Traces by Patricia Filteau
Reviewed by Jim Napier
Canadian Kate Roarty is a thirty-something private investigator visiting South Africa while working a case. But mindful that all work and no play makes Jill a dull girl, she’s making time for a solo swim off the coast of Cape Town. A veteran competitor, Kate is indulging her passion for long-distance swimming when she finds herself in a life-threatening situation. The wind – and the waves – have picked up. Bad enough, but things are about to get a whole lot worse. What seems to be a small, high-powered motorboat is heading directly toward her and her escort zodiac, the driver ignoring all warnings to stay away. Sensing a collision is imminent, Kate dives beneath the waves for safety. A moment later there is an horrific explosion, and when Kate surfaces there is no sign of any survivors. To make matters worse, the blood in the water means that sharks will be on the scene within moments.
Midway between her departure point and her destination, Kate is wondering which way to strike out when a search-and-rescue helicopter appears on the scene and divers drop down to rescue her. For the moment, at least, Kate Roarty is safe.
Tracing her roots to the Iroquois peoples, Kate is a marathon swimmer and an accomplished PI with a proven track record, but her fierce independence often leads her into trouble. Kate was originally hired by a consortium of companies to resolve the theft of intellectual property rights involving a patented process to extract valuable minerals from mining tailings. When a wealthy businessman who wants to buy Kate’s company is killed she wonders whether his death is tied to her current case. Fast forward to Paris, where Kate is stalked and abducted in broad daylight. Much to her relief her captors turn out to be friendly forces trying to protect her, and before long Kate finds herself on her way to Kazakhstan to check on that country’s use of technology for extracting rare earth minerals. Could someone there be behind the intellectual-property theft?
So begins a fast-paced, engrossing thriller set in 2031. It is a tale that literally spans the globe, moving from Ottawa to South Africa and back to Canada, Paris, London, Kazakhstan, and England before returning to Canada once again for its action-packed climax.
Building on the layered, far-ranging and fast-paced formula made famous in Ian Fleming’s iconic James Bond thrillers, Traces is an ambitious effort by author Patricia Filteau to mark out a distinctive niche in the action-adventure field. Although she could occasionally benefit from a firmer editorial hand, the story moves along at breakneck speed, and readers in search of a gripping tale rooted in corporate intrigue and featuring a plot full of twists and turns will be well satisfied. Fans will find themselves rooting for the headstrong Kate while lamenting the predicaments in which she often finds herself. A sure cure for the weekend doldrums, Traces will provide hours of entertaining escapism.
Traces is published by Bookbaby.