Gregg Main

Gregg Main

Gregg Main is a graduate of California State University and the University of Iowa Writers Workshop. He has worked as a teacher, a technical editor, a bookkeeper, and a screenwriter. His screenplays have been sold to Paramount, Disney, and Twentieth Century Fox.

Every Trace
(HarperCollins, 1999)

The adrenaline-charged debut novel of a husband, a wife, and two killers locked in a twisted match of hide-and-seek. Ellen has murder on her mind: a secret, untraceable act of retribution; payback for a horrifying act from her childhood that shattered her family and changed her life forever. After years of searching, the time for action has arrived. She takes to the road in pursuit of a man called Walker--setting into motion a plan so carefully crafted no one knows where she's gone. Not even her husband, Pete, a college teacher who wakes up one morning alone in their bed. Unaware of her secret past, Pete suspects only that a troubled marriage has reached its end. With the slimmest of clues, a confused and desperate Pete leaves their Dallas home and begins to trace Ellen's path. Tracking Walker to Los Angeles, Ellen figures a gun to his head will get her the identity of the prey she ultimately seeks. But her plan takes a series of horribly unexpected turns, and--in a bizarre twist--she joins forces with Walker on a wild run that inevitably leads them both to an evil they cannot escape.

As Pete pieces together the truth behind Ellen's disappearance, he realizes that his ignorance of his wife's secrets has not only jeopardized their marriage but may also cost Ellen her life. Certain of nothing but the need to find her, Pete crisscrosses the country in a harrowing race against the clock that ends in a brutal, fiery confrontation on a New Mexico mountaintop.

Both gripping suspense and powerful human drama, Every Trace deftly weaves together themes of betrayal and redemption in a novel no reader will soon forget.

Every Trace

From the Los Angeles Times Book Review
"The mystery of Main's tale lies in the revelation of apparently affectionate spouses can share bed, bathroom, tax returns, even the microwave over the years without revealing their innermost obsessions. Keeps one reading."

From Publishers Weekly
"Readers will take pleasure in observing...the memorable character of a 63 year-old paroled murderer [and his] metamorphosis from wary survivor to positive action-taker, and [in] Main's ability to craft swift, highly charged scenes."

From Kirkus Reviews, January 15, 1999
A debut novelist pushes most of the right buttons in this clever suspenser about revenge gone awry. At the age of four, Ellen Donelly sees her father murdered. Nightmares follow in a blighted childhood. When she's older, she begins to experience the steadily rising need for vengeance. In this she's joined by a powerful ally, her mother. Two killers, the police had said, but only Franklin Walker was ever arrested, tried, or convicted. Now, after 30 years, he's paroled and disappears almost at once from view. With him at large, the women rededicate themselves and vow to track him down. Their intent and they never shy from brutality is to kill him, but not before they force him to reveal the identity of his accomplice. Unexpectedly, Ellen's mother dies. Ellen's resolve, however, remains intact. As unobtrusively as possible, she slips out of Dallas for L.A., where, according to the p.i. she's hired, Walker has gone to ground. All of this, incidentally (the years of inner turmoil, the renewed commitment), has been kept from her husband: at first, she simply wanted love and romance to be cocooned and thus protected; later, there were reasons not to trust him. So Pete knows only that she's vanished. Naturally, he tries to find her. And, of course, Ellen tries to find Walker (who turns out to be something other than the bloodthirsty beast of her terrible dreams). Soon enough, the missing murderer, understanding himself to be suddenly endangered, is thrust into pursuit of them all. The cast converges violently in a remote cabin near Santa Fe. There's shooting, death, and in the smoke-clearing aftermath, a neat resolution. Formula stuff by and large, but with some nicely engineered surprises to tingle the spine.

From Booklist
"The tension mounts quickly as Main springs numerous plot twists in a way that belies his status as a first novelist ... a book that seriously examines issues of vengeance, obsession, and personal transformation within the framework of the traditional thriller. Highly recommended."

From the Washington, PA Observer-Reporter
"Main flawlessly combines a fast-paced, suspenseful chase with the drama of human misunderstandings and regrets. Cutting back and forth from Pete's point of view to Ellen's to Walker's, the reader will finish "Every Trace" certain that the ending was the best one possible.

From The San Diego Union
"This is Main's debut novel. It begins on an intriguing note and continues on crescendo through the end. Remember his name, you'll hear it often."