Trace Evidence: A Novel

( 11 )

Overview

A gripping suspense novel that introduces forensic expert Evelyn James as she tries to decipher trace evidence and solve a bizarre crime

It's a cold Cleveland November day when forensic trace evidence expert Evelyn James is summoned to the scene of a bizarre crime. A young woman has been forcibly drowned, her feet chained and sunk in cement. When a second young victim is connected to a prominent family, all hell breaks loose, and the police--and Evelyn--are up against it to find...

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Overview

A gripping suspense novel that introduces forensic expert Evelyn James as she tries to decipher trace evidence and solve a bizarre crime

It's a cold Cleveland November day when forensic trace evidence expert Evelyn James is summoned to the scene of a bizarre crime. A young woman has been forcibly drowned, her feet chained and sunk in cement. When a second young victim is connected to a prominent family, all hell breaks loose, and the police--and Evelyn--are up against it to find the murderer. Evelyn just wants to get the job done, but is pulled into a web of conflicting loyalties, unexpected relationships, and professional betrayal. When Evelyn suspects that her own teenage daughter has become a pawn in the killer's plans, she must remain true to herself and her skills and follow the evidence to the murderer's door.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Death is part of daily life for single mother Evelyn James, a forensic scientist in the Cleveland, Ohio, medical examiner's office. In the opening pages of this tepid debut thriller, Evelyn is called to the scene of a bizarre crime: a young woman has been drowned in the Cuyahoga River, her feet submerged in a bucket of cement. When a second victim, who escaped drowning only to be strangled, turns out to be the daughter of Evelyn's long-ago beau, Darryl Pierson (now Cleveland's mayor), Evelyn ventures beyond her job description to pursue the criminals behind the clues. Among those under suspicion: notorious mobster Mario Ashworth, the mayor's childhood friend and the first victim's employer; and overzealous hospital nurse James Neal, who once administered care to each of the murdered girls. As Evelyn inches ever closer to the killer, she fears for the safety of her own teenage daughter, Angel. Becka, a Cape Coral, Fla., forensic scientist, has created a frank, honest protagonist who loves what she does, but too many procedural details encumber rather than enliven the novel. While there's sufficient suspense to keep the pages turning, Becka's offering lacks the crisp prose and poise of Patricia Cornwell and Jan Burke. Agent, Elaine Koster. (Aug.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781401301743
  • Publisher: Hyperion
  • Publication date: 8/3/2005
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 0.88 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 9.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Elizabeth Becka is a forensic specialist working with the Cape Coral, Florida, police department. Formerly with the Coroner's Office of Cleveland, Ohio, she has lectured to students and officers, has testified as an expert witness forty times, and is a member of the American Academy of Forensic Scientists.
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Read an Excerpt

She moved blindly, unable to hear anything over her own ragged breathing. Branches and thorns tore her skin, but she barely felt it-the advantage of being numb. Part of the duct tape had come off her mouth, and a monotonous droning sound turned out to be the chattering of her teeth. When she became still, she could hear the footsteps. She turned in the other direction and started to run as fast as her frozen, barefoot body would allow, scarcely more than a limping trot. She had covered perhaps five feet when he grabbed her by the back of her sodden T-shirt and tripped her. He straddled her back. She heard an almost gentle clinking sound and then the chain passed around her neck. He pulled the ends taut but not yet tight.

"You can't do this." She fought one last time to get to her feet, tearing at the skin of her own neck as she tried to pull the chains away with her right hand. "Do you know what will happen to you?"

He said nothing.

"Don't you know who I am?"

The chains tightened.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 11 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 11 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 12, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Great forensic mystery!

    If you love the precision of forensic science and enjoy books by Kathy Reichs, Cornwell, or Aaron Elkins, you should love Elizabeth Becka. This book begins with a young woman in peril. We're sweating and struggling along with her escape, hoping that she'll make it; so when she doesn't, it's a terrible blow...and this is just the first few pages of the book. Our forensic scientist is Evelyn James, a mother who tries to balance the horrors of her job with raising a teen aged daughter. When the latest victim of a vicious serial killer turns out to be the daughter of a former love, Evelyn can't help but become personally involved with the investigation. The coldness of the weather provides a great background for the coldblooded qualities of the killer, and Becka hits it out of the park with this first book in the series.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 31, 2013

    do not recommend

    There is a story in there but it contains so many superfluous words, you find yourself turning pages to get back to the story. The story would be too short without them I guess so to extend the book, it must have been necessary to add many unneeded words. Makes the book very boring. Not a well written book.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 23, 2013

    Very good mystery

    Enjoyed this book very much. Evelyn is a great protagonist, gutsy, smart and real.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 18, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Jennifer Wardrip - Personal Read

