Dee Henderson is the popular and award-winning author of many bestselling series, but honestly, after reading her latest novel, I don’t see what all the hype for her writing is about. “Traces of Guilt: An Evie Blackwell Cold Case”, was published by Bethany House late in 2016. It is presumably the first of a new series, but is somehow connected to many of Henderson’s previous books as well. In any case, I was excited to dive into what I hoped would be a fascinating mystery filled with twists and turns as a years-old mystery is finally solved. That’s what a cold case mystery novel is, right? Unfortunately, not so much…
“Traces of Guilt” was disappointing for several primary reasons:
#1. The dialogue! Constant conversing caused me to close the book in disgust numerous times. The characters talked and talked and talked, but rarely in realistic-sounding conversations. The majority of the story, including character development and mystery solving, was revealed through dialogue. It was truly annoying.
#2. The mystery element was unsatisfactory. There were too many cold case mysteries vying for the reader’s attention, yet several of them were solved before they even really had a chance to be opened. It was strange. Even stranger was the fact that a couple of the mysteries were not solved at all, and the primary case was extremely anticlimactic.
#3. It was depressing. “Traces of Guilt” was no lift-your-spirits, justice-is-found, the-families-finally-have-closure story. No, it was more like a haunting walk through the past, which happened to be filled with numerous, ugly, troubling secrets. The darkness of this book often overshadowed everything else, and was perhaps the biggest reason for my dislike.
#4. It was boring. I had to strive not to fall asleep! In a book labelled as Romantic Suspense, wouldn’t you expect a little, say, romance and suspense? Well, “Traces of Guilt” had very little of either. It was more focused on introspection, mostly through dialogue (see Reason #1).
As is probably crystal clear by now, I had very little patience for the first book in the “Evie Blackwell Cold Case” series, and do not plan on reading the next title. If you are an ardent fan of Dee Henderson who reads and enjoys each one of her books, perhaps you will find this one to your liking. But if you aren’t an ardent fan, well, I don’t recommend it… There are so many other Christian Romantic Suspense novels available that are exponentially better.
“Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.”