Trace of Evil (Natalie Lockhart #1) by Alice Blanchard
Published December 3rd 2019 by Minotaur Books
This is the first book in the Natalie Lockhart series and it is a great start. Natalie is a rookie on the Burning Lake police force and is the investigating officer on the murder of her sister’s best friend and a police detective’s wife, Daisy. She is also investigating several cold cases where nine people have gone missing. She also has a lot of baggage as her oldest sister, Willow, was murdered when she was a teenager and someone is desecrating the spot where she was murdered and memorials have been set up. Burning Lake is a hotbed of wicken and several covens, including one that her niece belongs to are active in the area. Will Natalie figure out who killed Daisy or the missing nine?
There are a lot of characters in this story, so you need to pay close attention at the beginning until you get a handle on them all. I liked the character of Natalie. She cares about the law and getting justice for those who need it. She is friends with Bunny, a homeless woman with mental health issues who had been friends with her middle sister. She has a pretty good relationship with her niece and her friends and they are usually pretty open with her, until she gets a bit to close to their actions that put her niece in danger. There are drug addicts, teachers, police officers and many other secondary characters that did cause a bit of confusion at times, but not enough to derail the story for me. This story kept me interested from the first page. The writing was crisp and kept me interested. Natalie was courageous and she persevered even in the face of danger. There was a shocking revelation near the end that had my jaw dropping, but you will have to read this one to find out what that was. I will definitely watch for more in this series so I can see how Natalie grows and deals with the situations in this book. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book upon request. The rating, ideas and opinions shared are my own.
About the Book: A riveting mystery that introduces a bold and audacious rookie detective assigned to hunt for a killer who is haunted by the past in this gripping murder case…
Natalie Lockhart always knew she was going to be a cop. A rookie detective on the Burning Lake police force, she was raised on the wisdom of her chief-of-police father. These cases will haunt you if you let them. Grief doesn’t come with instructions.
But the one thing her father couldn’t teach her was how to handle loss. Natalie’s beloved sister was viciously murdered as a teenager, and she carries the scars deep in her heart. Although the killer was locked up, the trace evidence never added up, and Natalie can’t help wondering―is the past really behind her?
As the newest member on the force, Natalie is tasked with finding nine missing persons who’ve vanished off the face of the earth, dubbed “the Missing Nine.” One night, while following up on a new lead, she comes across a savage crime that will change everything.
Daisy Buckner―a popular schoolteacher, wife to a cop, and newly pregnant―lies dead on her kitchen floor. As Natalie hunts for Daisy’s killer in the wake of the town’s shock, her search leads to a string of strange clues―about the Missing Nine, about Daisy’s secret life, and reviving fresh doubts about her sister’s murder.
As the investigation deepens, Natalie’s every move risks far-reaching consequences―for the victims, for the town of Burning Lake, and for herself.