Drew is a soldier who has home to Lancaster Falls after his brother, Casey, is found dead. Drew’s felt guilty about the fight he and Casey had had just before Casey disappeared. When Drew arrives in town, he goes straight to the police department where his friend, Sawyer, is now the chief. Drew demands to know what happened and why the police aren’t doing enough to solve Casey’s murder, and he wants to be a part of the case.
Logan, a former soldier out on a medical discharge, is now a cop. He has made Lancaster Falls his home. Logan loves the town and wants to protect it. When he sees Drew shove Sawyer, he runs into the office to yank Drew off and the two get into a brawl.
Now, Logan and the rest of the department are on the case to find not only who murdered Casey, but to figure out who may have killed the other victims found alongside him. Frustrated by Drew’s interference and disruption, Logan finds himself attracted to Drew, and he doesn’t know what to do with it. It seems Drew has the same attraction and has made it known he’s interested in a “friends with benefits” arrangement until he leaves to return to the service.
Is it possible the men can sort out their growing feelings for each other while trying to get to the bottom of the mystery, or will their differences not only hurt their chances to have a life together, but make a bigger mess of the case than it already is?
Without a Trace is the second installment in the Lancaster Falls series, and it’s just as good as the first (What Lies Beneath). This story picks up exactly where book one left off, so I’ll begin by telling you that you must read book one first. It’s not a book where you can just jump in and get an idea of what’s happening, and there are a lot of things happening…the investigation into Casey’s death, who may be spraying graffiti on the town’s buildings, Drew’s interference and PTSD, and a multitude of minor characters to keep up with. It’s all very compelling and I was caught up in the book as soon as I opened it.
I found Logan to be a good man, even though he seems to be sort of carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders. He’s my favorite character in the story. Drew was, at least at first, difficult to like. I understood why, of course. He wanted to know what happened to Casey even though he really doesn’t want to be back in Lancaster falls. He’s also suffering PTSD from all he’s seen and done overseas. So, Drew was rather corrosive from the start, although he gets better. Also, at first, it was kind of hard to see where their romance made sense. I didn’t start out feeling it. I felt Drew was almost…predatory…in his pursuit of Logan. Again, it all begins to make sense, and once the men act on their physical attraction, their emotional attraction follows quickly. That’s when it I got it. As soon as that happened, I felt better about them as a couple.
The mystery itself is fascinating. I can’t give too much away, especially since it starts in book one. I will tell you, however, the transition from book one to book two is seamless and there’s no lag in the action. Clues begin popping up right away and I felt as if I was right there in town in the thick of it all. Each piece of the puzzle make things even more interesting. I’ll let you know that there’s an unexpected character who is also in the thick of it all. I was completely floored by how it turned out. This speaks to the real writing skill of the author. She was able to surprise me, the biggest literary detective who figures nearly everything out before the big reveal. I’m very impressed!
I mentioned there was a lot going on in the book, and this includes the background characters as well. There are quite a number of them, and they’re just as quirky (and sometimes annoying) as the town. While none of them are necessarily key to the story, they do fulfill their roles nicely. Their personalities come off as real, and I imagine most people have people like these in their lives.
The ending of Without a Trace is interesting. I’m not going to tell you it wraps up neatly because it doesn’t. It ends in a cliffhanger. It’s not jarring or surprising. One piece of the puzzle has been fit, but there’s so much more to learn. I was satisfied, though. I got some answers I needed, and it prepared me for the next installment of the series. Speaking of the next installment…I seriously cannot wait to see what’s coming. The tensions and clues continue to mount and has my complete attention.