New Release Review! AT CLOSE RANGE by Laura Griffin (Tracers #11)

When her investigation brings them together, the sparks between them quickly get out of control.
AT CLOSE RANGE
A Tracers Novel 
Laura Griffin
Releasing Jan 31st, 2017
Pocket Books
New York Times bestselling author Laura Griffin “delivers the goods” (Publishers Weekly) again with the eleventh title in the gritty, heart-pounding Tracers series.

When a lakeside tryst ends in a double murder, police detective Daniele Harper arrives on the scene determined to get answers. Clues are everywhere, but nothing adds up. Dani turns to the Delphi Center crime lab for help, but soon regrets it when her secret attraction to their chief firearms examiner threatens to distract her from the most important case of her career.

As a ballistics expert and former Navy SEAL, Scott Black knows firearms, and he knows he can help Dani unravel her case. Scott has managed to hide his interest in his best friend’s younger sister for years, but when her investigation brings them together, the sparks between them quickly get out of control. Scott resolves to keep his hands off Dani and his eyes on the goal—identifying a killer. But when that killer zeroes in on Dani, all bets are off. There isn’t a line Scott won’t cross to convince Dani to trust him so that he can help her take down a ruthless murderer who has her in his sights. 

 

Dani watched him. Scott stood beside the car, his back to the victim as he skimmed his flashlight over the ground. The firearms expert was tall and broad-shouldered, with the super-ripped body of a former Navy SEAL. Instead of his usual tactical pants and combat boots, he wore jeans and a leather jacket tonight, so maybe he’d been out when he’d gotten the call. Dani knew from experience that his jacket had nothing to do with the weather and everything to do with the Sig Sauer he carried concealed at his hip.

Something glinted in the grass, and Scott crouched down to tag it with a numbered marker. Two minutes on the scene and already he’d discovered a piece of evidence. He stood and squared his shoulders, and Dani felt a pang deep inside her as he approached.

He stopped and towered over her, and for a moment they just stared at each other.

“Was the passenger door closed when you got here?” he asked.

“That’s right.”

“Where’s the girl?”

“No sign of her.” She nodded at the woods. “One of our officers is searching near the lake with Travis.”

He watched her for a moment with those cool blue eyes. His gaze shifted to the woods. “You need a K-9 team.”

She bristled. “I know.”

He strode over to his truck and opened the toolbox again. He took out a metal detector, which would help him locate shell casings or bullets, and maybe even the second victim if she was wearing jewelry or a belt.

Then again, the killer might have taken her somewhere else. Dani glanced back at the road and got a queasy feeling in her stomach. Where was she? She turned her attention to the lake, visible just beyond the trees. It was a scenic spot, usually–a tranquil little oasis for couples. But not tonight.

She glanced at Scott again, and he was watching her closely–so closely it made her wonder what he was thinking.

“You coming?” he asked.

She nodded at the body. “I’ll stay with him until the ME shows.”

Scott walked off, and Dani let her gaze follow him until he disappeared into the woods.

The medical examiner’s van rolled up, followed closely by Ric, and Dani’s stomach tightened as she thought of everything she didn’t like about this case. And it wasn’t even an hour old yet.

Ric walked over, his expression grim as he took in the scene. “The media has it.”

“That didn’t take long.”

“It was all over the scanner,” he told her. “I give us ten minutes, tops, before they roll in here with their cameras. We need to barricade the road.”

“Daniele.”

She turned toward the sound of Scott’s deep voice calling her from the woods. He was a tall silhouette at the edge of the trees, and from his tone Dani knew it was bad.

“What is it?” she yelled back.

“I found her.”

##

Copyright 2017 by Laura Griffin

I have GOT to go back and read the beginning of this series! Seriously, I. Am. Loving. Them!

At Close Range delivers one heck of a suspense plot–a double murder that appears to be a crime of passion suddenly turns into a complex crime with a body count that is twice that, and the perpetrator soon appears to have the police detective who is put in charge of the case in his or her cross-hairs as well. Throw in a slow burning romance–SMPD detective Dani Harper has had a “thing” for Delphi Center’s ballistics expert Scott Black, her older brother’s best friend, since she was a teen, and has been trying to avoid him for months since a drunken New Year’s Eve kiss led to awkwardness. But now they’re working together, trying to solve the puzzle before anyone else gets killed, literally dodging bullets and finding resisting each other to be harder than ever.

