My blog readers know I am a big fan of Dee Henderson! I have read and re-read her O'Malley series, and have read every book she's written since then. I was excited to see that she's starting a new series: the Evie Blackwell Cold Case series. I was even more excited after I read Traces of Guilt and fell in love with Evie Blackwell and the Thane family.
Every time I read one of her books, I find familiar names and faces, and I wonder if new characters are actually ones I've met before. I tried to search the internet for some document that would lay out all the books different characters showed up in, but no fan has created that yet. If Dee Henderson were a YA writer, some fan would have created it already. (Isn't there a Dee Henderson fandom blog out there somewhere?)
Traces of Guilt brings Evie Blackwell to Carin County as she takes the lead on a new task force to re-examine cold cases. Ann Falcon introduces her to Gabriel Thane, the local sheriff, and they work together to try to solve two cold cases. Those cases end up overlapping with two other cases in ways you initially don't expect. As you're meeting Evie and Gabriel, you also get to know and love the rest of Gabriel's family.
The solving of the two cold cases are well-written. There is a believable progression of new breaks and dead ends throughout the story. The pain of victims is treated with respect and care in all of Dee Henderson's books, and this one isn't any different.
In Traces of Guilt, we find hints of romances yet to bloom in future books. As with most of Dee's books, the characters don't rush headlong and emotion-driven into relationships. Each relationship is handled cautiously and with careful consideration and prayer. In other words, these are books written for adults, about mature adults. Unlike many books written for adults, these are clean, with little focus on physical attraction and relationships. The romance is secondary to the plot, rather than being the plot.
I appreciated the return to the police force and emergency services in this book. Although I have enjoyed Dee's military books, I feel that her mysteries and those involving the police and emergency services are her best books. Although this particular story didn't have any imminent danger to the primary characters, the set-up is there for danger in future books.
I'm looking forward to more of Evie Blackwell Cold Case books. I hope I don't have to wait too long!