Trace of Evil

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 03 Dec 2019

Member Reviews

I really enjoyed this book. I read many books in this genre and it’s hard to find ones with truly original plots. This author  wove two different plots together successfully. I especially enjoyed the excellent writing. The author was able to set the mood  through the use of unusually descriptive  powerful adjectives. The suspense was ongoing and I was surprised to find out who the culprit was in the end.
Thank you for the opportunity to read and review this excellent book. It truly was a literary treat.
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Trace of Evil gets a solid 3.5 stars. I enjoyed the story but any of the writing elements could be tightened.
Natalie is a rookie coo working on her first murder investigation, a collection of cold cases. But when one of her friends are killed in cold blood, Natalie must navigate the reality of the world without forgetting those that suffered in the cold cases. 

I loved the story. I was pulled in from the moment they celebrate Grace's death anniversary. Natalie was a character that didn't hide much so you were able to really get into her head. The story then unfolds with witchcraft, abuse of nature, murder, and lies. How Natalie deals with each of these are shadowed byGrace so I was glad to see here come full circle by the end of the book.

The writing itself needs some work. The biggest issue is the pacing. The author throws in way too much background in places that slows the story keeps the suspense for building up. I skimmed over many paragraphs because I wanted to follow the plot. The other issue was there was a lot of creative freedom that ignored police procedure. A classic example is handling a voodoo without gloves even though Natalie knows better.
Alice Blanchard has a lot of potential. I want to read more of her work and see her grow into an author.
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Natalie is a rookie detective who is tasked with uncovering the “Missing Nine” when she ends up stumbling onto a murder scene during her on call shift. There’s also a lot of background talk about her sister’s death and the struggle to move on even after 20 years. The town is known for its Wiccan folklore which helps add to the feeling darkness of the town. Many of the residents, both past and present use witchcraft and have formed their own covens. The last 1/4 of the book felt like it came out of nowhere and didn’t really add up. The ending felt rushed to me. Overall it was a good read. Thanks to BookishFirst, NetGalley and the publisher for an advanced copy to read and review in exchange for an honest opinion


My review will be on Goodreads and on Amazon the day of publication.
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Trace of Evil unfolds in a sleepy tourist town near the Adirondack Mountains, in upstate New York. The tourist flock to see where 3 local witches were supposedly killed in the days of the witch hunts and Salem witch trials. Because of the ties to witches there has always been an interest in the occult and black magic and satanism and the town has cashed in on this to promote tourism. But on the whole it is a sweet town, where everyone knows his neighbors, and where everyone knows the secrets that this little town harbors. There is still teenage dabbling with the occult just like when Detective Natalie Lockhart was in school, there are troubled marriages just waiting for the trouble to bubble to the surface, and there is murder… too much murder… some solved, some unsolved, some cold cases and some new. As a new hire Natalie is given the cold case of the missing nine and is determined to help find out what happened to these girls over the years. Then comes a new murder – one very close to home - and Natalie has to separate her professional instincts from the personal feelings she has for the suspects. There is a lot more than a trace of evil hiding in this tiny town as you will discover when the shocking ending is revealed.
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Let me start off this review by stating that I REALLY hope this turns into a series.  Natalie Lockhart is a rookie detective in a quaint town in upstate New York.  The town dates back to the days of the Witch Hunts, and its dark past is both loved and hated by the locals.  Most of the high schoolers dabble in wicca and other forms of witchcraft.  

We meet Natalie as she is going to a "Death-aversary."  Natalie's sister was murdered when she was a beautiful, bright high school student, and Natalie and her older sister observe her death each year.  However, on the night of the Death-aversary, a beloved school teacher is found murdered on her kitchen floor.  Natalie feels that this is not a coincidence -- in fact, she begins to see a pattern between a handful of cold cases.  

Trace of Evil was unlike anything I ever read.  I loved the mix of the murder investigation, cold cases, and the underlying witchcraft theme.  It was the perfect read to kick off the fall season!
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My favorite part of the book is that I didn't see the reveal of the killer coming. That was the last person I would have suspected. Overall I like how all of the pieces came together.

I also enjoyed the descriptive settings. The author did a great job at showing you exactly where you are and what the characters were seeing.

I didn't like the half told love interest. It was hardly relevent to the story. The ending came at a suddenly rapid pace. I would have liked to enjoy India and Lindsey's consequences a bit more. There was also too much time spent on Riley and Luke early on to just ignore them in the ending.

The story is told at a slow pace with low suspense. I would be okay with that if the character development was better. I would not recommend. The writing is good, but the plot is mediocre.
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As mysteries go, this one was quite well done with characters I could relate to and a solid plot line. The ending seemed out of left field but overall it was a good read. I received an e-book from NetGalley in return for an unbiased review.
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This is the story of Natalie Lockhart who is a new detective who has a crazy past. Her sister was murdered and the killer is behind bars...or is that really the killer? She doesn’t think all of the evidence had really added up correctly and she’s wondering if the real killer is actually behind bars.

