Thursday 14 July 2016

Book Review - Traces of Guilt by Dee Henderson

Review by Kathy Smail

"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."

Traces of Guilt is a complex but intriguing first book in what appears to be a new series for Henderson under the heading of 'An Evie Blackwell Cold Case'.

The story-line is intriguing and I found myself exploring possible scenarios as I read. My usual preference for quick resolution was kept nicely at bay as I read. The complex part is that the story is written from six points of view and the point of view changes many times through the book! To add potential fire to this scenario, the point of view changed six times in one particular chapter, although this varied in others. In my kindle version of the book the point of view characters were clearly stated and this made it much easier to follow, as I would suspect it could be tricky otherwise.

This cold case gathers characters from previous Henderson novels and would appear to be developing a family of characters for this series. The characters have a warmth about them that I enjoyed. 

There are also at least two very obvious story lines presumably added for further story installments in this series but I wonder if it may have been better if these were less involved in this book.

As with other books in this genre, there are situations discussed which may have triggers for some readers but I felt that these were handled in a sensitive way and allowed the story to flow.

Although I took my time, I was keen to get to the conclusion which was different from what I had expected. I quite enjoyed that aspect.

Kathy Smail, after her family roles, is a Communicator who loves the impact of words and is working on a novel, when she can drag herself away from reading. 

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  1. Thanks for the review Kathy. How does the book compare to Full Disclosure and Unspoken (the two Dee Henderson books I've read & had mixed feeling about)?

    1. My apologies Jeanette, I didn't receive a notification about your comment. I think her style has changes, as I guess anyone's would over time. They feel a little grittier than perhaps the O'Malley series.

  2. Hi Kathy - I've enjoyed all the Dee Henderson books I've read so far. Looks like this one will be going on my TBR pile :)

  3. Hi Kathy, I loved the O'Malley series but, like Jeanette, I wasn't as enthralled by her more recent releases. The premise of this book is interesting - thanks for sharing your review :)

    1. I've found her newer ones a little grittier than her previous ones. I'd like a bit of a family tree to keep up with the characters sometimes.


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