Literature / Traces

Traces is a series of seven Science Fiction crime novels by Malcolm Rose. They center around sixteen year old Forensic Investigator Luke Harding and his partner in law, the Mobile Aid to Law and Crime (Or Malc for short), as they solve crimes in an alternate England where blacks are the majority race and the southern parts of the country are derelict slums.

The series starts with Luke passing his FI examination, only to quickly be thrust into his first case when a series of murders occur in the school that all seem to point to him being the perpetrator. After solving the case he's stationed in London due to the abundance of crimes in the South, which puts pressure on his already forbidden relationship with Love Interest Jade Vernon.

The final book in the series, Murder Club, was recently released as an e-book.

This series provides examples of:

  • Foreshadowing: Ian's line to Luke about the foundations in Final Lap.
    Ian: I don't want to be down there when they start to lay the foundations, do I? That wouldn't be much fun.
  • Frameup: Luke is framed for triple murder in Framed!. Played With in Double Check; Luke thinks Everton was framed for Rowan's murder, but it turns out that he had been hit by lightning, which caused him to have a spastic fit in the already murdered Rowan's apartment, which is why nearly all evidence pointed to him.
  • Fun with Acronyms: Mobile Aid to Law and Crime.
  • Hero's First Rescue: Luke's rescue of EW4 in Roll Call.
  • Identification by Dental Records: Luke uses this technique to narrow down the options in his final exams in Framed!.
  • Impersonating an Officer: Jade, briefly. It's noted that she could get into trouble for doing so.
  • I Never Said It Was Poison:
    • In Framed!, Luke never says the third murder weapon is a glass cutter. Ed Hoffman, on the other hand, does seem to know. Make of that what you will.
    • In Roll Call, Q, when they are discovered, says that EW4 is a 'girl' when Luke had not said how old she was.
    • In Double Check, Camilla almost lets slip that she knew Lee MacArthur had died, yet there was supposed to be no contact between the two after he had given her a new identity.
  • I Will Find You: Jade after Luke's disappearence at the end of Final Lap
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Happens to Everton in Double Check. It's revealed he was struck by lighting, which can cause memory deficits in some cases.
  • Locard's Theory: Seen several times. Most pertinent in Framed!, where a slight contact from Ed Hoffman when he was poisoning Ms. Kee left her with a flake of white paint, two blue denim fibres, six fine particles of magnesite, a smear of wax and a deposit of sawdust on her right side.
  • Name's the Same: The killer in Roll Call is only after girls named Emily Wonder.
  • Non-Action Guy: While Luke is physically fit and often chases down suspects, Malc is usually the one to combat violence.
  • No One Gets Left Behind: Despite Malc and the Authorities telling him several times to leave London while he still can, before the tsunami hits, Luke ignores them in order to first ensure Owen Goode and his band of scraps gets to safety, and then, after another warning to leave, ascends a crane in an incredibly risky (though ultimately successful) attempt to save EW4, who he didn't have time to carry to high ground conventionally.
  • Omniscient Database: Malc has these for training excersies. Unhelpfully, he doesn't for the real world.
  • Parental Abandonment: After children are sent to school they aren't supposed to see their parents again. Subverted in Blood Brother where Luke's parents appear, and also in ''Roll Call' where Earl Dimmock mentions visiting his.
  • Persecution Flip: While discrimination is not a major theme to te series, it's white peole who are the discriminated-against minority.
  • Reverse Whodunnit: Framed!, Roll Call and Final Lap all have very small clues that should help to make the discovery of who the murderer is possible before Luke makes it.
  • Taking the Bullet: Malc does this three times for Luke; taking a knife in Framed!, a bullet in Lost Bullet and a tree branch in Final Lap. Justified in that Luke's safety is Malc's second priority after upholding the law.
  • Taking You with Me: When Luke confronts Ed Hoffman in Framed!, he is told that since he had Ed for triple murder anyway, killing Luke as well wouldn't change anything.
  • Teen Genius: Luke is the youngest person to become a Forensic Investigator. Naturally people point out how he's a bit young to be an investigator.
  • The Dog Was the Mastermind: Ian Pritchard, AND Mr Morgan, the blinking HOTEL RECPTIONIST. And the identity of Q, also.

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