Review: Tracefinder: Contact (Tracefinder, #1) by Kaje Harper

What could an undercover cop and a drug lord’s pet psychic have in common?

Brian Kerr has spent years hiding behind a façade of mental slowness. His brother and sister got all three of them off the streets and into a cushy life, under the protection of a dangerous criminal. But to keep that safety, Brian has to use his Finding talent to track down the boss’s enemies. Although he pretends not to know what he’s really doing, each Find takes its toll, and he’s trapped in a life he hates, losing touch with his true self.

Nick Rugo’s job is to protect and serve the people of Minneapolis as an undercover cop. He isn’t closeted, but he isn’t out at work, and there’s a wild, angry side to him that he’s managed to keep hidden until now. When he’s assigned to bring Brian’s boss to justice, he intends to use anything and anyone it takes to do that.

Nick initially sees Brian as a pawn to be played in his case, but he keeps getting glimpses of a different man behind the slow, simpleminded mask. As the two men get to know each other, it becomes clear they share secrets, some of which might get them both killed.

A badly written short story can sometimes feel like the longest tome on Earth. Books that haven't been 'for me' can become almost painful to read. I have the complete opposite problem with Kaje Harper's work. It is no secret she often writes long stories, yet when I read them they fly past and I often can't believe it when I reach the end. I inevitably want MORE. It was certainly true in this case; this book is the first in a new series and I truly cannot wait to get my hands on the next volume.

Anyone who reads my reviews will know that I often bang on about characters and how important they are to me, in my reading. One thing all my favourite authors have in common is characters that I believe 100% in. Characters who are perfectly imperfect. Ordinary or extraordinary, but never caricatures and rarely cliché. I fell for Brian and Nick. I loved the character of Brian especially, because he was so different to pretty much anyone I've ever read. Between his talent and the parts of him he hides, he is a truly interesting person. The relationship between him and the other characters is fascinating. Each person interacts and reacts differently with/to him. I particularly found the dynamics between Brian and his siblings interesting. The good and the bad, and just how he was both used and protected by them

Nick was really the first person to glimpse the real Brian and how Kaje Harper wrote this was brilliant. She's very careful with her words; with how she pens interactions and revelations. Not a thing is there for the sake of being there. Everything feels genuine and not a badly construed plot device. Perhaps this is what I enjoy most about her writing. Nick could have been that clichéd undercover-closeted-jaded cop. But he wasn't. Sure, he was all those things (well, partly closeted), but not in a pick a characteristic from columns A, B and C to create your character way. I liked that he struggled all the way through to do what is right (as defined by the law and his job) and what is right (defined by his sense of self, beliefs, convictions and morals). Whether we like it or not, that is life. Rarely is anything as clean cut as we would probably all wish it could be. It's not like children's fairy tales where the good are inherently good and the bad just plain evil. Nick is an instinctual person, yet he often questions his own choices. I really liked him.

In a story that twisted and turned; a crime thriller with a paranormal twist, Tracefinder kept me glued to its pages, speed reading my way to the conclusion and then feeling decidedly deflated that I read so quick because it's a new release and I'm going to have to wait for the sequel. Kaje Harper is an auto-read author for me. I don't read the blurb, I see her name and I know I'll like it. She writes in many different sub-genres, and I've yet to find a book she doesn't absolutely win at writing. I would highly recommend this story.

For more information see Goodreads.
A copy of this book was given in exchange for an honest review.

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