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by Gregg Main
Ellen has murder on her mind: an untraceable act of retribution for a horror that shattered her family and her childhood. After years of quietly searching, the time for action has arrived. Leaving her unwitting husband, Pete, she vanishes without a trace, taking to the road in pursuit of a man called Walker—a killer who can lead her to the evil prey she seeks.
With the slimmest of clues, a confused and desperate Pete begins to trace Ellen’s path. As he pieces together the truth behind his wife’s disappearance, he realizes that his ignorance of Ellen’s secrets has not only jeopardized their marriage, but may also cost the woman he loves her life. Certain of nothing but the need to find her, Pete crisscrosses the country in a harrowing race against the clock that ends in a brutal, fiery confrontation on a desert mountain top—a stunnning shocker that will leave you guessing until the very end.
From Publishers Weekly
An otherwise predictable story of revenge gone awry is redeemed, in L.A. screenwriter Main’s debut thriller, through his creation of the memorable character of a 63-year-old paroled murderer. Thirty years before the novel’s beginning, Franklin Walker and another man killed Ellen Donelly’s father during a robbery, a crime that the five-year-old girl witnessed. Now, bent on vengeance, Ellen leaves her husband, Pete, and their Dallas home one day without explanation. She flies to L.A., where Walker has been living since his parole, confronts him with a gun and demands the identity of the man who did the actual shooting and was never caught. Walker, a crusty old con who reads self-help books and keeps a tight rein on his feelings, manages to turn the tables and take Ellen prisoner. Meanwhile, back in Dallas, Pete does some digging in Ellen’s computer and discovers that she and her recently deceased mother had been planning their revenge for many years. Helped by a family friend and an L.A. private eye who lives in a retirement home, Pete picks up Ellen’s trail just as she and Walker move on toward New Mexico and a rendezvous with the killer. Unfortunately, neither Pete nor Ellen are more than one-dimensional pawns on Main’s chessboard; in particular, Ellen’s decision not to confide in Pete is built on a flimsy reason. Yet readers will take pleasure in observing Walker’s metamorphosis from wary survivor to positive action-taker, and Main’s ability to craft swift, highly charged scenes keeps the narrative moving briskly.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
When Ellen Donnelly was three years old, her father was murdered after walking in on an apparent robbery, an experience from which Ellen has never recovered. While the accomplice spends 30 years in jail, the identity of the gunman remains a mystery. Every Trace, Main’s first novel, begins when Ellen decides to confront the accomplice, now in his 60s and working at an adult video warehouse. Alone, Ellen plans to learn the identity of the gunman and, as an act of revenge, murder both men. When Ellen’s plan goes terribly awry, it is up to her husband, Pete, to untangle Ellen’s carefully concealed plan. This abridgment flows well, except for the few spots where Pete appears to be hit with sudden insight. The action takes place in Dallas, Los Angeles, and rural New Mexico, but Fee Waybill’s reading barely hints at regional accents. In fact, the characters’ voices sound essentially the same, which leads to confusion in scenes that rely heavily on dialog. Although somewhat predictable, the mystery takes an unexpected turn or two. Not an essential purchase, but recommended for large mystery collections.AAdrienne Furness, Genesee Community Coll., Batavia, NY
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.