Without a Trace – Mari Hannah

It is one of those books that you do judge by the cover. And the cover tells you it is another run-of-the-mill thriller. Now, it can be one of the better ones providing a few hours of escapism, or it can be a mediocre one that will steal a few hours from you in a painful way. The thrill here is that you won’t know until you try. But at least you know not to expect anything more.

A few weeks ago it was my birthday, I have it all nicely planned so that it’s not too close to Christmas and I get two sets of gifts in December ;). One of my friends bought me a booklovers dream: a bookish advent calendar! It is a mix of books, sweet treats, and bookish accessories. This was the first book I opened from the calendar. And since I’ve been struggling with reading over the November and December weeks I decided a good thriller or crime might be exactly what the doctor ordered.

The premise is quite interesting. A plane flying from London to New York vanishes into thin air somewhere over the ocean, before reaching its destination. Our detective is DCI Kate Daniels, and the main problem is that the love of her life was on that plane. So she races from Northumbria down to London to push her way into the center of the investigation. Along with her for the ride is the faithful sidekick, how else?

And then we have everything we could expect, and that would not be a bad thing. It is part of the charm of such books that there are really only a few ways things can resolve. Which is great because it provides this sense of safety that is needed to properly enjoy a thriller. What was the problem here is the whole emotional turmoil Daniels goes through, and not even that, for that would be understandable, but the way it is described. 

If we took descriptions of Daniel’s behavior at face value she should have been dismissed from the police ages ago. Not only is she a serial rule-breaker but also a deeply mentally unstable individual. Completely immature and beyond controlling any of her impulses. So there goes any shred of believability. 

We follow Daniels on her erratic search and watch her sidekick being endlessly patient, not to mention her boss. Clearly, both of them expect some sign of brilliance, otherwise, there is no way to justify them cutting her slack all the time. But on the other hand, the author wants to have some believability, so we don’t get brilliance only hard work, interspersed with emotional outbursts and random drinking or raging. 

For good measure, we get US agencies thrown into the mix, as one would expect with a plane flying to New York. Also, they provide an opportunity to add a bit of an American-style thriller here as well.

And a cherry on the cake, the good villain. And of course, the good villain saves the day. Sadly not the book. It’s been one of the weaker run-of-the-mill thrillers I’ve read. Just to add it is the seventh book in a series, maybe others are better. One would hope if it got all the way to seven and eight.

Photo by Violetta Kaszubowska

One thought on “Without a Trace – Mari Hannah

  1. Pingback: The Catch – T. M. Logan – bookskeptic.com

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