Leave No Trace – Sara Driscoll

FBI Meg Jennings and her partner Brian Foster, along with their dogs Hawk & Lacey, return once more as the FBI is called to assist with some murders in northwestern Georgia. Members of the elite ‘Human Scent Evidence Team’, their services are often requested for tracking in extreme circumstances, such as the Georgia Blue Ridge area. Arriving on the scene of the crime, the team learns that a Georgia State Trooper is the latest victim in a bizarre set of murders – each man killed with the single shot of an arrow from a bowhunter. In each case, there’s been no witness, and other than the arrow, no evidence. 

From the arrow, Hawk & Lacey pick up a scent and head into the woods with their handlers only to lose it after a while, as too much time has elapsed between the killing and their arrival at the scene, but not without a chance encounter with the local wildlife.  Back at the Blue Ridge PD, the team learns of a connection between the two men killed – both had links to a planned project in Blue Ridge – the building of the Copperhill Dam, which hopes to generate power and manage flooding that comes with climate change  The towns involved are in conflict regarding the construction, with some at risk of losing their homes and land as a result. 

When a third victim is killed the same way, the team re-deploys to the area, with the intent of remaining on scene to catch a killer But very quickly, the hunters become hunted with the team becoming separated after an arrow meant for Meg nearly finds it’s mark, leaving her lost and injured in the wilderness with only Hawk for protection. Meanwhile, Brian and Lacey encounter dangers of their own as they try to call for help and mobilize a search. 

Meanwhile, a killer is free to hunt again…and it will take the combined efforts of the local PD, the FBI and a profile from Quantico’s infamous BAU to find and bring this killer to justice…

This was a GREAT read, and one I couldn’t put down. Though fiction, this novel is set in real places, with geography and bodies of water as described. Additionally, each chapter header involves a snippet of Cherokee history, and how the Indians were forced from their land by the US Government via the now infamous Trail of Tears.  As a fairly new transplant to the deep southeast, I was equally fascinated and troubled by this sad piece of history. 

I give deep thanks to Netgalley & Kensington books for the opportunity to read and review this book and for the addition of another author to my ‘MUST READ’ list!!  Give it a try – you will NOT be disappointed! 

(I received this book as an Advance Reader Copy from Netgalley, in exchange for an objective review.) 

Breathe Your Last – Lisa Regan

Josie Quinn is back in her newest adventure, and honestly, I think this is one of the best yet! 

Detective Josie Quinn is headed to see her brother on campus at Denton University, wearing a bright pink uniform shirt (formerly white!), courtesy of a new red t-shirt her brother left in her washing machine. She’s also taking young Harris and his mother Misty to drop Harris off for his first day of preschool, and to assess the safety of the environment herself. After a quick meet and greet, Josie heads off to the campus gymnasium where Patrick is working.  

As she jokingly berates Patrick for pink shirt fiasco, she suddenly spots a young female floating face down in the pool water. As they bring the body poolside and attempt CPR, Josie is already in cop mode, and soon her colleagues and campus police arrive on scene. The building security identifies the deceased as Nysa, the star of the collegiate swim team. But how does a star swimmer drown?  

As Josie and her team begin to interview Nysa’s teammates and friends, they also begin to trace her steps, and learn from her roommate that Nysa hadn’t come home the night before. Josie, by chance, finds her backpack tossed in the woods, which yields few clues. The medical examiner confirms death by drowning in an otherwise healthy individual, and the only finding was chocolate in Nysa’s stomach. That finding, along with a bag tucked into Nysa’s backpack that contained crumbs, has Josie wondering…

The next day, Josie chances upon a fully involved house fire and stops to assist, narrowly escaping injury as she rescues a young child. The homeowner is a local celebrity and newly retired firefighter. As Josei interviews the young child, she gets a chill when the child tells her that her grandfather started the fire intentionally while chanting, ‘I am the match’.  

As the investigation goes into high gear, a couple of other puzzling events occur, one involving a fellow officer. Josie also learns of a college prank that happened in the past, where a student claimed to be able to control his victims by command, with video’s being emailed to persons on campus. Sensing a connection, Josie and her team dig deep, not realizing just how close to a loved one the killer may be…

I have to say, Lisa Regan and her Josie Quinn character were Netgalley.com finds for me, and I have LOVED every book that I’ve read! Josie and her group are spirited, strong characters, with background stories that evolve as the series goes on. While each can be read as a standalone, the storylines all come together nicely when read as a series. Great mysteries, fast paced, action packed – I can’t wait to get discover the protagonist, but yet I hate when the last page is turned!!  

I received this book as an Advance Reader Copy from Netgalley, in exchange for an objective review.  Do you love to read?? Visit netgalley.com, create your profile, and start reviewing books today!!