Without Trace

Simon Booker
Without Trace
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Bonnier Publishing
Release Date
January 2016
Book 1 of A Morgan Vine Thriller
Mainstream fiction

Everyone thought he was a child-murderer.
But to Morgan he was her best friend.

Morgan Vine's childhood sweetheart, Danny, has been imprisoned for the murder and attempted rape of his 14-year-old step-daughter. But Morgan still resolutely believes in his innocence, a belief that has become an obsession of the last four years. At last Danny is released when a key witness retracts his statement. After years of campaigning, Morgan finally has Danny back in her life and for a few sweet weeks it seems as if they can finally return to their old friendship.

And then Morgan's teenage daughter goes missing.

As the investigation proceeds Morgan cannot escape the sick feeling in her stomach and the nagging voice in her head: did he do it? And then there are the signs, the sea shells arranged outside her house and the sand on her car bonnet spelling out the words: don't trust him. Morgan's daughter is in danger; perhaps it's time to break faith with her childhood crush and start accepting that her best friend might be a sick-minded murderer.

Without Trace is a fast-paced, unpredictable psychological thriller which will have readers glued to the page with anticipation. The novel is the first in a new series featuring Morgan Vine, a single mum and fiercely determined investigative journalist who specialises in miscarriages of justice.

Book Review by Delta (reviewer)
Feb 22, 2016   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
136 people found the following review helpful
This book left me pretty much speechless and breathless - a feat very rarely accomplished by...well, anyone really.

Morgan Vine is convinced Prisoner FF7836 is innocent. The fact is, her former childhood friend and lover Danny Kilcannon would not have killed his stepdaughter, she's as sure of this as she is of anything in her life. When Danny's appeal is successful and he's released, Morgan is thrilled, but not everyone is glad the man is back on the streets. Receiving messages and notes warning her off, Morgan's belief stays steadfast…until her own 18 year old daughter Lissa goes missing. As Morgan goes in a panic-induced search for her precarious teenage daughter, she learns that nothing is what it seems, and that everyone she meets along the way has secrets and dark sides and agendas. IS Danny capable of murder? Did she get it wrong and help free a killer?

So, WITHOUT TRACE isn't my usual read. It's a psychological thriller with zero romance, but it is absolutely WILD. You just don't know what to believe…was Danny set up? Is Morgan's stalkerish behavior toward him making her delusional? Did Lissa's sexual antics seal her fate, and if so, with whom? As I got deeper into the book, the more freaked out I became when things were revealed piece by disturbing piece. I wanted to shake Morgan and scream at her to WAKE THE HELL UP! but I couldn't decide what I wanted her to wake up to--Danny's ultimate guilt or innocence. And still, Morgan somehow remained delusional, hoping for some sort of future with Danny.

For Danny's part…I just couldn't read fast enough to find out the truth behind the murder he says he didn't commit. Is he responsible somehow? There were so many red herrings, so many moments where I literally said out loud "holy shit" and "oh my gawd," especially as the book drew toward its end and all of the proverbial shit hit the fan. I'm not going to say anything else about this read, it's so much of a mind fuck that readers deserve to experience the entire roller coaster without prejudice on anyone.

Bottom Line: Crazy, insane, intense but not downright scary, this book is one I've been recommending to friends and family since before I even reached the midway point. You've got to pick this one up!
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