[I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.] Trace Elements would not be on my renewal list. Kate Donovan's Trace Elements is a book that I wanted to like, I did. In fact, I put off writing about it, so I could ponder it a bit more. But I have to say even though I was really excited about the premise - an actress who portrays a take-no-prisoners FBI agent being consulted on a case by a real FBI hunk - I was just disappointed in the story.
In many ways it is a fun read, but it's almost like Donovan took the television concept a little too seriously and instead of focusing on the plot, I found myself midway through the book wanting to flip channels instead of pages. I don't want to give you the wrong idea. It's not that it's not well-written. It is. The characters are interesting, though pretty predictable. There are enough lingering unaddressed issues to practically guarantee a sequel or two in the Gower and Saxon franchise. But it was if I had planned to curl up with a chocolate bar and instead found myself with only a spoonful of non-fat unflavored yogurt. This book just didn't hit the spot for me.
What troubled me the most was the repeated premise that the actress/lawyer/would-be real FBI agent Nikki Gower could appear in a series with a producer and co-star who knew she hadn't "had any" from the first episode through the 15th (one season) in order to supposedly heighten sexual tension between the actors. Well that just set off the creep factor for me and made me highly doubt her as a character. Sorry, but method acting is one thing, but having people in power have that intimate knowledge and being frightened of repercussions if you do "do it." Ummm, sexual harassment anyone? Creepy, very creepy. This in fact may be a plot point to set the stage for future sequels, but it just sets bells off that if Nikki were in any way "real" should have had her running not walking from that series, producer, and co-star.
And that was the main problem, I never felt like these were real characters or could be real people. It was as if they were written to be watched on television - at several steps removed from reality.
I'd only recommend this book if you'd like a super light read that you don't want to take too seriously. I hate to say this as I have really enjoyed reading other Kate Douglas books (Game of Hearts, for one). She's a really great writer, but somehow just missed the mark, in my opinion, with Trace Elements.
Fab Fantasy Fiction