's backyard leaving dead bodies and wondering where it's wife is...I wonder who helped her get away?....ALEX Get in HERE!

If your looking for something remarkably new and unique, you won't find it here but you may also be taking yourself and your "sense of real Art" too seriously.

This book is exciting, cute, steamy, thrilling and a lot of fun to read. It's unique enough not to be boring and the insights into their true natures and fears keeps them human and animated, rather than clunky and mechanical. I'm not sure I'd give this book to anyone under 18 without a parents approval, it's a bit more than PG material, but it's not going to offend anyone. It's well written, polished and professional. It's by no means light subject matter or in content and it's complex and multi-faceted in a mature sense not high shcoolish.


I liked the characters. I think they were formulaic, but that makes this a testament to Griffin's skill and talent as a writer to bring these cardboard cut outs into our homes and put flesh and blood on them so I cared about them.

The writer is better than the book allows her to show.


There aren't many and what I have are not major reservations, just it would be nice if's.

1) It may have been my Kindle version, but there was little warning in chapters when the scene switched and we got out of Alex's head into Nathan's or someone elses. It was like snap boom and you were there, not even a cloud of smoke. Also, between jumps, days or weeks may have passed. Now, that's probably true to life as to how crimes etc. get solved. It is also realistic to think these two people have to pay their bills get their laundry done, clean the house etc and that may not be particularly exciting. It just made it hard to follow sometimes and often left me wanting more information about the scene we abruptly left. ... which of course isn't always a bad thing.

2) No strong female character. Alex fills in for the strong female lead, but spunk only carries so far. Alex, really fills the DiD role, or the DiOH - damsel in over her head role.

I'm perfectly fine with that. I like strong female charactrs but I see this as a good old fashioned crime novel and, as good ol' fashioned crime novels go, there's lots of strength, independence and courage in Alex's character and character design. She was wonderfully quirky, not the gasping breathtaking beauty from a magazine cover and spunky as hell. It was also sort of in keeping with her character design/background to be the type that kicks the hornest nest and play with fire. She just doesn't have a "dragon tatoo." And as intelligent and capable as she was, from what I read, she really didn't have a clue what she was up againstso her predicaments may have been logical and expectable.

Still, If not Alex, I would have liked for Nathan's Partner to be a strong female type, or maybe someone else, FBI Agent, Texas Ranger, anyone with a semi-major supporting role, to be a strong female type. As it was, the strongest female, other than alex and Sophie, was Melanie's NA/AA Sponsor. She only had a limited caemo appearance. Mia gets honerable mention, but she had BDS (Barbie Doll Syndrome), and there were no places to confirm her "strength of character" when the bullets fly and the chips are down.

I like that nothing happened in this book that would keep Alex from being the strong female lead in the next book and not so much the DiOH/DiD. Griffin left her potential alive.

3) Emphasis on Romance... this was either a crime story that thought it was a Romance novel, or the little Romance Novel that wanted to be a Crime Novel. A hint on the "Book Description" might have been helpful here. I enjoyed it, and I will read the sequell but the book seemed sort of like it had a split personality at times.

Warnings (not many, all managable for most reasonable people)

1. Violence - If your not expecting some maybe a nice fairyland childrens tail is more what you need.

2. Sex - both the bad kind (the evil that men women) and the good kind (Two heros against the world holed up in a hotell room, a little drunk and horny... you get the idea).

3. Sheep in Wolf's clothing- Normally I don't like the shepard syndrom especially when they go in drag as each other. This time I did because I think it Alex was well designed. If you are reading this looking for the strong independent female heroine, your not going to find her here. Alex is a wonderful character, but in this book, she's still the DiD for Nathan to save, at least in this book. I don't think female readers should take offense at this, Alex is a wonderful character and the way she is written is not degrading to women, save that it's a typical female role. (to NEED saving and have everyone know your business better than you.) If you are big on Feminist issues, you will be caught in a juxta position. That means you'll have to tape some brown paper around it so nobody can see what you are reading because, once you start it, you'll want to finish it.

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Reading Progress

30.0% "So far this is pretty good. It is a bit "herky-jerky" up till now, but, that hasn't disturbed my view and opinion of the characters as much as confused me and made it hard to follow. Interesting characters, still no idea what is "really" going on. I'm liking so far. Good read." 2 comments
51.0% "It may not be for children but at least they practice safe sex. I'll never think of my nice comfy recliner again. oh that poor lazy boy."
75.0% "Okay there's a lot of sophisticated twiterpation goin on. It's sophisticated, but it's still twiterpation. (See Disney, Bambi, Owl's explainatin of twiterpation)."
100.0% ""She's got her a car. It's as big as a whale and it's about to set sail for the LOVE SHACK!

Love shack baby."

Finished, short review to come. Delightful read. Strong leading characters, mediocre supporting cast members, interesting distractions. A CRMR Crime Romance."

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