Spunky sixteen-year old Grace Wells is the daughter of wildlife enforcement officer, Joe Wells, who disappeared in the woods three months earlier on a normal work day. The local authorities want to close the case, so Grace steps up her search.
Grace does her best to stay focused on the search and maintain her tough tomboy ways. This is getting to be a little difficult in light of the two romantic interests in her life – Wyn, who works at the police station, and Mo, the stranger she meets in the woods. Also Grace’s disconnected mother, Grace’s shrink (aptly named Dr. Head) and the town also think her father is dead. But Grace won’t give up looking for clues to his whereabouts using all the survival skills he has taught her. When Graces finds clues of strange activities, she digs deeper and uncovers the reason why her father went missing. The only trouble now is she doesn’t know whom to turn to for help.
Author S.R. Johannes begins her novel with a quotation by Ernest Hemingway: “Courage is just grace under pressure.” This introduces the heroine Grace Wells and her imposing quest. Despite a couple of typos, Johannes’ writing is crisp and sensual, dramatically conveys Grace’s perseverance, instinct and innate sense of survival as she moves through the woods. Johannes also builds the tension and twists the plot continuously, effectively capturing and contrasting life in a small town wracked by economic hardship and the laws of nature in the wilderness.
Johannes has done a marvelous job of creating a suspense-filled mystery with surprises that keep you guessing all the way to the end. Untraceable is a thoroughly engrossing and riveting page-turner.
Reviewed by Maya Fleischmann for IndieReader