Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Without a Trace by RJ Scott Blog Tour

When long-buried secrets are exposed, and the search for truth becomes a race to save a life, how can two men ever hope to find real love?

Losing his brother has shaped Drew to become the man he is today—heartbroken, alone, but determined to make a difference in the world. Joining the military, fighting battles in places that he’s never even heard of, is his attempt to make amends for telling his brother to go to hell. After his brother disappeared, he’d clung to the hope Casey was out there living his life. Of course, he’d be furious at Drew, and probably hate his brother, but at least in Drew’s head, Casey was safe.

One call changes everything. Casey’s body has been found, and the hope that had fueled Drew’s constant search for the truth is destroyed. Coming home to Lancaster Falls to bury his brother and face his mom’s anguish and accusations, is a nightmare made real, and he has nowhere to run from the pain.

Logan has made a home in Lancaster Falls. As a police officer, he plays by the rules, and he would never think of working off-the-grid. All that changes when an anonymous tip crosses his desk, and he is thrust headlong into solving a hundred-year mystery that could be connected with the modern day death of Casey McGuire. Fighting an attraction to Casey’s brother is hard enough, but the infuriating man is there at Logan’s every turn, interfering with the case, breaking the rules, and demanding that Casey’s story be heard.

Add to Goodreads –

Book 2
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
~  Also Available with KindleUnlimited  ~

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

I'd been desperate to get my hands on this book. Without a Trace is the second installment in the Lancaster Falls trilogy. The mystery that commenced in book one continues in Without A Trace, but this story is told from the point of view of Drew, whose brother was killed, and Logan, a local cop investigating the murder.

Drew has returned to Lancaster Falls after the remains of his brother Casey, who disappeared 12 years earlier, were discovered, along with other remains. Drew is angry and determined to discover who killed is brother. He proceeds to start his own investigation and ask questions around town, which stirs up trouble.

Logan, a cop investigating Casey's death, keeps crossing paths with Drew. The chemistry between them is hot and their romance is a sizzling, slow burn. They are a great match and a case of opposites attracting. Logan is quiet, steady, and follows the rules while Drew ignores the rules to get what he wants. On the mystery side of things, more clues are uncovered and we slowly start to realise who might be involved in Casey's death.

By the time the story is finished, while we have some answers there are still many more questions. The third and final installment in this series, All the Remains, cannot come out fast enough. This story gets five amazing stars from me.

This is the second book in the series – and I have to admit that having read the previous one when it first came out, I did take a little while to get back into the underlying story. You most definitely need to read them in order, and ideally together. I am writing this assuming that you are up to date!

Drew left Lancaster Falls, devastated that his brother Casey had vanished. Now that Casey's bones have been found, he rushes back from his military life to find out what really happened. He hasn't been back once, and much has changed, but at the same time very little. He is angry, wants answers, and used to being part of the action, he struggles to behave like a civilian.

I loved how he and his mother manage their reunion, and how we see them reconcile the hurt and the distance. As awful as the grief is at Casey's death, it also enables them to mourn him rather than live in uncertainty and hope. It is well written and moving without ever being sentimental. In fact, I would say that stoicism and a degree of anger remains throughout the book, which makes it an intense read a lot of the time.

As we get the story from the viewpoint of both Drew and Logan, an ex-Ranger who has worked in the PD for the last two years, we benefit from the newcomer and the desperate brother giving us their take on the relationships and interactions in the town. The fact that they are also battling a strong attraction to each other, incapable of resisting it, yet also not in a place that it makes sense to get close. There is some confusion as to whether they need it to avoid what is happening in the investigation, or whether it is in spite of it, but it gives an interesting edge to the situation and also gives us hope that Drew will be able to view his life differently and more peacefully in the future.

There is another book to come, so it is no surprise that there is a bit of a cliffhanger, but it is not in relation to the men, so feels less stressful than last time!

3.5 stars

The second book in this series is a slower and slightly less atmospheric follow up to the first. This time, the focus of the book has shifted from the sheriff to Logan, his deputy, and Drew, who returns to Lancaster Falls after his brother’s remains are found.

I really enjoyed Drew and Logan as lead characters. A special ops soldier, Drew’s mental and emotional health is fragile before he learns of his brother’s death. Drew’s initial response is violent and emotional, but he becomes a more effective investigator as he learns to channel his rage more appropriately. Logan is a calming force for Drew and his own military experience helps him understand Drew’s mindset. Most of the focus of the story is on the dynamics between the two men, with less time spent on the actual investigation than in the first book. There is great chemistry and a few hot scenes between Drew and Logan but I’m not sure this works as an actual romance novel and their path to a future happily ever after isn’t completely clear.

The investigation drags somewhat in this story. There isn’t any sort of progress until near the end of the book and I didn’t enjoy the way the characters go round and round in circles without anything actually happening. I like to keep up with the investigation in a crime story, but I hate it when the answers are too easy. In this book, I guessed part of the ending far too early and I’m pretty sure I’ve already guessed most of the ending of the trilogy. While the story slowly builds the personalities and characters of the citizens of Lancaster Falls, the baddies are a little bit too obvious by the end of this story.

I will admit that I struggled with the explosive and completely implausible last scenes in this book. What starts as a subtle, atmospheric crime story becomes over-the-top melodrama for several pages that don’t necessarily make sense for the characters involved based on previous actions and interactions.

I will read the third book in this series because I want the closure but I really didn’t enjoy this book as much as the first one. Hopefully the third book impresses me more.

Also Available in the Lancaster Falls Trilogy

Book 1
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
~  Also Available with KindleUnlimited  ~

For reviews & more info, check out our stop on the What Lies Beneath Blog Tour.

USA Today bestselling author RJ Scott writes stories with a heart of romance, a troubled road to reach happiness, and most importantly, a happily ever after.

RJ Scott is the author of over one hundred romance books, writing emotional stories of complicated characters, cowboys, millionaire, princes, and the men who get mixed up in their lives. RJ is known for writing books that always end with a happy ever after. She lives just outside London and spends every waking minute she isn’t with family either reading or writing.

The last time she had a week’s break from writing she didn’t like it one little bit, and she has yet to meet a bottle of wine she couldn’t defeat.

She’s always thrilled to hear from readers, bloggers and other writers.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Without a Trace (Lancaster Falls Trilogy #2) by RJ Scott to read and review for this tour.

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