Lead Review

  • Book: Without a Trace
  • Location: Heathrow Airport
  • Author: Mari Hannah

Review Author: Tina Hartas

Location

Content

Some readers may already be familiar with Mari Hannah’s character, DCI Kate Daniels, who is a detective based in Newcastle upon Tyne. She has featured in several of the author’s books and has become quite a familiar figure for regular readers. It is great to see her back in action. This book can be read as a stand alone.

Kate is sassy and independent minded, lives in Jesmond (a suburb of Newcastle) and has just come out of a relationship with her soulmate, Jo Soulsby. Kate, in essence, has been welded to her job and although Jo has a good psychological understanding of their couple relationship, given her training, she cannot reconcile her feelings. She takes off for some headspace, having put an end to the relationship and has booked a trip to the Big Apple. Just for herself.

The novel opens when news of an airline disaster filters in and in no time Kate has worked out that Jo was booked on flight 0113, heading to New York. She is of course beside herself and drops everything to head down to the flight’s originating airport – Heathrow. Her second-in-command Hank Gormley, who is her capable wingman, accompanies her. This naturally is not going to go down well with her superiors but she has a steely drive and inveigles herself into the investigations down South. And yes, she is going to do what it takes to get herself on the inside track. She wants to know more about what brought the plane down and whether she can shed any more light on Jo’s movements, prior to boarding. She has to keep the hope that somehow she wasn’t on the flight. All the evidence points in one direction only…

Kate is a good detective with a nose for the untoward, she is determined to ascertain whether Jo actually took the flight but with her traumatised frame of mind, is she thinking straight? Is she clutching at straws? Hank is there to be the voice of reason.

Meanwhile things are kicking off up North and she realises that there are people who are keeping a very careful eye on her and her actions.

Central to the early investigations is whether Jo checked her suitcase for the flight (Kate discovers that she clearly paid for one piece of luggage on her booking) and thus Kate has a stint working as a baggage handler; the insights into that part of any plane journey are interesting, if not downright sobering! I will never travel with expensive looking luggage, it is of course a magnet for thieves! I will defintielyl ditch my Louis Vuitton travelling gear (hah, as if I could have ever afforded that!).

This is a slow-burning thriller, particularly poignant at this period in our lives when we can’t really travel.

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A story in which the location plays as important a role as the rest of your words.

2,500 word maximum, 750 word minimum

Judges include Victoria Hislop and Rosanna Ley

First Prize of £1,000 / US$1,350

Prizes total £1,750 / US$2,362 

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Entries close 6th November 2021