Traces of Guilt
by Dee Henderson
Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Released: May 3rd 2016
Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.
Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Evie Blackwell loves her life as an Illinois State Police Detective and is very skilled at investigations. 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.
Evie arrives in Carin, Illinois as a part of 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. Evie's determined to solve the cases before she leaves Carin County.
Traces of Guilt is general fiction, not a romantic suspense. Evie is happy as a single woman (by which she means she's happy dating a man who wants to marry her but whom she doesn't intend to marry). This doesn't change, but we don't meet her boyfriend.
The task force was looking at a bunch of cold cases, so there's no suspense. They talk about what might have happened and possible leads. They talk about what they did and what they discovered. They think and talk about how they feel very sad and how heartbreaking and painful it is to work these cases. We're rarely allowed to be "in on the action" with an actual scene of an interview or when finding physical evidence.
There were plenty of cases--a missing girl, a missing family, missing parents, two murdered pedophiles, and a woman in hiding from a killer--yet it's not a mystery genre. In two of the missing cases, they know whodunit. It's just a matter of finding the bodies, and they know where to look. There was no justice in those cases, just providing resolution.
Gab and Evie also worked the missing family case, which got nowhere and Evie went home. Then, in the last chapter, a new, chance clue allowed Gab to solve the case, and Gab provided Evie (and the reader) with a brief summary of his investigation. We don't even know whodunit exists before this point. Again, no justice. And, for all her work, Evie didn't solve any of the mysteries.
Frankly, what we had were six viewpoint characters struggling emotionally with what happened in the past and what they want in the future. That was the focus of the story. The Thane family was nice, but I didn't really connect with the women characters. The Christian element was a few prayers and the fact that they go to church. There was no sex or bad language.
If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.
Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.