Traces is a series of six 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.
- Arranged Marriage: Pairings work this way. It becomes a source of conflict in many of the books, most notably between Luke and Jade.
- Brilliant but Lazy: Luke was this in his school days. Mildly deconstructed in that some students resent him for it.
- Buried Alive: What Ian Pritchard nearly did to Luke in Final Lap.
- Endangered Species: Cats and dogs. A cat smuggling operation was even central though a Red Herring to the plot of Framed!
- Excited Show Title!: Framed!.
- Faking the Death: Camilla in Double Check. She tries it again during the investigation, but Luke isn't fooled.
- 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.
- Frame-Up: 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.
- 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.
- Literal-Minded: Malc.
- 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.
- Non-Human Sidekick: Malc.
- Parental Abandonment: After children are sent to school they aren't allowed to see their parents again. Subverted in Blood Brother where Luke's father appears.
- Robot Buddy: Malc.
- Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: Luke and Jade.
- Smoking Is Cool: Inverted; smoking is illegal in the Traces verse.
- 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.
- 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.
- Token White: Owen Goode is the only recurring white character.
- Trademark Favourite Food: Pomegranates for Luke.