So, yeah–it’s an incredible ride!

At Close Range had me on the edge of my seat, guessing what was really going on right up until the very end. And the chemistry between Scott and Dani? Fantastic. Adding to the drama of the book is the fact that Dani’s partner, Ric Santos and his wife Mia (hero and heroine of Unforgivable ) spend the bulk of the book waiting for their first baby to be born–Baby Santos is amazingly unwilling to make his debut–and there’s a hint that detective Sean Byrne and Delphi’s Center Brooke Porter might be subjects of a future series book–fingers crossed!

Whomever’s next on the list, though, you’d better believe I’ll be first in line for it!

Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.


New York Times
 and USA Today bestselling author LAURA GRIFFIN started her career in journalism before venturing into the world of romantic suspense. She is a two-time RITA Award winner (for the books Scorched and Whisper of Warning) as well as the recipient of the Daphne du Maurier Award (for Untraceable). Laura currently lives in Austin, where she is working on her next book.
 

New Release Review and Giveaway! DEEP DARK by Laura Griffin (Tracers #10)

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DEEP DARK
Tracers #10
Laura Griffin
Releasing May 24th, 2016
Pocket Books
A gripping new romantic thriller from New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Laura Griffin…
The moment detective Reed Novak steps onto the crime scene, he knows the case is going to rock his world. A beautiful young woman murdered at home. No sign of forced entry. No motive. She’s obviously not the killer’s first victim, and Reed’s instincts tell him she won’t be his last. Reed’s first clue comes via a mysterious text that links to a dating profile, but even more intriguing than the clue is the person who sent it.
As a white-hat hacker in the Delphi Center’s cyber investigation unit, Laney Knox sneaks into some of the deepest, darkest corners of the Internet looking for predators. Laney would prefer to stay away from Austin PD’s most recent murder case, but she can’t ignore the chilling similarities between that crime and her own brutal attack years ago. Laney offers to help the sexy lead detective, but he wants more from her than just a promising tip—Reed wants her trust. Laney resists, but as their relationship deepens she’s tempted to reveal the closely guarded secrets that could make her a key witness…or the killer’s next victim.
 

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UNTRACEABLE (Book 1) 
Excerpt-Banner

Reed watched her, and she had that frustrated look in her eyes again. Every time she started to open up to him, he did something to tick her off. She shook her head and glanced away.

“Laney?”

“What?”

“I’m a detective. It’s my job to ask questions. To push.”

She looked at him again and her expression softened. “No, you’re right.” She glanced down at her beer bottle and picked at the label. “I’m glad she has you.”

“Who has me?”

“April. You seem–” She paused, like she was searching for the right word. “–committed.”

He didn’t answer. It wasn’t really a question, but the way she looked at him gave him the feeling she wanted a response.

She drained her beer and plunked down the bottle. “I should get home.” She stood up.

Reed stood, too. He left a tip on the table and followed her through the throng of people. The bar was packed, and the music had gotten louder since they’d first walked in.

They stepped into the warm, muggy air. It was dusk now, and a neon Lone Star Light sign cast a blue-and-red glow over the sidewalk. As they walked in silence, he thought of what she’d said about her job being meaningful. It was refreshing. Maybe he’d been a cop too long, but he didn’t know anyone who talked about things being meaningful anymore. If they thought about work in those terms, they kept it to themselves.

Maybe he was jaded.

No, he definitely was jaded. But it had more to do with his failed marriage than anything he’d seen on the job.

Reed spotted her little white car and felt a twinge of regret. He’d enjoyed talking to her, enjoyed being near her. And he couldn’t remember the last time that had happened with a woman. Having a beer with Laney had been the highlight of his crap week. Hell, the highlight of his month.

She looked around. “Where are you parked?”

“Around back.”

She gazed up at him. He couldn’t read her expression.

“Thanks for the drink,” she said.

“You bought it.”

He couldn’t read her tone either. The thrum of music seeped through the thin walls of the bar as they stood there in the light of the beer sign.

She stepped closer, and a jolt of heat went through him. She looked up at him with those bottomless brown eyes, and he knew he was in trouble. It was a bad idea to involve this girl in his investigation. Whatever useful info she might have was outweighed by the fact that she was young, and edgy, and he wanted her. And she must have seen something in his face because her eyes sparked.

