Series Binge: Tracers by Laura Griffin

Sometimes a series finds you and you just can’t stop reading. Laura Griffin’s Tracers series became that for me. Despite some rocky characterizations, Griffin’s series is compelling, fast-paced and grounded in suspense and romance.

So what’s this series all about? While each book in this series can be read independently what binds them all together, other than reappearing characters, is the Delphi Center, a private forensics lab that is used by investigators when they want to get results quickly. Those that work at Delphi are the best-of-the-best, they are the experts in their field. Rather than being boring old scientists, these experts lead very exciting lives, especially when the hunt for the culprit comes a little too close to home. In addition to the science and mystery element, each book has a central romance plot to it. While these romances aren’t always fully developed (hello, crimes to be solved, no time to wine-and-dine), they are always balanced out well with the mystery, in fact, I would argue that the mystery generally comes first.

Now my biggest misgiving about the series speaks specifically to the first three books in the series: Untraceable, Unspeakable, and Unforgivable. In each of these books the heroine comes across as rather weak and quite frankly, stupid. For example, in Unspeakable, Elaina McCord decides to head across the border to Mexico, with no back-up, flashing a bunch of cash and asking pointed questions about drugs. Hmm. Can’t say that I was shocked that she ran into trouble. This woman is a trained FBI agent. I am completely baffled that an educated, and highly trained woman would make this decision. Seriously. Thank goodness the hero, Troy, magically appears to rescue Elaina. Yup, that’s another thing that bothers me. The hero is always rescuing the heroine of the hour, and the heroine is always making questionable calls that leads them into danger. Sigh.

Thankfully, this rather dubious pattern more-or-less resolves itself by the fourth book. After book three, the writing becomes much stronger, the mystery more compelling, and the actions of it’s heroines less questionable. Twisted in particular was good read since it’s rookie detective, Allison Doyle, actively searches out assistance from experts, because, you know, she is a rookie and doesn’t know everything.

For me, Twisted marked a much needed shift in the Tracers series. I have no problem with formulaic reads; that’s often why I’m reading them – I want to pick up something and be guaranteed a happy ending. What I did have a problem with is the characterization of weak women that is evident in the first three books. The heroines of the first three books just didn’t seem to make logical choices, considering their background in law enforcement. I can only hope that this continues throughout the series.

For romantic suspense fans, Laura Griffin’s series is a winner. If you like your romance coupled with science, suspense and folks with interesting careers, Tracers is a series that is sure to keep you invested. Bonus points for the fact that nine books are already out, so you too can binge read.

My question then becomes: what do I read next? Romantic-suspense isn’t a genre that I’ve read much of in the past few years so I feel like I am out of the loop on new and upcoming authors. I’m looking for recommendations, hit the comments if you’ve got a follow-up read!

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