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Teen action adventure with heart

  • Apr 11, 2013

Told in first person, Untraceable by S. R. Johannes follows a girl with plenty of backcountry knowledge as she tries to find some trace of her missing father. Refusing to accept his death, she’s made herself the bane of school, psychologists, local cops and even her best friend Wyn, but Grace is not one to give up easily. Chapter headings remind her, and the reader, of the skills she’ll need (and sometimes forgets). A fine motorbike called Lucifer carries her deep into hidden terrain. A gentle stranger with an odd cross between English and Australian accents offers help. And a thoroughly convincing Indian friend keeps a wary eye on her.
Small town America is changing and new money’s needed to keep the jobs flowing. But the wilderness and its rules give Grace an anchor, even as her father’s comforting presence is torn from her. Pleasingly independent, entertainingly careless, enjoyable introspective and convincingly determined, Grace winds through action, mystery, fly-fishing lessons and more, learns about guns (I’ll have to take the author’s word on the details), watches her beloved bears, agonizes over conflicting emotions of friendship and romance, and refuses to give up.
There’s plenty of action, lots of surprises, no happy-ever-afters and just the right touch of promise in this book. First in series, with a storyline that ends in the promise of more to come,  I enjoyed it as a fine stand-alone, young adult adventure with great heroine and enjoyably different structure and real-world premise.
Disclosure: The author kindly gave me a free ecopy as she celebrated her latest book launch.

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About the reviewer
Sheila Deeth ()
Ranked #41
Sheila Deeth's first novel, Divide by Zero, has just been released in print and ebook formats. Find it on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, etc. Her spiritual speculative novellas can be found at … more
About this product


"Grace is a spunky, independent, nature girl who doesn't need a boy to save her. With wilderness survival, a juicy love triangle, and more twists and turns than a roller coaster, this fast-paced novel had me holding my breath until the very last page!" - Kimberly Derting (author of the popular Body Finder series) 

2009 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Quarterfinalist  - Judge Review:

"This story starts out with a bang...and had the ring of a young person's style and intensity. Authentic representation of ...action. Original in premise and style, and good use of background...Good story!" 
Sue Grafton, author of bestselling Kinsey Milhone series

"This thrilling story is a dramatic entanglement of mystery, deception and teen romance.  The action flows like a brisk mountain stream interspersed with rapids, holding suspense to last page."- Kirkus Review 

2009 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Quarterfinalist  - Judge Review:
"This murder mystery features a teenaged heroine... The prose is very descriptive...and the dialogue is genuine. The setting of small town ...and surrounding woods is appealing. The story moves along at a brisk clip..."Sue Monk Kidd, author of Secret Life of Bees 

"Johannes has done a marvelous job of creating a suspense-filled mystery with surprises that keep you guessing all the way to the end. Untraceable is a thoroughly engrossing and riveting page-turner." - Indie ...
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