“When local rock climbers stumble upon abandoned human bones in a remote Texas gorge, Sara Lockhart is the first to get the call. She has a reputation as one of the nation’s top forensic anthropologists, and police detective Nolan Hess knows she is just the expert he needs to help unravel this case. Although evidence is scarce, Nolan suspects the bones belong to a teenage climber who vanished last summer.
But as Sara unearths strange clues, she finds chilling similarities to a case from her past—a case that now threatens to rock Nolan’s community. While Sara digs deep for answers, the stakes rise higher as another young woman disappears without a trace. Investigators work against the clock as Sara races to discover the truth, even if her harrowing search brings her face to face with a stone-cold killer.”
-Synopsis from Goodreads
*light spoilers below*
Stone Cold Heart takes place in July and follows Sara Lockhart who is the newest forensic anthropologist at the Delphi Center. Sara has struggled to get her footing at work and to fit in with her coworkers.
I really felt for Sara. At one point she mentions that everyone at the Delphi Center is either already a couple or recently married, which is accurate. The story starts with her at Brooke and Sean’s wedding which as exciting it as it is for their coworkers (and the reader!) is still triggering to her since she recently ended a longterm relationship.
While at the wedding, she gets called out to Springville, Texas where a body has just been discovered by local rock climbers. She drives out to Springville, nearly two hours away, and meets with detective Nolan Hess who is at the scene.
Nolan was a very interesting character. By that I mean, he is unlike some of the past detectives we have seen in the Tracers series. I think he was meant to be a little arrogant to Sara but I didn’t really see that. He has a lot of pride in his hometown and strong morals. He is respectful to Sara and genuinely values her expertise and help on the case. I’m not sure what it was specifically, but he just seemed very easy to get on board with as a character.
Sara feels the same but tries to push him away on several occasions, even though she recognizes that someone like him is hard to come by.
“He was good at his job, and it wasn’t just a job to him. She liked the way he took initiative. She liked the way he cared deeply about his community. So many investigators she’d met over the years had let cynicism or apathy take over as a survival mechanism. But Nolan had been in this field for almost fifteen years and managed to keep his heart intact.”from Stone Cold Heart by Laura Griffin
Interspersed with the chapters following Sara and Nolan as they investigate the case are short snippets following a girl who has been kidnapped. Although it’s not immediately apparent, the reader will eventually come to realize that the kidnapped girl and Sara’s case have a connection.
As they begin to put the pieces together, Sara and Nolan come to realize this as well, and that puts additional pressure on them to solve the case before the murderer can strike again.
This will definitely be one of the more memorable Tracers books for me because the crime was especially horrifying. The setting, a holiday weekend and a crime taking place in a remote gorge, was also unique to the series and added a lot of interest to the story.
So far, this is the final Tracers book but I have a feeling there will be more at some point in the future. Either way, it has been a fantastic series and I know I will be re-reading all of the books at some point.