Cover Image: Leave No Trace

Leave No Trace

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

special thanks to netgalley, St. Martin's Press and Minataur books for an e-arc of this book. Publication date was Feb. 27, 2024.

I read a lot of mysteries, but terrorist type/political thrillers are not usually my go to. This book was intense. I couldn't put it down. Definite 5 star read. Intense, suspenseful and surprisingly for mysteries clean. If there was any cursing it went right by me.

If you just like thrillers, you'll like this. And if you like Political/terrorist type books you'll like this one too.

I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Was this review helpful?

I like this thriller set in the context of attacks on national parks. It involves militia type groups coming together under a leader determined to take over the country. The January 2021 Capitol overrun was perhaps just a dress rehearsal. Identifying and stopping the domestic terrorists is difficult because high levels of government have been infiltrated.

There is nearly continuous action in this thriller. The action comes at a good pace, balanced with information about national parks. I liked the park settings and prolific background information and description. I also liked the unique bomb techniques, many I have never heard of before.

This is a good thriller with likable characters and lots of action. It will appeal to readers who enjoyed novels like the series featuring Anna Pigeon by Nevada Barr.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

Was this review helpful?

Domestic terrorism thriller

Special Agent Michael Walker, Investigative Services Branch of the National Park Service, and Assistant Special Agent in Charge Gina Delgado, FBI New York Field office, are called into action when the Statue of Liberty is blown up by what is determined to be domestic terrorists.

And the damage and turmoil doesn't stop there as other historic sites/National Parks are targeted across the United States. But are these sites the real goal or are the terrorists looking at a bigger payday?

Walker and Delgado stay on the trail, trying to get ahead of the terrorists before the truly unthinkable can happen.

I liked Walker and Delgado's characters a lot and hope to see them in future books in this series. There was lots of action and the pace was fast, with short chapters that zipped along.

I recommend this thriller to readers that want a fast-paced exciting read.

I received this Digital Review Copy from Minotaur Books through Net Galley in the hopes that I would read it and leave an unbiased review. This is that review.

Was this review helpful?

This checks all the boxes! National security/terrorism. FBI. An imminent future attack. It gripped me from the beginning and did not let go! Highly recommend this thriller!

Was this review helpful?

This is a mystery/thriller featuring terrorism at the Statue of Liberty and then attempts at a few other National Parks. The lead characters are Michael Walker, an investigative agent with the National Park Services, and FBI Special Agent, Gina Delgado. The book is set around a conspiracy to overthrow the US Government. This well-written and fast-paced action investigation was an enjoyable read. I will look forward to more in this series.

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for a digital ARC. All opinions are my own.

Was this review helpful?

As a true fan of Nevada Barr's National Park series. I was hoping for something similar in this first in a National Parks series by two authors, Jon Land and Jeff Ayers writing as A.J. Landau. While it appears that this series is going to take a substantially different direction, the first book in the series, LEAVE NO TRACE, is captivating. Rather than focusing on the beauty and background of one national park, Landau's story takes us into several national parks, all in jeopardy. When Liberty Island, the site of the Statue of Liberty, is attacked, National Park Service Special Agent, Michael Walker is thrown together with Gina Delgado of the FBI to find out who is responsible. It soon becomes clear that this is just the first of many attacks, all in National Parks.

As Gina and Michael move from one park to another, they form a bond based on mutual respect and trust, managing to thwart the terrorists' aims at least part of the time. Their investigations uncover a man who feels he has been wronged by the government and has joined forces with a deranged ex-general to take down the standing government and replace it with their own. Chapters move between Michael and Gina, who begin by working side-by-side before they must separate to take on different tasks in different locations. While they attempt to figure out what is going on and who is responsible, they find themselves in the role of saviors of the United States as we know it.

The book moves back and forth between Michael and Gina as they work in different parts of the country to take down the terrorists before they can wreak their havoc. As the pace picks up, leading to a major conflagration and bringing resolution to the plot, the already short chapters shorten to just a few paragraphs each, flinging the reader from one side of the country to the other. This is a book best read in just a few sittings. Once the middle of the book is reached, it is nearly impossible to put it down.

This is very much a plot-driven mystery, although the reader is provided with background details for both Gina Delgado and Michael Walker. Characterization does not extend very far from depicting each as super-humanly capable of meeting physical and mental challenges. Emotion is mainly kept out of the equation. The national park settings are well-described and, particularly in the case of Zion National Park, convincingly rendered.

