One of Nora Roberts' most dynamic family creations is the O'Hurley family. Frank and Mary O'Hurley are the parents of very talented children and the stage is their home - they are traveling musicians/singers/dancers and go from performance to performance. Frank and Mary's first born is Trace, who plays the piano for the family act while his sisters, mother, and father dance and sing. IN the family chronology, after Trace came a set of triplets: Chantel, Abigail and Maddy. Chantel's story was told in Skin Deep, Abigail's story was narrated in The Last Honest Woman and Maddy's story was recounted in Dance to the Piper. In Without a Trace we finally get to learn about the brother of this group - the quiet one who left the family act and seemed to disappear off the face of the earth.
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...