Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Trace of Evil by Alice Blanchard (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Natalie Lockhart always knew she was going to be a cop. A rookie detective on the Burning Lake police force, she was raised on the wisdom of her chief-of-police father. These cases will haunt you if you let them. Grief doesn’t come with instructions.

But the one thing her father couldn’t teach her was how to handle loss. Natalie’s beloved sister was viciously murdered as a teenager, and she carries the scars deep in her heart. Although the killer was locked up, the trace evidence never added up, and Natalie can’t help wondering―is the past really behind her?

As the newest member on the force, Natalie is tasked with finding nine missing persons who’ve vanished off the face of the earth, dubbed “the Missing Nine.” One night, while following up on a new lead, she comes across a savage crime that will change everything.

Daisy Buckner―a popular schoolteacher, wife to a cop, and newly pregnant―lies dead on her kitchen floor. As Natalie hunts for Daisy’s killer in the wake of the town’s shock, her search leads to a string of strange clues―about the Missing Nine, about Daisy’s secret life, and reviving fresh doubts about her sister’s murder.
As the investigation deepens, Natalie’s every move risks far-reaching consequences―for the victims, for the town of Burning Lake, and for herself."

My Thoughts:

I jumped at the chance to read this book as soon as I saw that it featured a female detective main character as the focus of this book.  I've really been hooked on finding new series like this to follow so I knew that this one needed to be on my TBR list immediately.  I'm really glad that I didn't wait on this book because I enjoyed it a lot.  One of the things that I liked most about this book was how atmospheric it was.  From the very beginning, the author pulled me into this small town with its' dark past.  I loved the hints of witchcraft that were sprinkled in throughout this book.  It just added to the suspense and darkness that was present during the entire book.  I also really enjoyed the fact that there were two different mysteries that Natalie was looking into.  One is regarding the "Missing Nine" which is a cold case involving nine different missing persons throughout the years that have never been found.  She is just starting to dig into that case when she becomes the lead detective on the murder of Daisy Buckner.  These two cases have intersecting parts here and there that helped to keep me guessing the entire time.  My one complaint with this book was the constant flashbacks or memories that were included.  Normally, this isn't something that bothers me but when I say it was constant I'm not exaggerating.  It happened with every single individual that Natalie came across and honestly it was a bit distracting at times.  That being said, I enjoyed everything else about this book.  The mysteries both kept me guessing until the very end.  I also quite liked Natalie's character.  She is persistent and unafraid to look into every single corner in search of the truth.  The ending of this book really kept me reading and unable to put it down.  I'm excited that this is just the first book in this series and that we will have more of Natalie and this creepy little town to look forward to in future books.   

Overall, I enjoyed this book and am definitely planning on continuing on with this series.  I loved the fact that the author included hints of witchcraft throughout the book.  It really added to the suspense and atmosphere of the entire book.  This book also helped to reaffirm why I enjoy mysteries featuring female detectives as the leads so much!  I think that I will always be drawn to police procedurals and books like this are exactly why.  I love the mystery of them as well as watching the investigation go along as the characters search for the murderer and whys behind it all.  I would recommend this book to readers of mysteries and suspense.  Recommended!

Bottom Line:  An atmospheric mystery that kept me guessing until the very end.

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book for review thanks to the publisher.  Honest thoughts are my own.


  1. I had noticed this one and so I'm glad it turned out well for you. Sounds like one I'd like too. Hopefully, my library will acquire it before long!

  2. This does sound intriguing and I'm always on the lookout for a new series. I'll have to look for this one!


Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment. I appreciate each and every one of them :)