At Close Range (Tracers #11) by Laura Griffin (Amazon link)
Rating: Very Good
Description: When a lakeside tryst ends in a double murder, police detective Daniele Harper arrives on the scene determined to get answers. Clues are everywhere, but nothing adds up. Dani turns to the Delphi Center crime lab for help, but soon regrets it when her secret attraction to their chief firearms examiner threatens to distract her from the most important case of her career.
As a ballistics expert and former Navy SEAL, Scott Black knows firearms, and he knows he can help Dani unravel her case. Scott has managed to hide his interest in his best friend’s younger sister for years, but when her investigation brings them together, the sparks between them quickly get out of control. Scott resolves to keep his hands off Dani and his eyes on the goal—identifying a killer. But when that killer zeroes in on Dani, all bets are off. There isn’t a line Scott won’t cross to convince Dani to trust him so that he can help her take down a ruthless murderer who has her in his sights.
Genre: Mystery - Romantic Suspense
Why I Picked This Book: I love romantic suspense and really enjoyed the previous book in this series - Deep Dark.
My Impression: I love romantic suspense but it's one of those genres that I'm the most picky about. I like for the suspense to be the focus of the story and the mystery itself to make sense but I want the romance to work as well. I can handle insta-love in small doses but I have to believe that the couple works as an actual couple to be satisfied with the book. Griffin delivers on all counts.
The mystery is creepy with lots of secrets and twists and turns. I really didn't know what was going to happen for a large part of the book but the plot didn't feel contrived. It really felt like I was watching the investigation unravel. It kind of reminded me of early Patricia Cornwall but with more stable characters and not as much autopsy stuff. I was pulled in right to the end and it was one of those books I kept wanting to sneak off and read just a few more pages of!
The romance was a little weaker for me but mostly because both Dani and Scott are super prickly and neither want to admit that there might be something going on between them. I wanted to tell them both to just knock off the bickering and talk to each other. However, because the mystery is at the forefront of the story the tension between the two never felt like it took over the book. I loved Dani. She's smart and a good detective but is definitely struggling with suddenly being lead in a high profile murder case. I liked how aware she was of the pressure and how conscious she is of her decisions. It felt very true to me.
Don't let the fact that this is #11 in the series scare you off. The only connection between this book and the rest of the books is that someone in each book works for the Delphi Center. This is my 2nd book in the series (first was #10) and they really read like total stand alones. If you enjoy romantic suspense or a good mystery and don't mind a bit of romance thrown in this is a fantastic read!
Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: Absolutely! I'm so excited that she has such a huge back list that I can catch up on and I'll definitely be on the lookout for her next book!
Would I Recommend this Book?: Definitely! If you enjoy romantic suspense heavy on the suspense you must read this book!