Without a Trace Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Without a Trace

In a small Indiana town, young girls are disappearing, vanishing without a trace. Because there are no bodies, the powers that be don't agree that any crimes have been committed, perhaps they just left home?
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Seasoned police detective, Rex Thomas is not convinced that the girls, all students at the same university with everything going for them, would suddenly just leave without telling anyone and not even taking any clothes or belongings with them.

New cop, Drew Kane is delighted when he is partnered with Det. Thomas and gets to work on the investigation. His delight soon turns to horror when his new girlfriend, Angela, goes missing and her car is left on his driveway in a blaze of flames...

Written by a police officer, Without a Trace has a great sense of realism and some scenes concerning the killer are very uncomfortable to read. You keep wondering if that noise against the window pane was really just a branch scratching the pane or was it fingernails scraping the glass? The book certainly gives you shivers.

It's a fast paced book, with short chapters which encourage you to read on to find out what happens next. The killer when he is finally revealed comes as a big surprise. A few times I thought I'd figured it out, but was wrong on both counts!

Reviewed by Annette Gisby, author of Silent Screams.

The review of this Book prepared by Annette Gisby

Chapter Analysis of Without a Trace

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book descript. of violence and chases 20%Planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 40%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 20%How society works & physical descript. (people, objects, places) 20% Tone of story    -   scarey (primal ax-wielding fear) How difficult to spot villain?    -   Difficult, but some clues given Time/era of story:    -   1980's-1999 What % of story relates directly to the mystery, not the subplot?    -   50% Special suspect?    -   chronically deranged person Murder of certain profession?    -   students/teachers Misc. Murder Plotlets    -   cooped up in spooky house    -   Proving innocence of very obvious suspect    -   Big focus on forensic evidence    -   Killer purposely leaves clues Kind of investigator    -   police procedural, American Kid or adult book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Any non-mystery subplot?    -   feelings towards lover Crime Thriller    -   Yes Murder Mystery (killer unknown)    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   police/lawman Age:    -   20's-30's Ethnicity/Race    -   White/American


United States    -   Yes The US:    -   Midwest Small town?    -   Yes Small town people:    -   nice, like Andy/Opie/Aunt Bee Misc setting    -   prison

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   very gorey references to deaths/dead bodies and torture Explicit sex in book?    -   Yes What kind of sex:    -   vague references    -   descript of kissing    -   touching of anatomy    -   descript. of male nudity    -   rape (yeech!) Unusual forms of death    -   asphyxiation    -   crushed Unusual form of death?    -   Yes Amount of dialog    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

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Tim Miller Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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