Traces of Guilt

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Traces of Guilt
Dee Henderson
Bethany House 

A Riveting Cold-Case Mystery from Dee Henderson 
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.

     I feel that labeling this "An Evie Blackwell Cold Case" might be a bit of a misnomer; Evie is only one of several main characters who all have pretty substantial amounts of time dedicated to them in this novel. That didn't bother me, since I enjoy large casts of characters; it was just different than what I expected. In that same vein, I wouldn't say it was really romantic suspense either, since the main characters themselves were never in danger, and while there were hints of romance, there really wasn't much of it. Again- this didn't bother me, although there was a lot more talking and exposition than action, which could drag things out. The mystery was more of a puzzle than anything else, which I loved. That being said, I found the ending rather disappointing. SPOILER the solutions to the trio of cases weren't as elaborate as I'd hoped, and the last one almost seemed completely unrelated to any of the leads they'd had. Maybe that's truer to life, but it just didn't seem very satisfying to me as a reader. *END OF SPOILER*

     The characters were likable, probably a lot like the people you'd wave and say 'hi' to at church or the grocery store (although I felt that it was much easier to get a handle on the male characters and their personalities more than the female ones.) All in all, though, this was a heavy book. Not only because of the particular nature of the murder/missing persons cases, but also because nearly every character had a tragic backstory. Perhaps this was part of the reason the book didn't really win me over, although it kept my attention and I'm sure that fans of Henderson will enjoy the appearances and mentions of some of her characters from other books.

Rating: 7

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

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