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“Tracefinder: Contact” by Kaje Harper is a m/m paranormal suspense tale that centers around undercover cop Nick Rugo who endeavors to channel his aggressive tendencies into a successful assignment to bring down a drug lord. His unexpected connection with an unusual and apparently handicapped Brian Kerr forces Nick to take a good look at his ethics and morals as well as exposes him to unbelievable situations, some of which may change his life in ways he never dreamed of—not even in his worse nightmares.

I am usually a very big fan of this author but this story was frustrating to me, and I had to walk away from it for a few months before rereading it and learning to accept that I just wasn’t going to connect well with most of the characters. The story is vivid and it is a tribute to the author’s usual dexterity at characterization that the players are realistic to me, but, wow, I was conflicted about most of them because there are so many shades of gray in this story. Even worse, it ended with so many dangling threads that I was really frustrated. That being said, I was still fascinated.

I love the idea of psychic phenomena, and the price being paid for the use of Brian’s powers and his frustration and coping mechanisms kept me intrigued by him. I timed it perfectly because fortuitously, I was able to read the sequel right after this and it helped assuage SOME of my frustration, even as I continued to be unwillingly drawn to these characters who make choices that are frequently unpalatable to me, no matter how much I can understand why or how they have reached this point in their lives. So…I waffled and waffled about my rating, but ultimately I have to say I did like the story but didn’t like the ending…but that’s because I am a VERY impatient reader and I like things tied up nicely when I finish. This story doesn’t do that, but it is still well worth reading, especially since the next book is out now…although, be warned, it’s not going to tie everything up in a nice bow either, lol.

Book Blurb for Tracefinder

What could an undercover cop and a drug lord’s pet psychic have in common?

Brian Kerr has spent years hiding behind a facade of mental slowness. His brother and sister got all three of them off the streets and into a cushy life, under the protection of a dangerous criminal. But to keep that safety, Brian has to use his Finding talent to track down the boss’s enemies. Although he pretends not to know what he’s really doing, each Find takes its toll, and he’s trapped in a life he hates, losing touch with his true self.

Nick Rugo’s job is to protect and serve the people of Minneapolis as an undercover cop. He isn’t closeted, but he isn’t out at work, and there’s a wild, angry side to him that he’s managed to keep hidden until now. When he’s assigned to bring Brian’s boss to justice, he intends to use anything and anyone it takes to do that.

Nick initially sees Brian as a pawn to be played in his case, but he keeps getting glimpses of a different man behind the slow, simpleminded mask. As the two men get to know each other, it becomes clear they share secrets, some of which might get them both killed.

Night Owl Reviews Aug, 2016 4.00