Traces of Guilt by Dee Henderson
Reviewed by: Pam Graber
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Publication Date: May 3, 2016
I’m a Dee Henderson fan. Her O’Malley series still sets the standard for suspense reading. That said, I’ve had issues with her last several books. They take so long to get to the gripping part of the story that I’ve been known to quit before I really get into the book. Traces of Guilt did much the same thing, wandering around for almost 7 chapters before grabbing me by the throat and hanging on to the end. Quitting early would have been a mistake here and that gives me hope that maybe I should go back and try again with some of the others.
“Traces of Guilt” introduces us to Detective Evie Blackwell, Illinois State Police. She is sent to Carin County, home of Sheriff Gabriel Thane, to look into two cold cases to see if she can stir up any new clues. Using two weeks of her vacation time before she joins the governor’s cold case task force, Evie’s “new set of eyes” brings leads that Gabriel’s men overlooked thirteen years before. As the dead ends mount, can Evie find the one piece of evidence she needs to close at least one of the cases?
Gabriel Thane is frankly a little insulted that the governor thinks his department needs help but, since his friend Ann (Silver) Falcon recommends Evie to him he’s willing to let her bang her head against the same brick walls he hit. When Ann brings him a lead he never would have guessed, he realizes he may need help after all. (Dee Henderson readers will recognize Ann from the book “Full Disclosure”.)
I liked the family dynamics in the Thane brothers – Gabriel, Will & Joshua – and their father. Each has a different gift but each is willing to step in and help in any way they can. I expect that future books, while still primarily focusing on Evie Blackwell, will also continue storylines for these brothers. At least, that’s what I would hope to see. What happens with Will and Karen? Joshua and Grace? Gabriel & Evie?
I also appreciated the strong faith aspect portrayed here. Gabriel, Evie, Ann, and many of the others all used prayer as a first line of defense, not a last resort, and all were very open in being Christ followers. In their professions, I would think it is crucial to know that evil does not win in the end!
Mystery and suspense readers will definitely appreciate this one but keep in mind it starts slow! There’s also just a touch of a hint of romance – not enough to satisfy the romance addict but plenty for those who prefer to build their relationships slowly. I look forward to where book 2 “Threads of Suspicion” in the Evie Blackwell Cold Cases series will take me!
Rated PG: There is some discussion of pedophilia and one little girl is murdered because of it. Not something for the young reader.
Reviewer’s copy was provided by the Publisher via NetGalley. Thank you!