Traces of Guilt
Dee Henderson
Published by Bethany House
400 Pages
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.

REVIEW: Cold cases are brought to the front burner with a new task force headed up by Ann Falcon (who readers have met in other novels by this author) under the request of the Governor.

Ann seeks the help of longtime friends The Thane brothers who live in Carin County where these cases took place. Evie is using her vacation time to dig into a twelve year old case. The first case she digs into is the Florist family disappearance. Sheriff Gabriel Thane is also a friend of Ann and is recruited by her to help in review clues in these cases. He helps Evie set up an office where she can work. The Sheriff likes her perspective. She sees things with fresh eyes; and has a new way of thinking. She likes solving real-life puzzles. Gabriel likes how she works. She says, “You’ve spent twelve years eliminating things…What is the motive? Were the deputy and family a chance encounter or were they targeted?” She was looking for the trigger event. She continues, “The more years pass, the more some people get annoyed with each other, drift apart, find old tensions simmering. The former-friend who will now give him up is a powerful investigative tool… you can find him by a general pattern he leaves in his wake. Violence rarely limits itself to a single type of assault…Who were people afraid of back then? Who are people afraid of today? Sometimes that question points to the right direction.”

The novel reminds me of a T.V. show I like to watch Elementary. Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson dig through information and crime scenes trying to come up with the very things Evie mentions above. They hang their items up to create an evidence wall (like Evie does in this novel). It helps them see how things are intertwined; maybe discovering connections they hadn’t noticed before. There is no suspense and drama to the story it’s just the facts and a very interesting story line.

Dee Henderson writes a fascinating story from an investigators point of view. I found it interesting to read how they go about beginning their search. I felt like I was in the room with Evie and Sheriff Gabriel as they went about brainstorming the facts about the two cold cases. This is not a light read. Some of the evidence and situations they investigate are heart breaking. I liked the relationship aspect of this novel as well. It was fun to see the rich layers this author has created. I was glad to see Ann and Paul Falcon again and meet the Thane brothers, Gabriel, Will, and Joshua. Will is retired military and Joshua owns a bait and tackle shop.

This author gives readers an honest look at what investigators do to get to the bottom of things that have gone cold. It sure makes me glad that people like to jump in and try to solve these puzzles. It’s not easy. Not sure I could do any of this.

This author has changed her writing style over the years. Other novels I’ve read by her were nail biting suspenseful. These newer novels are kind a behind the scenes look at the professionals that do the job of seeking out the criminals and in this case trying to find out who done what years ago.

ABOUT AUTHOR: Dee Henderson is the author of 14 best-selling novels, including the acclaimed O'Malley series and the Uncommon Heroes series. As a leader in the inspirational romantic suspense category, her books have won or been nominated for several prestigious industry awards, including the RWA's RITA Award, the Christy Award, the ECPA Gold Medallion, the Holt Medallion, the National Readers' Choice Award, and the Golden Quill. Dee is a lifelong resident of Illinois and is active online. Visit her at .

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”

Nora St. Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins!
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