    In the style of Patricia Cornwell (a real life former Medical Examiner), Keith Ablow (a forensic psychologist), and Kathy Reichs (a forensic anthropologist), new author Elizabeth Becka draws on her life as a forensic specialist to pen a wonderful thriller/forensic procedural! <BR/><BR/>Evelyn James is a forensic scientist in Cleveland 's Medical Examiner's office. On a cold November day, she's called to the scene of a chilling crime--a young woman has been pulled from the river, arms and body encased in chains, her feet ensconced in a bucket of cement. Literally drowned to death, the mystery woman preys on Eveyln's mind--especially when another young woman is found dead a few days later. What's even worse is that the second dead girl is Destiny Pierson, daughter of Cleveland 's Mayor. Added to the complications is the fact that Evelyn and Darryl, the Mayor, were once college sweethearts over a decade ago, and Darryl hopes to use that connection to get inside information on the case. <BR/><BR/>As Evelyn works with grizzled Homicide Detective Riley and newcomer Detective David, they find more missing persons cases that seem similar to the two latest deaths--and find a suspect who seems to fit the profile of their killer. Unfortunately, the suspect has knowledge of Evelyn and her daughter, Angel, leading them to the fact that sixteen-year-old Angel might be another intended victim. <BR/><BR/>Forensic science mixes with police procedure in Elizabeth Becka's debut novel, and the result is a great read that will keep you turning pages late into the night. As you gain details of Evelyn's personal life, insights into the new Homicide Detective, and background on the serial killer preying on Cleveland 's young women, you'll be enthralled with the perfect mix of truth and fiction. <BR/><BR/>I can only hope that Ms. Becka plans to return to Cleveland and Eveyln James, a forensic scientist that could well become another Kay Scarpetta, Frank Clevenger, or Temperance Brennan.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 14, 2008

    READ THIS BOOK

    Very suspensful, fresh ideas, a thrilling page-turner!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 23, 2007

    An Awesome Forensic Thriller

    In the style of Patricia Cornwell (a real life former Medical Examiner), Keith Ablow (a forensic psychologist), and Kathy Reichs (a forensic anthropologist), new author Elizabeth Becka draws on her life as a forensic specialist to pen a wonderful thriller/forensic procedural! Evelyn James is a forensic scientist in Cleveland 's Medical Examiner's office. On a cold November day, she's called to the scene of a chilling crime--a young woman has been pulled from the river, arms and body encased in chains, her feet ensconced in a bucket of cement. Literally drowned to death, the mystery woman preys on Eveyln's mind--especially when another young woman is found dead a few days later. What's even worse is that the second dead girl is Destiny Pierson, daughter of Cleveland 's Mayor. Added to the complications is the fact that Evelyn and Darryl, the Mayor, were once college sweethearts over a decade ago, and Darryl hopes to use that connection to get inside information on the case. As Evelyn works with grizzled Homicide Detective Riley and newcomer Detective David, they find more missing persons cases that seem similar to the two latest deaths--and find a suspect who seems to fit the profile of their killer. Unfortunately, the suspect has knowledge of Evelyn and her daughter, Angel, leading them to the fact that sixteen-year-old Angel might be another intended victim. Forensic science mixes with police procedure in Elizabeth Becka's debut novel, and the result is a great read that will keep you turning pages late into the night. As you gain details of Evelyn's personal life, insights into the new Homicide Detective, and background on the serial killer preying on Cleveland 's young women, you'll be enthralled with the perfect mix of truth and fiction. I can only hope that Ms. Becka plans to return to Cleveland and Eveyln James, a forensic scientist that could well become another Kay Scarpetta, Frank Clevenger, or Temperance Brennan.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 19, 2006

    Something of a Good Read....

    Trace Evidence is a decent novel for this first-time author however, the story itself lacks flesh, soul, it's just lacking. It's a light read as far as crime novels go.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2005

    Fantasic!!!!!!!!

    This book was abousulty fabulous! I enjoyed it imensly! This is a must read for mystery-murder lovers! With strong characters and a entertaining plot with twists and turns, this is a book thats going to find a place in my library!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    strong forensic police procedural

    Medical Examiner¿s Office forensic scientist Evelyn James and homicide detectives Bruce Riley and David Milaski stare at the young woman in chains and her feet stuck inside a bucket of cement drowned in the Cuyahoga River. Making matters worse Mayor Daryl ¿Mobbuster¿ Pierson arrives; he was once Evie¿s lover before she married and since divorced her cheating spouse Rick. At home, their teenage daughter Angel blames the split on Evelyn while Rick and his girlfriend Terrie play the good guys. A second victim surfaces, the mayor¿s daughter Destiny making the case the top story. Evelyn crosses the thin line into cop territory fearing her daughter might be part of the inner circle of targets of a serial killer as she begins seeing a pattern. The killer becomes aware that the forensic scientist is closing in on him so he plans to lure her into a trap. David, who was attracted to Evelyn from the moment they first met overlooking that first corpse by the Cuyahoga, worries about the safety of the scientist he is falling in love with, but he may not be enough to keep her safe from a clever consistent killer. --- Readers who appreciate the details will enjoy this strong forensic police procedural. The heroine is a super person who enjoys her work and worries about her relationship with her daughter even while fighting an attraction to the new homicide detective. The suspense takes somewhat of a back seat to Evelyn on the job and at home, but though the tension is not stratospheric, the investigative depth seems genuine, candid, and insightful making for a fine tale held together by its star. --- Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 1, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 27, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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