An IndieNext Pick!
"Gripping...Blanchard keeps the tension high." - Associated Press
From Alice Blanchard, the author of the New York Times Notable mystery novel Darkness Peering comes Trace of Evil, first in an evocative new series about a small New York town, its deeply held secrets, and the woman determined to uncover them, no matter what the cost.
There’s something wicked in Burning Lake…
Natalie Lockhart is a rookie detective in Burning Lake, New York, an isolated town known for its dark past. Tasked with uncovering the whereabouts of nine missing transients who have disappeared over the years, Natalie wrestles with the town’s troubled history – and the scars left by her sister’s unsolved murder years ago.
Then Daisy Buckner, a beloved schoolteacher, is found dead on her kitchen floor, and a suspect immediately comes to mind. But it’s not that simple. The suspect is in a coma, collapsed only hours after the teacher’s death, and it turns out Daisy had secrets of her own. Natalie knows there is more to the case, but as the investigation deepens, even she cannot predict the far-reaching consequences – for the victim, for the missing of Burning Lake, and for herself.
Set in Upstate New York, this gripping series launch from Blanchard (The Breathtaker) examines how violent secrets from the past resurface in a rural community. Det. Natalie Lockhart, a rookie cop, still struggles with the beating death of her older sister, Willow, 20 years earlier. Another sister, Grace, who's raising a 15-year-old daughter, Ellie, urges Natalie to bury her memories and focus on the recent murder of schoolteacher Daisy Buckner. Meanwhile, Ellie is drawn to dark rituals that renew Natalie's suspicions about Willow's murder. The setting provides visual interest, and the resourceful, sympathetic Natalie drives the action. Blanchard occasionally undermines tension by relying heavily on subplots, a large number of extraneous characters, and misdirection. However, she delivers the goods in a sharp, if derivative, showdown between Natalie and the serial killer who crossed her path many years ago. Flush with red herrings, Wiccan symbols, and disaffected teens, this book will appeal to fans of criminal investigations led by empowered women.
A Natalie Lockhart Novel
Trace of Evil by Alice Blanchard has Natalie Lockhart along with her sister, Grace and niece, Ellie remembering her sister, Willow who was murdered twenty years ago. Though Willow’s killer is serving time, Natalie has her doubts that the right man is in prison. Natalie followed in her father’s footsteps becoming an officer with Burning Lake Police Department. She uses the wisdom she learned from him to help her solve cases. Natalie is now the newest detective on the force handling the cold case of the Missing Nine. For twenty five years transients have gone missing in the area and not one detective in all that time has been able to solve the crimes. Natalie takes Brand Buckner home one evening after he has had too much to drink, to find his pregnant wife, Daisy dead in the kitchen. As Natalie works the case, she uncovers startling information. Natalie finds clues regarding the Missing Nine along the way and her doubts about Willow’s killer may be justified. The results of Natalie’s investigation will change her life and others forever. Trace of Evil is the first book in a new series starring Natalie Lockhart. Trace of Evil has multiple storylines making it a complex novel. I was unable to get into Trace of Evil despite my best attempts. The descriptions were detailed which led to dry reading plus the dialogue was off putting. I soon found myself skimming through the book (this is not a good sign). I easily kept up with what was happening, and I kept reading to see if I had picked out the correct guilty party. I do want to let you know that there is foul language and detailed violence. I also thought Trace of Evil was a little long with 370 pages. Trace of Evil has all the aspects for a good mystery, but it did not quite come together. With the right writing, Trace of Evil could be the beginning of a good mystery series. The beauty of books is that we each view them differently. I suggest you obtain a sample of Trace of Evil to see if it appeals to you and if you can uncover the killer’s identity.