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Wednesday, July 3, 2013

ARC Review: Exposed by Laura Griffin

I’ve been an avid fan of Laura Griffin’s Tracers romantic suspense series from book #1 and have yet to come away disappointed. The series—a set of loosely connected books centered around a state-of-the-art forensics laboratory (the Delphi Centre) and the experts who work there to help law enforcement agencies solve crimes—boasts some of the best straight-up romantic suspense I have read in years: a perfect balance between the romance and the suspense, edge-of-your-seat action that will keep you turning the pages to see what happens next, well-developed and memorable characters (both the protagonists and the recurring cast of Delphi characters that show up), and heinous villains, all wrapped up in tight, straightforward writing that packs quite the punch. EXPOSED is the seventh entry in the series (though it can easily be read as a standalone) and is another excellent addition that delivers everything I have come to expect in a Laura Griffin novel.

Madeline (Maddie) Callahan is a forensic photographer working as a CSI for the Delphi Centre who also moonlights as a wedding/portrait photographer. Her career choice, and much of her motivation and emotional baggage as a character, stems from the tragic loss of her two-year-old daughter in an unsolved hit-and-run several years ago, which has left her merely existing rather than living, determined to help solve as many cases as possible, and closed off from everyone—especially potential romantic entanglements. Enter rookie FBI Special Agent Brian Beckman, smart, gorgeous, sure of himself and what he wants without being cocky, and incredibly sweet. The attraction between the two of them sizzles, but Maddie’s walls and her reservations about getting involved with a younger man make the development of the relationship a slow and realistic build. The relationship dynamics are a bit unusual because Maddie is the one with the baggage and throwing up roadblocks whilst Brian is incredibly well adjusted and sure that he wants everything with Maddie, but they work perfectly together: he understands her well enough to know when to give her space and when to push back when she tries to push him away, and she’s everything he’s ever wanted. The way he breaks down her defenses and makes her live rather than exist will have you wishing for a Brian of your own. Maddie’s hang-up about Brian being younger may seem a bit ridiculous but does have a believable explanation, though I was somewhat tempted to shake some sense into her—Brian is seriously perfect book boyfriend material!

The suspense starts in the opening pages with Maddie being mugged after a photo shoot near the site of the kidnapping of a federal witness and doesn’t let up until the very end. Kidnapping, drug trafficking, murder, corruption—EXPOSED has it all, and it is impeccably paced and the perfect backdrop for Maddie and Brian’s blossoming relationship. I found myself sneaking additional chapters because I simply could not wait to find out what they uncovered next in the case and how the villain would get his comeuppance. And to catch up with the characters from previous books and meet new ones—in addition to creating believable and relatable protagonists, Laura Griffin excels at crafting memorable secondary characters.

Highly recommended for existing fans of the Tracers series and of romantic suspense. And if you’ve never read a romantic suspense novel, this entire series is a great gateway to the genre. I'm already impatiently awaiting the next book!

**ARC provided by Publisher**

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository |


  1. Oh NO! Another new author, and another series I will HAVE TO ADD to my TBR list!

    I love romantic suspense novels. And I enjoy watching CSI on TV. {In a role playing exercise in college criminal justice class, I got to be the forenic witness -- loved forenics ever since}.