A.J. Landau is a pseudonym created from the names of the two collaborating authors of this book. Since this is the first in this series, it remains to be seen whether the authors will continue with a frenetic multi-setting action series or if they will focus on just one national park in the second book. They have certainly carved out a unique direction for a national park series with LEAVE NO TRACE.

Was this review helpful?

The Statute of Liberty is blown off its pedestal, killing almost 700 people. A young man who had wandered away from his family takes a video of a boat that appears to be waiting for the explosion. Park Ranger Michael Walker finds the young man and leads him to safety. Gina Delgado is the FBI Special Agent in Charge. Delgado and Walker are almost immediately called to the Gateway Arch Park in St. Louis and the Arch is blown up almost as soon as they arrive. Both Delgado and Walker realize a new Civil War could be coming. A man calling himself Jeremiah and a retired Army general, nicknamed General Terror, have united the right wing militias and are plotting to bring down the government. A failed explosion at Liberty Hall in Philadelphia and another successful explosion in Zion National Park follow. Delgado and Walker are now working feverishly to uncover all the lines of the conspiracy. A rip-snorting adrenaline ride that suffers somewhat from a little too much place-setting descriptions (which can be forgiven since the series is focused on national parks).

Was this review helpful?

This is a fast paced action thriller that has imagined domestic terrorists continuing the Jan 6 MAGA fight on a much larger scale. While some of the action was a little over the top it was incredibly fun to read (the rattlesnake scene comes to mind). The two main characters (Michael and Gina) are likable and have interesting backgrounds and the National Park settings was both informative and had me adding to my travel bucket list. I await the next in the series. 4.5/5

Was this review helpful?

An explosive attack at the Statue of Liberty sends National Parks Service Special Agent Michael Walker to investigate the crime. As he begins working with FBI agent Gina Delgado, it becomes clear that attacks on other national sites are imminent. Michael and Gina criss-cross the country to prevent what could be the worst attack the country has ever experienced. I found this thriller to be interesting and exciting. I especially liked the historical facts that were included about the various locations.
was given an ARC of Leave No Trace by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

#netgalley
#leavenotrace
#ajlandau
#thrillers
#nationalparks

Was this review helpful?

Leave No Trace starts off with a bang when The Statue of Liberty is attacked, and there are multiple casualties! Special Agent Michael Walker of the National Parks Service is called in to investigate, as The Statue of Liberty is one of their sites. Michael starts working with Gina Delgado, an FBI agent also sent in.

Unfortunately, this is the first of several planned attacks on key National Parks around the States. Michael and Gina race to keep up and disable the attacks before more are injured, but along the way they uncover an even more diabolical plan against the US Government. It’s easy to picture real-life homegrown terrorists hatching similar plans, which adds a layer of fear to the story!

I love National Parks, so the snippet of history included at the beginning of each chapter was a fun addition!

I enjoyed learning about Michael and Gina’s personal history, both likable characters, and wonder how they’ll work together again.

This is a fast-paced, action-packed story and I was on the edge of my seat hoping Michael and Gina would get ahead of these nutjobs and squash their nefarious plans! I thoroughly enjoyed this exciting thriller and look forward to the next installment! I voluntarily read an advanced readers copy courtesy of Minotaur Books. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Was this review helpful?

I did enjoy this book even though it wasn't the type of thriller I would normally read! I did finish reading it in one day, so that tells ya something! I would recommend this book.

Was this review helpful?

Typically, novels within this sub-genre of crime/thriller novels are not the type I prefer, but Leave No Trace was a welcome departure from my more favored reading habitat.

In the opening of the novel, a young boy is filming a family trip to the Statue of Liberty when a massive explosion is set off, damaging the statue and killing a large number of people.

Special Agent Michael Walker of the National Park Service notices the now shell-shocked and injured boy and soon learns the boy may have captured vital video evidence on his cellular telephone.

Walker, with issues of his own, which include a powerful and vindictive father-in-law seeking to end Walker’s career, and even a hobbling prosthetic foot, is then tasked with joining a joint investigation with the FBI headed by headstrong and take-no-prisoners, FBI Special Agent Gina Delgado. Delgado is considered an explosive expert and has an interesting background all her own.

