“When a lakeside tryst ends in a double murder, police detective Daniele Harper arrives on the scene determined to get answers. Clues are everywhere, but nothing adds up. Dani turns to the Delphi Center crime lab for help, but soon regrets it when her secret attraction to their chief firearms examiner threatens to distract her from the most important case of her career.
As a ballistics expert and former Navy SEAL, Scott Black knows firearms, and he knows he can help Dani unravel her case. Scott has managed to hide his interest in his best friend’s younger sister for years, but when her investigation brings them together, the sparks between them quickly get out of control. Scott resolves to keep his hands off Dani and his eyes on the goal—identifying a killer. But when that killer zeroes in on Dani, all bets are off. There isn’t a line Scott won’t cross to convince Dani to trust him so that he can help her take down a ruthless murderer who has her in his sights.”
-Synopsis from back of the book
At Close Range is the eleventh book in the Tracers series. I have really been looking forward to this one since Scott Black has been mentioned in quite a few of the Tracers books now. Daniele (Dani) Harper is a new character in the series but I liked her right away once she was introduced.
Dani comes from a police family and is technically still a rookie detective. She already feels like people think she only got her job because of her family connections, and that feeling intensifies when she is assigned to lead this particular murder case. She’s never been the lead on a case before, but Ric Santos tells her she’s ready.
Ric has made quite a few cameos in the series since Unforgivable (book #3) in which he appeared alongside Mia Voss. Well, sidetone and spoiler alert because since that book not only have they gotten married but in At Close Range, Mia is pregnant and due at any moment! Hence, Ric’s inability to take the lead on this case as he is preoccupied with making sure Mia’s pregnancy goes okay and that he is there for her when the baby comes.
Scott’s backstory with Dani was very believable and cute. They were childhood friends who grew up together, and Scott is best friends with one of Dani’s older brothers, Drew. As they have gotten older, both Dani and Scott have changed, but their attraction for one another has always been there. After coming back from Afghanistan, Scott was very closed off from everyone including Dani, which hurt her.
When Dani begins investigating the case, Scott becomes her go-to for help with the investigation. But when his fingerprints are discovered on the murder weapon, his credibility is called into question and he becomes a suspect. Both Dani and Scott know that there’s no way he was involved in the crime, but Scott has proof to back up his whereabouts at the time the crime was committed, and he can’t provide a reason as to why his fingerprints are on the gun.
Dani has to balance her belief in his innocence with doing her job which is to consider him a suspect until they find the killer. One of the detectives on the case, Sean Byrne, is particularly hard on Dani. Not only does he think that he should have been made the lead on the case, but he thinks Dani is comprising it because of her personal connection to Scott. I have to say, Sean was pretty annoying during this book! I hated the way he undermined Dani. On the flip side, he does develop a rapport with Brooke Porter, one of the CSI’s from the Delphi Center, and moderately redeemed himself for me there.
Dani’s investigation takes her out of state, to New Mexico, where Scott shows up to help her. They both know how bad it would look for her to be seen with him, but she can’t deny that he is actually a huge help to her and is an asset.
Everything that happened once Dani got to New Mexico and began uncovering more of the mystery honestly blew me away! There was so much action and suspense and for whatever reason I wasn’t expecting that with this story, but it really delivered and made for such an exciting read.
I don’t want to give away too much of the details as to what ends up happening, but it was very gripping and I sped through the second half of the book.
Dani and Scott are definitely on my list of favorite Tracers couples now!
Goodreads rating: Five stars