Traces is a series of books written by Malcolm Rose. They are set in an alternative UK where London is no longer the capital but one of the many slums in the south. At the age of five children are taken away from their parents to attend school where their choice of eventual careers is carefully chosen. Few children ever see their parents again. Marriages (or “pairings”) are arranged by the Authorities and based on compatibility of skills (artists are paired with artists – scientists with scientists). Love has no place in the pairings. Into this world, where whites are the minority, Luke Harding at the age of sixteen becomes the youngest Forensic Investigator ever. Together with his Malc (Mobile Aid to Law and Crime) Luke begins his career of investigating crime.
Book 1: Framed
After Luke Harding graduates school he becomes the youngest Forensic Investigator ever, a series of murders happen at Lukes school. He and Malc are assigned to their first investigation but things turn tricky when it appears that Luke is the most likely suspect.
Book 2: Lost Bullet
A doctor has been killed in front of a hospital and the bullet that killed her is missing. Luke and Malc are drawn into London’s seedy underground world and get mixed up with a group of anti-white radicals and a mysterious white boy named Owen.
Book 3: Roll Call
Luke and Malc investigate a series of events in which several people are dying. The only thing that links each death is that the victim has the same name as a famous opera singer ‘Emily Wonder’.
Book 4: Double Check
Luke and his Malc investigate possible corruption in a Paring Committee while also trying to prove the innocence of boy in jail who is due to being executed for murder.
Book 5: Final Lap
Luke and Malc are ordered to investigate a series of events that appear as if someone is trying to stop a sporting event (like the Olympics for youth). Are these random events or deliberate sabotage and will anyone die?
Book 6: Blood Brother
Luke and Malc investigate a hospital in which the death count is considerably higher than normal. They must find out if it is just coincidental or if someone is murdering terminal patients. During this investigation Luke meets his parents for the first time since he was five and his father is one of the leading suspects.