Reviewed by Donna
TITLE: Tracefinder: Changes
SERIES: Tracefinder #2
AUTHOR: Kaje Harper
PUBLISHER: Self Published
LENGTH: 133,500 Words
RELEASE DATE: August 4, 2016
Brian can Find a lost child or a wanted criminal, but when his secret gets out, even Nick’s skills and connections may not be enough to keep them safe.
Brian Kerr is now free of his dangerous boss and his domineering brother. He’s eager to start using his psychic Finding talent to help people, if he can figure out how to do that safely. His dyslexia, and his tendency to act simpleminded under stress, make building his new life a daunting challenge. And while his not-quite-boyfriend, Nick, is willing to support him, in bed and out of it, Brian doesn’t want to lean on Nick. If their relationship is going anywhere, he has to be a full partner and handle his own problems.
Nick Rugo’s walking a tightrope instead of settling into the ordinary cop’s life he’d hoped for. He’s hiding too many things from too many people. He has told professional and unprofessional lies that will come back to haunt him. Now, with Brian determined to start Finding again, he’s not sure he can protect the man he cares for. If all that wasn’t enough to make him start punching walls, he also has a suspicion that Brian’s brother Damon and sister Lori may be out there, lurking, ready to complicate their lives.
This review may contain spoilers from the first book in this series.
Changes picks up where Contact left off, with Nick and Brian sharing a home and one very chaotic friends/fuckbuddies/police-criminal relationship that keeps even the two of them confused. I can safely say right now that this is no way a standalone story. The Tracefinder series is just that, a complex and well thought out series, with tangled threads that must be followed from the beginning.
The Brian and Nick we find here are so very different from the two men we met at the start of the first book. Brian is finally out from the control of those who would use his talents to do evil things. He no longer has any reason to hide behind his “Bry” persona, and he yearns to prove that he’s actually one of the good guys by helping track down missing people. Of course, neither of those things is as easy as all that, but in this story, the author allows Brian’s strength to really be seen, because as he’s finding himself in this new life, Nick begins to lose himself. While Brian is getting stronger, Nick is falling apart. The author did a brilliant job of having her two main characters practically switch roles, while still keeping their thoughts and responses credible.
I think one of the things that Kaje Harper excels at is imbuing her characters with real to life personalities and the actions that go with that. None of her characters are perfect and I often find myself having to look at situations from alternate angles. For example, I’ve been anticipating Brian revealing his true nature to his siblings since I knew the score in the first book. I wanted them to be so freakin’ sorry for the way they treated him. I wanted to see them grovel and beg for his forgiveness. Had I been the author, that’s totally the way that scene would have gone down. But that’s not at all what happened. And though I didn’t like it, I was forced to see things from the siblings’ point of view. None of them were perfect, not even Brian.
So I mentioned Brian’s siblings…did anyone actually think that we’d seen the last of Lori and Damon? That would be no fun. Obviously these two pop up again, and Nick’s absentee bestie, Charlie, is much more present in this second book. All of these secondary characters were well utilized to progress the story, because honestly, Nick was too stubborn to move an inch without some massive pushes. The police dept. was also a lot more involved in Changes, and I enjoyed the fact that as the lines between good and bad blurred for Nick and Brian, they also blurred for me. Yes, Damon murdered people, but he loved his brother and sister fiercely. Yes, the police wanted to find missing children, but they didn’t care that doing so was putting Brian’s life at risk.
The romance between Brian and Nick, was ramped up quite a bit in this book. As with everything else in the story, there was nothing easy or perfect about it, but when they do finally get to the “real sex”, as Brian sees it, the awkward moments just add more genuineness to it. These two have to struggle for every good thing they have, so when they finally recognize the emotion between them, they are prepared to be mercilessness in their efforts to protect it.
As with the first book this one comes to a rather violent and dramatic climax, and what can I say except that I loved it. I don’t read Ms. Harper’s books for the action; I read them because I usually feel such a connection to her characters. But having said that, when Kaje Harper breaks out the guns, they tend to be the big guns. The scenes of explosions and violence are just as gripping as the scenes where characters are confessing their undying love. The emotions are just as intense, the imagery is just as captivating. You can practically feel the adrenalin pumping, even while you know that both of our guys are going to make it.
So thankfully, this isn’t the final book in the series, cause there’s still so much more that I need to know. For those readers that weren’t happy with where Nick and Brian were at at the end of Contact, I can assure you that they are much closer to their HEA here. There are still some major loose ends – the police, Damon…the potentially two headed baby?? But Nick and Brian, they’re learning to sort themselves out.
Now go forth and read people! Click the link, buy the book, you can come back and thank me later…