Friday, April 28, 2017

Traces of Guilt by Dee Henderson

Released: May 3, 2016
400 pages
Series: An Evie Blackwell Cold Case # 1
About the Book:
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.
My Rating & Thoughts:    🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 (4 stars) 
“It’s a good thing our prayers don’t require instructions for God – He knows what each one of us needs.”

There is so much going on within this story. Evie, working with the state cold case task force, comes to town to work on two cold cases seeing if she can find answers to get them solved. She works closely with the town sheriff, Gabe, on this and gets to know him and his family. While the two cases are the main storyline of the book, so much more is going on. Secrets are revealed, a new search for answers begins, and a separate case gets solved. The cases are very personal to the characters and take an emotional toll not only on Gabe, but also on his parents and his two brothers who play a big part of the story. Ann & Paul Falcon (characters from previous books) also play a large role in the story, providing connections and support when they can. The cases were heartbreaking, I could feel and understand the emotional toll the characters were going though. I enjoyed following Evie and Gabe chase leads and piece together clues to solve the cases. I found myself fighting between needing to put the book down because I was emotional but not wanting to because I wanted answers.

The character development was wonderfully done, I felt like I really got to know so many of the characters really well. I loved the Thane family (hope they all return again). They were supportive and protective of one another, welcoming to others and strong in their pursuit of justice for their community and friends. There was a bit of romance between multiple characters mixed in which helped make the story not so heavy. I adored the way Josh was with Grace. Then there was Will & Karen, Ann & Paul, Caleb & Marie, even Gabe & Evie in a way.

Gabe was probably my favourite character, as the town sheriff he ends up carrying everything on his shoulders but other than his family’s support he has no one to turn to help ease the burden. There is a bond formed between him & Evie and there are some clear hints of attraction between them, but she is seeing someone else. I hope that a relationship between them is explored in future books.

Overall I really enjoyed this story and look forward to reading book 2 in the series to see where the task force takes Evie next and if anything will happen between her Gabe.
(I purchased my copy of this book; opinions expressed in this review are my honest opinion and completely my own.)


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