#BlogTour- Mari Hannah- Without A Trace

A plane on route from London to New York City has disappeared out of the sky. This breaking news dominates every TV channel, every social media platform, and every waking hour of the Metropolitan Police and US Homeland Security. The love of DCI Kate Daniels’ life was on that aircraft, but she has no authority to investigate. This major disaster is outside of her jurisdiction and she’s ordered to walk away. But Kate can’t let it lie. She has to find out what happened to that plane – even if it means going off book. No one is safe and there are some very dangerous people watching her…

Coming into land is Without A Trace, the newest instalment of Mari Hannah’s always excellent DCI Kate Daniels series with a significant change of pace, and a real ramping up of the emotional intensity…

This very much felt at times like a high octane thriller, with a breathless race against time for Daniels to ascertain whether her former lover, Jo was actually one of the passengers on this ill-fated flight between London and New York. Although, Hannah is always adept at keeping the pace of her normal fare of police procedurals, injecting this plot was an international investigation into a suspected terrorist led air crash, really allows her to stretch her thriller writing skills. This she achieves in spades, and as the investigation progresses, I was fascinated by how this kind of global incident that crosses borders and investigative branches is undertaken and acted upon. By weaving in different teams of investigators from both Britain and the U.S. and with Daniels working on her own agenda, there is a real sense of tension and people working, at times, at cross purposes, which kept up the speed and intensity of the main plot.

Through the books, Daniels is perceived as a strong and steadfast woman and by extension, senior police officer, not known to suffer moments of crisis or real indecision. Consequently, it was extremely interesting to see her being put under an inordinate amount of professional and personal tension in this book, as she defies her superiors and sometimes her better judgement as this case progresses. The bond and fierce protectiveness she still displays for her former lover drives her on, despite the possible costs to her both personally and to her own career, and those who support her in her seemingly hopeless quest. As her second in command, the fiercely loyal DS Hank Gormley observes, ” In the past few days, layer upon layer of the armour she’d put on during her police career had been peeled away, leaving her exposed to the same raw feelings as anyone suffering the loss of a loved one. Stripped of her confidence she was inherently vulnerable,” something we have not seen in her character so far. However, despite this growing sense of vulnerability, we still see the familiar flashes of strength from her, particularly in dealing with obdurate men inside the investigation who are so quick to condemn her for what they perceive as feminine vapours. Daniels continues to outwit them, and add moments of perceptive insight in the course of the air crash investigation, whilst keeping tabs on another case back in the North, which proves to have some interesting connections…

I am always impressed with Hannah’s deliverance of pace and plot, not only in this, her longest running series, but across her other two series too, and although this book feels quite different in style, it further proves her versatility and skill as a writer. Her dialogue and scene setting is fluid and perceptive, and by taking Daniels and us outside our comfort zone a little more in this book, it’s fair to say that Without A Trace is probably one of the strongest books in the series to date. Really enjoyed this one, and cannot wait to see what twisted roads she takes her readers down next. Recommended.

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Multi-award winning Mari Hannah is the author of the Stone & Oliver crime series, the Ryan & O’Neil series and the DCI Kate Daniels series. In July 2010, she won a Northern Writers’ Award for Settled Blood. In 2013, she won the Polari First Book Prize for her debut, The Murder Wall. She was awarded the CWA Dagger in the Library 2017 as the author of the most enjoyed collection of work in libraries. In 2019, she was awarded DIVA Wordsmith of the Year. In that same year, Mari was Programming Chair of the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Festival. She lives in Northumberland with her partner, an former murder detective. To find her or see where she’s appearing, visit her events page at: marihannah.com or follow her on Twitter @mariwriter.

(With thanks to Orion for the ARC)

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