She went up on tiptoes and kissed him.

##

Copyright 2016 Laura Griffin

Review-Banner
This is only the second book I’ve read in the Tracers series (after Shadow Fall ), but whoa–do these books pack a wallop! I’m pretty sure I would have been literally unable to put the book down for the last 10% of it–its climax was thatgood. Seriously, why haven’t I read these books before now?

There’s a pretty big age gap between the hero and heroine–Reed’s 39, divorced, and kind of grumpy; Laney’s 24, a brilliant hacker, and not fond of authority–but man, does their relationship work. On the surface it may look like these two are just too different, but Ms. Griffin had me convinced. I liked that they both went into their relationship as equals–even though Laney’s young, she has a real grasp of the dark side of humanity (partly from something that happened to her early on, partly from her work as a hacker and her experiences with the dark side of technology) that makes her about as un-naive as she can get, and a good match for the seasoned cop. She’s not going to take any crap from Reed but instead is going to keep the poor guy on his toes.

But he’ll be on his toes and smiling.

The mystery and suspense part of the novel was really well done. It kept me guessing right up to the end–I honestly never suspected the culprit, but once we know who it is everything just falls into place in the best way. (Gah! My heartbeat is elevating, just thinking about what almost happens toward the end. Really, the suspense is just soooo good. I can’t stress it enough.)

I am definitely on board for the rest of the series, no matter how many Ms. Griffin wants to write. Sign. Me. Up!

Deep Dark, like Shadow Fall, works well as a standalone. I’m pretty sure that some of the secondary characters we run into have been in other books, but you don’t at all need to have read them to have one heck of a good time reading this one.

Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A

I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author LAURA GRIFFIN started her career in journalism before venturing into the world of romantic suspense. She is a two-time RITA Award winner (for the books Scorched and Whisper of Warning) as well as the recipient of the Daphne du Maurier Award (for Untraceable). Laura currently lives in Austin, where she is working on her next book.


 
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New Release Review and Giveaway! SHADOW FALL by Laura Griffin (Tracers #9)

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SHADOW FALL
Tracers #9
Laura Griffin
Releasing Sept 22nd, 2015
Pocket Books

 

In the ninth romantic suspense novel in the New York Times bestselling Tracers series, author Laura Griffin brings back her elite cadre of forensic experts as they hunt down the most brutal serial killer yet.
Special Agent Tara Rushing arrives at a grisly murder scene and quickly discovers she’s got a serial killer on her hands. The killer is meticulous, making sure to wipe up even the smallest
traces of evidence…but the Delphi Center experts are on the case.
The local sheriff has a suspect all picked out—ex-Marine and current security expert Liam Wolfe. Despite all her digging, Tara knows very little about Liam when she shows up at his sprawling Texas compound, which serves as headquarters for Wolfe Security, and she’s surprised by her intense physical reaction to him.
As she and Liam grow closer, Tara finds herself depending on his skills and expertise to help her track a killer.
But when another body turns up, Tara must decide if she can trust the man who’s quickly stealing her heart.
The ninth novel in the Tracers series that combines gripping plot twists with spine-tingling romance, Shadow Fall once again proves that “Laura Griffin gets better with each book” (The Romance Reviews).

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Tara looked out the window again and realized her pulse was still thrumming. He unnerved her. It wasn’t just his size, it was his attitude. Maybe she was self-conscious because he’d caught her off guard. She was definitely embarrassed that she’d pulled her weapon on him.

She adjusted the vent and got a waft of hot air. His attitude bothered her, but she liked his truck. It smelled like leather and earth and felt deliciously warm. She forced herself to ignore the flutter of nerves generated by being alone in the dark with him. The nerves weren’t from fear but something else. And she wondered which was worse, being afraid of a man she was investigating or being attracted to him?

“You shouldn’t come out here alone.”

She looked at him. “Why not?”

“We’ve got more than a few meth heads around here. You don’t want to walk up on something, not without backup.”

She watched his face in the dimness, uneasy with the protective tone of his voice.

“We confirmed the ID today,” she said.

“I know.”

That ticked her off.

“Won’t be long till the media has it,” he added.

“Where are you getting your information?”

He didn’t answer.