The novel then follows as the investigation swirls into the sprawling hunt for a brazenly effective terrorist group with even larger plans than that of destroying the Statue of Liberty.

At first, the Gina Delgado character comes off as arrogant, with a dash of dislike, but as the story is revealed and the characters develop, Delgado, among others, grow upon the reader.

The pairing of the two lead characters is enjoyable as the plot they investigate grows more complex, nefarious, and extremely dangerous.

Leave No Trace is an early summer beach read and is recommended to those that enjoy novels of conspiracy and wide-ranging investigations.

Leave No Trace was provided by Netgalley upon the promise of a fair review and is available for purchase.

Was this review helpful?

I've been looking for a new mystery/thriller series....you know, something "different". AJ Landau is a writer's name for Jon Land and Jeff Ayers. This is their first title together and it's a winner. Set in the National Parks, the story has unlimited potential to keep the back stories and communities fresh. In LEAVE NO TRACE, terrorists have bombed the Statue of Liberty. The National Park Service will join with the FBI to investigate this act and race to prevent potential attacks to come. The story moves quickly as the tension stays in the forefront. Several times I found myself holding my breath as the officers chase those who would bring their fight to our shores. Easily a 5 star read.

Was this review helpful?

LEAVE NO TRACE by A.J. Landau, Jon Land, & Jeff Ayers is the first of the National Parks Thriller series & it was intense!

Michael Walker is a special agent with the National Park Service. He is pulled in when a catastrophic attack occurs at The Statue of Liberty. While other top brass are meeting on site, Michael finds a young boy, dazed and at a loss, but clear enough to share the information that makes it dangerous for him. Michael has to find a way to protect this boy while also helping discover who is behind this domestic terrorist attack before worse comes.

This was an impressive thriller! I was engaged immediately and it held me clear through the last pages. What really impressed me, however, was how the events transpired to thwart my rising potential criticism! Let me explain: at one point I thought that it was going to be too easy. It wasn't. Another time I felt like something was a stretch, and the character got it wrong. I appreciated this leading down a path that felt like a too-choreographed dance, only to reveal it wasn't the right path. Characters made wrong guesses. This made it feel a bit more real and a lot more tense.

I also appreciated the more recent acknowledgments of our natural wonders and their long-time Native stewards. I am reconstructing many thoughts surrounding our natural parks and this story gave some food for thought, not to mention some great ideas.

I would definitely recommend this page-turner for anyone who enjoys a quick moving thriller with a deeper examination. Another point to note, each chapter begins with a little fact pertaining to the historical location that ranged from test material to super fascinating!

Thank you to @netgalley & @stmartinspress @minotaur_books for sharing this ARC that published on February 27th. This is a perfect travel read as you spring break or plan your summer vacation!

Was this review helpful?

This is the beginning of a new series by these authors and I can see myself reading more of the series for sure. The premise that the combined intelligence and law enforcement of the FBI and the National Parks Service is required for averting disaster was pretty fun. Facts and history about the parks definitely drew me in, to what would have otherwise been a run of the mill thriller. I also liked how unabashedly political this book was, pulling no punches about the dangers of far right extremism. The book's downfall was also what I think will make it successful; simple and exposition heavy writing. It kept the pacing nice and sharp, but it was sometimes so exposition heavy as to insult the reader's intelligence. I wonder if as the series goes on if this will lighten up a bit. At any rate, this was fun and quick and the National Park history and facts were a great addition to this genre of thriller.

Was this review helpful?

(rounded up from 4.5)

Leave No Trace was a wild ride. The book starts off with a bang (literally) as the Statue of Liberty is toppled by a massive explosion. I could picture the scene easily, unfortunately. These days, terrorism is a given and because of this, regular citizens are subjected to searches and restrictions of all sorts when we go to so many places. (The size of your handbag is restricted to a tiny one, for example, at a minor league hockey game. It’s just how things are these days.) So how did terrorists pull this off? The answer is revealed along the way.

The action moves from one National Park to another in rapid succession: Independence Hall in Philadelphia, the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Zion National Park in Utah, and so on. The two main investigators are great characters with interesting back stories. Michael Walker is part of the National Park Service’s ISB (Investigative Services Branch, their version of the FBI). He lost a foot in an incident in Mt. Rainier National Park and wears a prosthetic device, which mostly allows him fairly normal mobility. Gina Delgado is FBI and is part of the Joint Terrorism Task Force. She’s got an extensive background in explosives.

