Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Review: Traces of Guilt by Dee Henderson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

She's turning up the heat on Carin County's cold cases . . .

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 grew up in Carin County and is 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 focused on unsolved crimes across the state. She will work with the sheriff's department on a couple of its most troubling missing-persons cases. As she studies old evidence to pull out a few tenuous new leads, she unearths surprising connections. One way or another, she knows Gabriel Thane and his family will be key to the answers she seeks.

Dee Henderson is such an experienced and engaging writer. I was really looking forward to reading this book and it did not disappoint!

There are many dynamics and threads running through this book and also characters and mentions of characters from previous books. So even though this can be read as a stand alone and, I believe, is the start of a new series, it does help if you are familiar with and have read her previous books (especially the more recent ones).

I enjoyed getting to know the Thane brothers. Each one had their own personality and situations in life. You get a look into each one in this small town story - enough to get invested and hope to hear more about them in the future books! I think I probably liked Gabriel the best. He seemed to have the most character of the three. Josh is quieter and more in the background and Will is a little on the solemn side due to his stint in the military. Although Will's reaction to Karen's past is probably the most romantic part of the story. :)

Like I said, there were several threads running through this book. Not only are you introduced to Evie, who is working 2 cold cases (with the help of Ann Falcon - a character from other Dee Henderson books) that end up running into a couple of other crimes, you also get introduced to Karen and her past. I'm not really sure that whole thing with Karen's past even fit in this book except to just give Will a romantic interest. Maybe it will be featured in a future book but I just didn't think it fit here. Then there is Grace, whose heartbreaking past is just being made known to the Thane family, who are all stricken by what they learn. Her story also includes a cold case that will affect the lives of the Thanes.

This book is a well written police procedural with a solid mystery that was intriguing to follow. Romantic suspense it was not. More of a family drama. I can only hope that the small small sparks of attraction between Gabriel and Evie will move forward in the next book. :D Also, this is not a light story. The cold cases and mysteries bring to light sexual abuse and murder as well as mention of a violent stalker and dead bodies. A clean read with no details just the facts of the cases. Reminded me of watching a cop TV show or movie.

*Thanks to Bethany House and NetGalley for a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes. All opinions stated are my own.*

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