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No Trace: A Brock and Kolla Mystery (Brock and Kolla Mysteries) Hardcover – October 3, 2006

4.2 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In Maitland's gripping new police procedural to feature DCI David Brock and Det. Sgt. Kathy Kolla (after 2004's The Verge Practice), something evil afflicts a group of artists and assorted hangers-on who live in London's Northcote Square. When six-year-old Tracey Rudd, the daughter of the circle's most famous artist, Gabriel Rudd, goes missing, it appears she's the third girl to fall victim to a kidnapper. Soon two of the three girls are found, one dead and the other nearly so. As various members of this community are killed in horrible ways, Brock and Kolla dig through an intricate web of circumstances, which some readers may find too complex. Maitland, an architect who crafts his prose in accord with the dictum that God is in the details, brings the particular world he depicts unforgettably alive. No one who reads this haunting, unnerving work will ever again think about contemporary artists the same way. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

The latest Brock and Kolla mystery finds the Scotland Yard partners looking into the kidnapping of a six-year-old girl. The case is made more difficult by the fact that the girl's father, Gabe Rudd, a renowned artist, is instantly unlikable; and by the fact that the girl's mother died several years ago, an apparent suicide. Rudd almost immediately turned her death into a controversial work of art, and now, barely hours after his daughter was taken, he is already talking about exploiting her disappearance, too. As usual, Maitland offers up a suspenseful story and a cast of engaging characters. A solid entry in this ever-enjoyable series. David Pitt
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Series: Brock and Kolla Mysteries (Book 8)
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; 1st U.S. Ed edition (October 3, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031235892X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312358921
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.1 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,101,848 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By E. Bukowsky HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 21, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Barry Maitland's "No Trace" is a haunting and powerful police procedural featuring Detective Chief Inspector David Brock and Detective Sergeant Kathy Kolla. Brock and Kolla are members of a Major Enquiry Team looking into the disappearance of three young girls: Aimee Prentice, Lee Hammond, and most recently, Tracey Rudd, the six-year-old daughter of Gabriel Rudd, a controversial contemporary artist. Rudd lives in Northcote Square, a London neighborhood known for its cutting-edge artists and art dealers.

Maitland does a masterful job of juggling an enormous cast of colorful characters. Betty Zielinski is an apparently disturbed woman who lives near Gabriel Rudd. Although she claims that she has pertinent information that could help the police, no one is willing to pay any heed to "Batty Betty," as she is known in the square. Len and Bev Nolan, Tracey's grandparents, despise Rudd, whom they blame for the suicide of his wife, Jane, who was also their daughter. Fergus Tait, Gabe's art dealer, is an opportunist who encourages Gabe to immediately transform his grief into a new work of art, as he did after his wife's death.

Weeks pass without any leads. Suddenly, a series of homicides raises the stakes for the investigators. It soon becomes apparent that a serial killer is loose in Northcote Square. Could these murders be related to the abduction of the three little girls? Brock has his hands full dealing with these high-profile cases, especially since his superiors are breathing down his neck and pressuring him for results. Maitland slowly builds up tension as Brock, Kathy, Detective Inspector Bren Gurney, and the rest of the team desperately look for leads.

"No Trace" is one of the most dark and complex thrillers of the year.
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...And that's mostly a good thing, I think, but also one that builds to a tale so intricate, intense and unnerving that I found I needed to take frequent breaks from all the convolution and let the latest twists and turns of the plot's progression sink in for awhile before going back into the fray.

But let me digress for a moment to say I'm Maitland fan dating back to the mid '90s, but there came a time--probably when the author was moving back to England from Australia and I was still shopping at brick and mortar bookstores--when the supply of new Maitland mysteries seemed to have dried up and eventually I stopped looking. It was only when a request came up for new mystery writer recommendations in an Amazon discussion group recently that I re-remembered Maitland, went on the prowl here, discovered he'd written several new Brock-Kolla mysteries while I wasn't paying attention and that Amazon had them. Which is how I now find myself playing catch-up, starting with this one seven long years after it was published.

This 8th in the Brock-Kolla detective series opens just after the abduction of the daughter of a well-known modern artist--the third girl-child in east London to have gone missing in recent weeks. The setting is an off-the-beaten-track neighborhood dominated by a combination gallery, restaurant and collection of artists' studios called "The Pie Factory." The cast of characters ranges from the merely quirky to the decidedly weird to the chillingly creepy and, before it's all over and the fate of the missing child is revealed, many will be suspected and several will end up dead, all of them under highly unusual circumstances. Brock's Major Enquiry Team really has their work cut out for them on this one and if you're the kind of mystery reader who likes to challenge yourself to figure out whodunit before the cops do, you've got quite a challenge ahead of you as well. But I suspect you'll find it worth it.
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This was my first experience with the author and I must say I wasnt as thrilled as I thought I would be. The story started off promising, only to disappoint frankly. The story continued and was very slow and drawn out in my opinion. The concept and story were great however, the delievery was a little off. This made the story hard to enjoy. The ending was rather plain as well. If this is your first title by the author I encourage you to read another title than come back to this one. I hope this helps! Happy reading.

EC
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Format: Paperback
Six year old Tracey Rudd goes missing from home, the London flat and studio she shares with her father Gabriel Rudd in Northcote Square. Rudd is a contemporary and controversial artist well known for his love of the grotesque and ability to attract publicity. Rudd’s most famous work was based on his wife’s suicide five years ago. Tracey is the third little girl abducted in this area recently, and her disappearance attracts a lot of attention from the press. Perfect, really, for Gabriel Rudd to try to reinvigorate his fading career, using Tracey’s disappearance as inspiration.

Chief Inspector David Brock and Detective Sergeant Kathy Kolla have little to go on. There are no witnesses, and they can find no clues at the crime scene. Northcote Square, with its collection of eccentrics and bohemians, becomes a bizarre tourist attraction. And then, there’s a murder, closely followed by a second. Are they connected to the kidnappings? Who is doing the murdering and why? Will the girls be found alive? There’s a fine cast of characters peopling the pages, and few of them are above suspicion. While, for me, Gabriel Rudd is truly unlikeable, I would have liked to have seen a little more of Dave the badger.

I enjoyed this novel, especially the character of Kathy Kolla, and I was kept guessing until close to the end about who had done what to whom. The ending? You’ll have to decide for yourself whether it works for you. Barry Maitland’s novels were recommended to me some time ago, but this is the first one I’ve read. I’ll definitely be looking to read some more.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith
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