Without a Trace Mass Market Paperback – Oct 1 1990
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About the Author
Nora Roberts is the number-one New York Times-bestselling author of more than 190 novels, including The Search, Black Hills, Tribute, High Noon, and many more. She is also the author of the bestselling futuristic suspense series written under the pen name J.D. Robb. Roberts has more than 400 million copies of her books in print. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
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Trace, at odds with his family for a dozen years now and tired of his world-travels and work as a spy, is ready to throw in the towel when he is sought out by Dr. Gillian Fitzpatrick, a scientist whose brother and niece have been kidnapped by a radical terrorist group. He agrees (for a large sum of money) to help Gillian recover her family, but underestimates the bond that he quickly forms with her. Believing for so long that he is not meant to love or be loved, Trace is reluctant to give his heart to someone and even more reluctant to let anyone love him, lest he hurt them the way he did his family.
The terrorist kidnapping plot certainly moves this story along, although some of the details were a bit too easily resolved once the final confrontation is in place. The romance was extremely well-written and believable, and things did not just neatly "fall into place" there -- you knew they would wind up together but it wasn't overly convenient for them to get there, just like real life! The reunion of the O'Hurley's after all is said and done really provides a satisfying end to the "quadrilogy".
Trace and his father had always been at odds with each other and as Trace got older, it was more difficult for him to understand why his father pushed the family the way he did. During one of these heated arguments, Trace walked away from his family only to be heard from infrequently since. Trace struck out on his own and didn't want commitments or responsibilities - he was basically a talented drifter using his musical abilities to provide food and shelter. At a seedy bar in a foreign country, Trace was approached and became a modern day mercenary/spy. Without a Trace picks up at the end of this secret agent type career with Trace trying to figure out where he wants his life to travel next. As fate would have it, into his life walks Gillian Fitzpatrick. Gillian's brother had disappeared under mysterious circumstances and she needs Trace to help her find him. Of course the sexual chemistry is there to add spice to this tale of intrigue.
Nora Roberts deviates from the standard romance genre in Without a Trace and throws a little mystery and suspense into the mix. It's enough to keep the reader interested and results in the book being a "page turner". Some of the plot lines are a little far-fetched but somehow Roberts takes them from a "no way would that happen" to a "well, maybe" type of thinking.
Once again Nora Roberts shows her devoted readers why they should remain diehard fans - the story is one that has wit, humor, romance and excitement. While I was reading the books about the O'Hurley triplets, I often wondered what had happened to Trace, as his sisters were always wistfully thinking about him. And it seemed like he never showed up for the important things in their lives (weddings, births of babies, etc.) but sent word to them instead. If he was able to show up, it was a very special occasion and resulted in much celebration. You could always feel the love this family had for each other, and Trace was always the quiet, mysterious one that the reader never heard much about. Nora Roberts built up the suspense through three previous books before we finally get to learn all about Trace. After reading Without a Trace I can tell you that it was definitely worth the wait! Now maybe Nora Roberts will continue with this family like she has with the MacGregor Clan and tell the tales of the offspring of the O'Hurley siblings. I can always hope...
Trace O'Hurley never enjoyed being in the family business. With a bit of the wanderlust in him and at odds with his father he takes off at 20 and never looks back. Saving a man from being killed during a barroom brawl, Trace is persuaded by the saved man to join an agency similar to the CIA where he will be employed as an undercover agent. But now at 32, trace's friend is dead and though Trace has had his share of adventures to last him a lifetime, he is tired of running and is taking a vacation after a failed assignment. Into his midst walks a physicist, Dr. Gillian Fitzpatrick, a fiery Irish redhead who offers him a great sum of money to find her kidnapped brother and niece. And it didn't take long before I felt I was between the pages of a Robert Ludlum novel with the couple in Casablanca walking down narrow and winding streets filled with danger everywhere. And if this is a Nora Roberts novel, it also doesn't take long before the young couple, first at odds with one another, are falling in love.
While I prefer to read books without a terrorist plot since the news is enough these days, I found this book to be a fast and interesting read and quite a departure from those books I most enjoy by Ms. Roberts. It was also a nice to finally meet up the fourth O'Hurley child even if he was the oldest. But if Nora threw me a curve ball with part of the theme of this book, she more than made up for it with the wonderful ending where there was a poignant reconciliation between Trace, his sisters and his parents. One thing Nora Roberts does so well is family stories and this series is no exception. And then you might ask yourself what becomes of Gillian, and her family?
I guess you'll have to read the book to find out.
Several years ago I finally read my first Nora Roberts book, Born in Fire. Since that time I am slowly making my way through all of her books. While I have a preference for her pure romance books and family sagas like the McGregor series, I often read her romantic suspense books as well. As I often say, a so so romance book by Nora Roberts is usually much better than titles by other romance authors.