Title: Skip Trace (Chaos Station #3)
Author: Jenn Burke and Kelly Jensen
Publisher: Carina Press
Release Date: Oct 5, 2015
Genre(s): Science Fiction
Page Count: 211
Reviewed by: Kristin
Heat Level: 2 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.6 stars out of 5
Zander Anatolius has been revived from the fatal effects of the super-soldier program, but now he has to face his estranged family and tell a story few would believe. With his lover and the crew of the Chaos at his side, Zander returns home to a media frenzy, threats from the military and pressure to join the family business.
Felix Ingesson still struggles with the horror of believing Zander dead. And no matter how strong their emotional connection is, Felix feels out of place in the glittery world of Zander’s rich family. His lover would be better off without a broken, low-class ship’s engineer holding him back.
When the crew receives word that another of Zander’s former teammates needs rescue, Felix travels with the Chaos…setting Zander free. But when Zander is arrested for treason, the men realize they need each other as much as ever—not only to survive, but to make their lives worth living.
Skip Trace continues right on the heels of Chaos Station and Lonely Shore. Ness, Qek, Elias, Zander and Flick are heading to the Anatolius home station, to give Zander the opportunity to reunite with and explain to his family his actions since his release from the AEF, his illness, and contact with the Guardians. Though how he’s going to explain that last bit is still a bit of a question.
But things go very wrong even on the highly secure Anatolius station, as the AEF is convinced that Zed is telling military secrets, especially those about Project Dreamweaver. An attempted assassination reveals Zed’s Dreamweaver abilities to the galaxy and further convinces the AEF that Zander is a threat that needs to be silenced.
The sub-plot involves Flick’s insecurities and brings to the front his PTSD from his interment with the Stin. Faced with the wealth and opulence of the Anatolius family, and the family them self as a reminder that Flick lost his to the Stin, Flick succumbs to a self loathing and self destruction spiral that even his ship mates don’t know how to cope with. When Flick abandons Zed on station for altruistic reasons, Zed is blindsided, hurt and utterly crushed as to why his heart walked out on him.
Skip Trace was simply gripping. The plot is well formulated and continues to support the romance between Flick and Zander. Theirs is not an easy romance, there is too much past baggage for it to be smooth sailing, which is something that I appreciate. There are significant issues – AEF, PTSD, loss, fear of the past and future – that they need to learn to voice and discuss, that like with all things in life, relationships take work. And theirs needs a bit more work than most.
What I find as a reader is when I’m emotionally engaged, that defines a good book. And with this series, I totally am.
Final note – I absolutely LOVE the covers of these books! Great composition, colors and scenery. Fantastic. Simply fantastic.