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 grew up in Carin County and is now its sheriff, a job he loves. Gabriel 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 focused on unsolved crimes across the state. She will work with the sheriff's department on a couple of its most troubling missing-person cases. As she studies old evidence to pull out a few tenuous new leads, she unearths surprising connections. One way or another, she knows Gabriel Thane and his family will be key to the answers she seeks.
Some books I start reading, get a few pages in (or not even that far), and start bemoaning the fact that I picked up the book in the first place (I never not finish a novel - unless the content itself is really questionable). Other books, upon reading the first few pages, I get a silly grin on my face, and I wiggle a little deeper into the couch as I know - just know - it's going to be a *good* read (and start bemoaning the fact that the story has to come to an end!).
Traces of Guilt falls into the latter category. It truly showcases some of Dee's best writing, and is easily one of my favourite novels of hers to date. The character depth, the multi-faceted story, and the intriguing mystery all result in one knockout novel (and take into consideration that I was already mentally writing this review when I was a few chapters into the book - it was that good from the get-go!). Dee brings back the Falcons, who have been staple supporting characters over the past few novels. I found the inclusion of them, particularly Ann, really help anchor the story as a presence of a consistent character who really seems to know everybody. It allows the transitioning from character to character to run smoothly as Ann is the "middle-woman" (for a lack of better term) and brings everyone together.
I'm so happy to see that Traces of Guilt is the start of a new series, centered around Evie Blackwell. Evie is a vibrant and tenacious character that I really would like to see more of. Of course, the rest of the characters, including the Thane family, are equally interesting and admirable with their intense loyalty, deep maturity, strong faith, and steadfast love for one another. Can't wait for the next installment!
Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.