“And the other day,” she said, “how’d you know we were here, me and M.J.? Are you having us tailed?”

Even if he was, he’d probably never admit it. But she at least needed to ask and get his reaction. Shadowing investigators could definitely be considered suspicious behavior.

Although she had to be honest with herself. She didn’t consider him a real suspect. Despite his links to the victim, she simply didn’t feel it.

“I’m guessing you filmed us approaching your property and ran my plate,” she said.

The corner of his mouth lifted. “Nothing that cloak-and- dagger.” He glanced at her. “I’m friends with Crystal.”

“Who’s Crystal?”

“She waited on you at the Waffle Stop. Bright red hair, eyebrow ring.”

She turned to face the window. “Small-town grapevine. And here I’ve been all impressed with your spying abilities.”

“You should be.” He pulled up to her Explorer and parked. “We’re the best there is.”

She looked at him in the darkness, so confident it bordered on arrogance. And the crazy thing was she believed him. She bought into it completely—he was that good.

His eyes locked on hers, and the air between them felt charged with electricity. His gaze dropped to her mouth, and her heart skittered. Was he going to kiss her? He eased closer, watching her, making her heart pound.

 

Review-Banner

Such a well-written suspense, with an absolutely delicious romance!

In Shadow Fall, FBI Special agent Tara Rushing is sent to rural Texas to solve a murder–a murder that, it soon becomes obvious, isn’t a solitary event but the work of a serial killer. The first chapter actually starts out from the murdered woman’s POV–and cuts off just as we see her recognize her killer and realize what he’s there for…and then we have no idea who “he” is for 95% of the story.

Just awesome!

I loved Tara and Liam. Both have been alone–and seemingly content to stay that way–for quite some time and are thrown for a loop when they meet and feel the immediate attraction. The romance feels like it’s a slow build, though it really isn’t–the entire story takes place over just days, but with the speed that everything else is happening: the body count piling up, the threats to Tara’s life and the suspicion thrown over Liam–the pace of their relationship feels almost leisurely by comparison. By the end I bought into it 100%–it sure didn’t feel like I’d just met them, let alone that they were still virtual strangers anymore.

Ms. Griffin did a great job of showing how difficult it still can be to be a woman in the man’s world that is law enforcement, especially in rural Texas. Tara was a great character, a strong female lead who hides her vulnerability well–though of course not from Liam. He’s able to see beneath the kick-butt special agent exterior to the woman beneath, and even as he’s falling for her (and she’s investigating the possible role he might have in the whole thing!) he’s also respecting the heck out of the job she’s doing and goading her into doing an even better one. I loved that he was the one moving forward in their relationship, while she was the one that was resisting–or trying like heck, anyway–their pull.

He smelled like rain and wet leather. His clothes were freezing. But his lips were warm, and she kissed him back, wishing she didn’t want what he was offering, wishing she didn’t need it, but she did. He’s called her a liar, and he was right. For once in her life, she didn’t want to be alone. She wanted him, and the sharp intensity of it scares her. He smelled so good, and she was so tired of feeling alone all the time. She needed the connection with him, however brief, even if it was only about lust or temptation or pity. She needed it anyway.

So. Good.

I admit I would have liked to know more about some things–more concrete details about Tara’s childhood and why (besides the obvious!) she was so affected by the case she worked just prior to being sent to Cypress County, and who the heck Liam went to visit (and kissed!) when she was tailing him (did he do it on purpose, knowing she was watching?) I’d also love to see more of what’s developing between Liam’s second-in-command Jeremy and MJ, Tara’s partner on this case. Overall, though, this was just one heck of a well-written, suspenseful page turner.

I have no idea why I haven’t read anything in this series–or by Laura Griffin–before, but you’d better believe that this won’t stay my “only” for long! Shadow Fall worked just fine as a standalone–I’m sure if I’d read any of the other series books it would have been great to see characters from them play a part in solving Tara and Liam’s mystery; but now I can look forward to going back and discovering their stories in the future. 🙂

Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A

I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

 

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author LAURA GRIFFIN started her career in journalism before venturing into the world of romantic suspense. She is a two-time RITA Award
winner (for the books Scorched and Whisper of Warning) as well as the recipient of the Daphne du Maurier Award (for Untraceable). Laura currently lives in Austin, where she is working on her next book.

 

 

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