Stone Cold Heart (Tracers #13) - Laura Griffin

Stone Cold Heart

by Laura Griffin
Book 13 of Tracers



When local rock climbers stumble upon abandoned human bones in a remote Texas gorge, Sara Lockhart is the first to get the call.  She has a reputation as one of the nation’s top forensic anthropologists, and police detective Nolan Hess knows she is just the expert he needs to help unravel this case.  Although evidence is scarce, Nolan suspects the bones belong to a teenage climber who vanished last summer.

But as Sara unearths strange clues, she finds chilling similarities to a case from her past—a case that now threatens to rock Nolan’s community.  While Sara digs deep for answers, the stakes rise higher as another young woman disappears without a trace. Investigators work against the clock as Sara races to discover the truth, even if her harrowing search brings her face to face with a stone-cold killer.

Stone Cold Heart is another intriguing addition to Laura Griffin's Tracers series, and no matter that the formula always seems similar to a previous book in the series, I'm always excited to get my hands on the next book.  There's just something about the combination of a crime thriller and elements of the forensic investigations that gets me all pumped.  Forensic science is something I studied in college, even if it wasn't my ultimate career path, so books that have any kind of forensic angle are always up my alley.

In this particular case, the main heroine, Sara, is a forensic anthropologist, which makes me doubly excited!  There are also mentions of how Sara's career path having taken her on some missions to help uncover mass graves of massacre victims, which reminded me of one of the books I recently read, The Bone Woman, a memoir by Clea Koff.

Anyway, as I've already mentioned, I always enjoy these particular books by Laura Griffin, and Stone Cold Heart was no exception.

While this book didn't really stand out much, there were some interesting inclusions into the story line that kind of calls out to a few of the modern technologies and services we have in present-day, but putting a rather sinister twist to it.  The book actually opens with a young girl who is out on the town with her cousin, but gets separated from the party.  And while she's heading home, she comes across what can only be implied as an Uber driver, or whatever the fictional equivalent the author was going for, since the name Uber was never mentioned.  But the girl notes a sticker on the windshield, and tells the driver that she didn't call for a ride and doesn't have the app.  She gets in the car anyway when the driver tells her he'll make an exception, and the next thing she knows, she's being abducted.

There's also a scene with a drone, which is tech that I've been seeing a lot more in more recent books.

I don't know why, but those things kind of stood out to me.

The romance wasn't really much to write home about, but it DID come off quite sweet and fairly angst-free, so I found I enjoyed it in it's own quiet, unassuming way.

The crime thriller itself was quite intriguing, and the investigation was outlined well.

I DID take a bit of issue with Sara when she started jumping into the investigation in ways that were clearly outside of her expertise.  I admired her skills and her penchant for technical thinking and problem solving, and I don't mind that she also partakes in discussing the investigation with Nolan, as she is able to bandy some good ideas around with him.  But then she decides to pull a TSTL moment by chasing after potential suspects and I just felt kind of frustrated.

I mean, I'm sure she wouldn't appreciated it if the detective just suddenly decided to jump into her dig site and start digging without any proper training.  So I'm not sure how she could justify chasing after a potentially dangerous suspect (a serial killer nonetheless), unarmed, and without the proper training to keep herself safe if anything unexpected happens... like getting run off the side of a road into woods.

I mean, I thought that it was kind of cook when she just harnessed herself in, grabbed all that climbing gear, and went down the side of the mountain, as the fastest route to the first crime scene at the beginning of the book.  At least we are told that Sara used to climb when she was younger and used to volunteer for Search and Rescue.  She had the proper training for that, while any other person would have just taken the longer trail.

Nonetheless, those few questionable actions weren't enough to deter me from liking her, even if I felt like she could have exercised better judgment in some of her actions in the latter half of the book.

Nolan was a pretty typical romance hero, but he was also charming and sweet in his way.  He didn't exhibit any broody alpha male vibes, and he also didn't throw around any neanderthal tendencies.  So I liked him, even if he didn't really stand out much.

Overall, this was a rather enjoyable read!



Booklikes-opoly 2019

Roll #6:
Square: Mountain Cabin 18 | Read a book that is set west of the Mississippi in the USA, or that was written by an author who comes from that region, or that is considered part of the Western genre.

How it fits:  Book is set in Texas, which is west of the Mississippi.
Page Count:  357
Cash:  $3