Title: Tracefinder: Contact (Book 1)
Author: Kaje Harper
Release Date: January 8, 2016
Genre(s): Contemporary, Law Enforcement, Paranormal
Page Count: 518 (printed)
Reviewed by: Kristin
Heat Level: 1 flame out of 5
Rating: 3 stars out of 5
What could an undercover cop and a drug lord’s pet psychic have in common?
Brian Kerr has spent years hiding behind a facade 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
I will admit, I struggled with this Tracefinder about halfway through the book. I lost interest with Nick and his undercover surveillance of Mr. Marston’s world. I lost interest in Bry/Brian as he bounced between the two personalities. I became tired of hearing Bry/Brian’s story of how he, his sister Lori and their brother Damon struggled to stay together as a family unit while their mother struggled with drugs. I became tired of Nick worrying almost exclusively about Bry/Brian when he’s supposed to be an over the road trucker. Something didn’t quite mesh for me with Nick inserting himself quite so easily into Bry/Brian’s world, and I struggled a bit with that too.
So I guess, upon reflection, I got tired of the repetition which may have contributed to why I felt the plot was dragging.
I also had some discomfort with Nick falling for someone like Bry/Brian. There was something about the situation that made me squirm a bit and question the romantic inclinations. As the blurb notes “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.” The issue of Bry/Brian slipping so easily between the two personalities would be a turn-off more than a turn-on, not to mention the whole dysfunctional family both past and present.
The writing is solid – I wouldn’t expect anything less from Kaje Harper. The contemporary paranormal touch with Bry/Brian being able to Find people was interesting. I applauded the way that was written, not as some superhuman or superpower, but a function that totally wipes out Bry/Brian after he uses his talent. It’s an imperfect ability with set limitations. I also liked how Bry/Brian literally sees people as colors and concepts. It was also a nice twist how tightly held he had to keep his talent from everyone, even after he came to trust Nick.
But that talent seem to be lost in a plot arc that came across a bit overreaching – coastal drug factories, fraudulent import/export business, English royalty connections, bombs, bullets, psychics, and general mayhem on top of Bry/Brian’s personality quirks and Nick’s and Brian’s feelings for each other. .
There are a handful of things left unresolved, in my humble opinion. Mayhap those will be answered in following books as I see this is noted as Tracefinder:Contact Book 1. Even with my thoughts above, I would give this series another look.