Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Traces of Guilt (Evie Blackwell Cold Case Book #1) by Dee Henderson

Star Rating : 4 out of 5
Content Rating : NONE
Back Cover :

Evie Blackwell loves her life as an Illinois State Police detective . . . mostly. She's very skilled at investigations and has steadily moved up through the ranks. She would like to find Mr. Right, but she has a hard time imagining how marriage could work, considering the demands of her job.

Gabriel Thane is a lifetime resident of Carin County and now its sheriff, a job he loves. Gabe is committed to upholding the law and cares deeply for the residents he's sworn to protect. He too would like to find a lifetime companion, a marriage like his parents have.

When Evie arrives in Carin, Illinois, it's to help launch a new task force dedicated to reexamining unsolved crimes across the state. Spearheading this trial run, Evie will work with the sheriff's department on a couple of its most troubling missing-persons cases. As she reexamines old evidence to pull out a few tenuous new leads, she unearths a surprising connection . . . possibly to a third cold case. Evie's determined to solve the cases before she leaves Carin County, and Sheriff Thane, along with his family, will be key to those answers.”
My Thoughts :

I am a Dee Henderson fan; I have all of her books. Her original series the O’Malley’s is still the best. I have read the series through at least three times. However, her latest stories have been missing something for me. They focused on the relationships, as is Henderson’s strength; but, nothing actually really happens in the book. This book, thankfully, does not follow the trend. It’s not what I would call exciting or suspenseful; but I enjoyed getting to know these new characters and solving the puzzles along the way. It’s definitely a keeper.

This book is rated as NONE. There is no offensive language, violence, or sex. This is a book about crimes, so keep in mind that there are some adult themes that comes with those.

What I liked : 

  • The Characters – Henderson writes characters so wonderfully. Every time I pick up one of her books, I am immediately drawn in by the character. The book plot can be lacking but I still end up reading it simply because of the character. In this book, Henderson introduces a new cast of characters. It seems a bit like Ann, the common character in her last several books, is passing on the torch to Evie, so to speak. There are a big cast of characters in this book; but, the main two are Evie and Sheriff Thane. The big cast leaves plenty of room for story telling as the series develops.
  • Problem Solving – This book is all about the problem solving; the romance takes a back seat. But don’t worry, this book leaves open plenty of opportunities for that later in the series. The book sets the stage for the series while still focusing on the cases. The fact the cases are cold keeps the story more relaxed. It’s not an on the edge of your seat book. Henderson thrives in building the relationships; and, this style allows her to flesh those out at the same time as solve the case. I look forward to more of Evie’s cold cases.  
  • Christian Themes – Henderson always does a good job weaving the Christian themes into her books. It’s encouraging without overpowering the story. My only complaint here is sometimes her characters come off being too perfect in their faith.   

What I didn’t like : 

  • Ann vs Evie – To me Evie may be a little too close to the Ann character. I still enjoyed her character; but, hopefully going forward Henderson will find a way to separate Evie a little more.
  • Several Plots – This book had a lot going on in it. I know some readers will not enjoy trying to keep up with all the plot lines. Though I understand this is the first book in the series and she wanted to introduce everyone, I feel like maybe she could have held back a little and let us find out in the next book.  

What Others Are Saying :

Henderson treads very lightly in the faith department, keeping the investigations of the cold cases the focus of the story. Leaving as many mysteries in limbo as solved, Henderson ends this story with plenty of fodder for future installments.–Publishers Weekly

The mysteries explored in the story are nuanced and their resolutions surprising...The interplay of the characters is fascinating and sets up some intriguing scenarios for future installments.”—RT Book Reviews

Reviewed by Shayna Hinshaw

Pick up your copy at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

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