Michael and Gina zone in on a wide-ranging conspiracy by a group of ex-military extremists. Again unfortunately, this felt like it could be real, given what happened at the Capitol on January 6, 2021 and the fact that many ex-military were among the rioters. “Whack job anonymous isn’t so anonymous anymore.” Who can they trust?

Leave No Trace was written by two authors writing under a pen name and I could not tell that two authors had written this book, that’s how well-written and edited it is. They had me constantly flipping (e-)pages and/or listening to just one more chapter to learn what would happen next.

Each chapter starts with a short fact, either about a national park or about a location in the story. Who knew that Hubbard, Ohio was once considered the whiskey capital of the nation? Not me!

Note: Never underestimate the power of a cell phone video!

This is supposed to be the start of a series set in National Parks and I’m interested to see how they follow this one up! It’s a hard act to follow, as the saying goes.

I bounced between the audiobook and the ebook for this title, which was very convenient and allowed me to speed through the book. The audiobook was beautifully narrated by Gregory Abbey.

Thank you to Minotaur Books and NetGalley for the opportunity to read an advance reader copy of this book and to Recorded Books and NetGalley for the opportunity to listen to an advance copy of this audiobook. All opinions are my own.

Was this review helpful?

This could honestly end up as a movie - the action was non-stop and the plot was (unfortunately) very believable. The short paragraphs helped speed up the already quick pace of the book - something that I enjoyed. A terrific story with very likeable characters.

Was this review helpful?

An act of terrorism has damaged the Statue of Liberty and its up to Special Agent Michael Walker to figure out who is behind the deed. When he lands he soon learns that FBI agent Gina Delgado has been left in charge and another attack is on the horizon. Left out of the meetings Michael decides to investigate on his own and he learns some critical evidence from a young boy who survived the first attack. He is determined to do his job and figure out the shadowy figure is behind the attack. Follow along and see if he can bring down a terrorist group or will he fail in the end?

Was this review helpful?

In responding to reports of an explosion on Liberty Island, Michael Walker, a member of the National Parks Service Investigative Services Bureau, There he connects with FBI ASAC Gina Delgado. Together they look to make sense of the bombing and try to ferret out the reasons behind it. Left out of a briefing due to lack of a security clearance, Michael finds a 15 year old kid who may hold the key to finding the people responsible.

The search for the perpetrators of the explosion will lead Michael and Gina across the country in search of a radical group of ex military and militia members set on taking over the government. Michael and Gina need to stop them before they make good on their threat to kill millions and reinvent the government to fit their image..

The story starts with a bang and doesn't let up until the final word is written. The pace is rapid, the suspense acute and the action plentiful and never ending. Both Michael and Gina are intelligent, practical characters, quick to understand a problem and wiling to do what needs to be done to solve it. It makes them a good team, even when they are working the same problem from different ends of the country. As the final confrontation approaches, the intensity surges. The last few chapters left me breathless.

This is the kind of thriller that just never stops. Just when you think you can take a breath, the threat takes a new turn. I couldn't put it down. Even better, the end of the story leaves Michael and Gina in position that suggests we'll see them working together again.
.

Was this review helpful?

This action packed novel starts out with a terrorist attack on the Statue of Liberty. This brings together the 2 main characters, National Park Services Special Agent Michael Walker and ASAC FBI NY Chief, Gina Delgado to form the Joint Terrorism Task Force to look into the attack. Initially, there is a little friction between the two as they determine their boundaries and jurisdictions, but when a 15 yr old boy tells Michael about the video he recorded on his iphone, they begin to team up to stop further attacks.
The video identifies a military officer who supposedly died in a helicopter crash along with 11 other soldiers, who were also in a retired military boat at the time of the attack. With a day or so after this attack, the team gets wind of another potential target - Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell - and Gina and Michael rush to the scene to avert it.. Several other National parks are attack sites and the authors deftly weave the details of the MC backgrounds and motivations into the story, making them come alive. The thought of domestic terrorism on this scale is frightening. The resolution was exciting, action packed, and believable, as it tied up all the loose ends,
I liked the opening lines of each chapter which gave a history and background of the different National Parks or sites used in that chapter.
It seems that this may be the first in a series of books and I think it would lead to a good TV series as well - I know that I'd watch it.
I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley and the publisher and the opinions expressed are my own

Was this review helpful?