I love discovering an author. It gives me something to look forward to. You see, the more fantastic authors I have on my list, the less the wait between good books. Ms. Webb has been added to that exclusive list, and I will anxiously await her next book.
Traceless opens after Clint Austin is released on parole from a ten-year stint in prison for the murder of a popular cheerleader. He is innocent of the crime – and deeply bitter – and returns to Pine Bluff, Alabama, determined to clear his name.
The townspeople are angry that Clint was granted parole, and are as determined to make his life as hard as possible with the hopes of sending him back to prison. One of the people deeply affected by his return is Emily Wallace, the victim’s best friend. Emily saw Clint standing over her friend’s dead body, and was the star witness at his trial. At first she is angry at his released, and enraged that he returned to his hometown. He reawakens memories that she has spent the last ten years trying to bury. She wants to make him suffer as much as she has. However, seeing him again is making her question what she really saw that night.
Emily and Clint have a history together. They were both attracted to each other in high school. She was the cliché good girl, and he was from the wrong side of the tracks. But the murder and Emily’s testamony against him drove a wedge between them and now she feels that it is her duty to continue to mete out justice for her dead friend. Seeing Clint, an obviously wounded man, a man she secretly wanted all those years ago, tears her apart.
When they first meet up again, that animosity is still very much there, but deep inside the attraction they have always felt for each other slowly re-emerges. Eventually they begin to work together in order to find the real murderer. The developing romance is strong and intimate. The tension between them is hot, and when they come together I could feel the heat rising off the pages.
Pine Bluff is a town filled with deep, dark, secrets. There are so many characters who could have committed the murder, and they are at once respectable and reprehensible. Ms. Webb does a terrific job with red herrings. I never once guessed the identity of the real murderer, which is the mark of a true mystery.
Traceless grabbed me from page one and held my attention till the very end. It may not have had that special something to bump it into DIK territory, but nonetheless, bravo Ms. Webb!