There are so many secrets that come up in the story it’s crazy. There’s rumors of witchcraft and more, and Natalie must find her way to the truth. The writing is so interesting and I was hooked from the beginning. It was such a great story that sucked me in and didn’t disappoint at all. I would recommend this book to my friends!
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Alice Blanchard always writes very engaging and exciting mysteries
Trace Of Evil is about a detective in a small town, which is not only isolated, but it is known for its dark, sordid past
Then, a much loved teacher is found murdered.
Natalie knows that this is not just a simple murder, but there are dark secrets concerning this case
So many twists and turns which lead to an exciting conclusion
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A Trace of Evil
Alice Blanchard
December 03, 2019

Detective Joey Lockhart worked hard in the police force.  He was well-respected and the father of 3 daughters.  He had always hoped for a son to pass his knowledge in the field but youngest daughter Natalie favored him and went on to become a detective in the Burning Lake Police Department.  Her father gave 35 years to the department.  She had a reputation to protect.
  Her story begins with the 20th anniversary of her oldest sister Willow’s death.  She was murdered and although the assailant was arrested, now resided in prison, it lay heavily on her heart.  Now that her parents had passed, she and her sister, Grace and niece, Ellie would meet at the cemetery and say a few words to their sister.  Natalie also paused in the cemetery at the tombs of some of the 9 people who had lost their lives. These victims are a cold case load the district had passed on to her when she made detective. Natalie kept up with her current caseload but she spent her free time working on those that had never been solved.  
The book gives a gruesome look at a murder that  the Burning Lake Department will need to crack.  As the victim is related to another detective on the force and close friends with Grace, it becomes a difficult process as well as a necessary one to solve quickly.
Ms. Blanchard weaves a frightening tale of the characters past and present.  She brings their lives into a surprising light as each travel through this spellbinding story.  It is a novel that continues to keep us on edge throughout.  It’s conclusion was quite the puzzle so I hesitate going further with any descriptive story line. Honestly,it is an excellent read.  It is a first for me with author Alice Blanchard.  If you are a fan, it is one not to miss.  Should you just like a good mystery, pick this one up.  
Trace of Evil by Alice Blanchard will be published December 03, 2019 by Minotaur Books of New York.  I appreciate their allowing me to read and review Blanchard’s newest selection.  Yes, it is awhile before publication but keep this one on your ‘To Be Read’ list.
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Trace of Evil is a fantastic suspense.  I was pulled immediately into the plot.  The plot and the characters are well crafted.  Thriller fans will love this book.  Thanks to the publisher for my advance ebook.  This is my unbiased review.
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This is my first book by Alice Blanchard, and I'm sure it won't be my last. 

This seems like a start to a great series.  There was a lot of information and some a little repetitive and drawn out, but overall the story flowed well and was intriguing.  there are a few twists that are rather unexpected and add to the unique elements of the story.
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I truly enjoyed this mystery. Being a NY'er made it even more exciting to figure out. I have to admit that the accuracy of a small town was spot on. The excitement built well, the author is easy to read and I will, and have, recommend this book to many!
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I thought this book was going to be really good. But it wasn't. It had a great premise of a plot, but the writing was clunky and somewhat un polished. I felt like the words and dialog didn't flow. Kind of like if I tried to write a book, it would end up sounding like this book. I also felt like there was a lot of unnecessary language. Even within the first few chapters. Make your characters learn more ways to articulate themselves than cursing constantly.
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I thank you for the opportunity to read and review this book. This author was new to me and I was not let down. It was a great story and very well written. The characters were easy to relate to and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I highly recommend this to everyone!!
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This was an amazing book!  I was quickly drawn into the story and couldn't wait to find out what happened next. 

I was shocked by the ending that I NEVER saw coming! 

This is a must read for the thriller/suspense fan!
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What a riveting read! The main character was the best, and I could really relate. The story was impressive.
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I really enjoy reading Alice's work. This was so enjoyable. The writing was great and I loved how each story of tragedy, intertwined with each other. It was a really great book.

Thank you Netgalley, the author and publisher for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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I just finished Trace Of Evil and am really trying to decide my feelings on this book.  The first 2/3s of the book really flew by for me. I liked the main character Natalie and was interested in her work and personal life.  Which, by the way, overlap in a whole host of ways that is bound to happen in a small town. Learning her background and that of the town and missing nine was intriguing.
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What I struggled with was the last 1/3 of the book as The Who actually done it part seemed a bit out of left field.  And shortly after this revelation Natalie discovers who her childhood attacker was - which felt like to much happening at once while also a little to coincidental.
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Overall, I did enjoy the book and will certainly pick up the next in the series as I am curious to see what Natalie's life will be like after these major events.  3 1/2 stars for me with a I will definitely be following this series.
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Thank you Netgalley and St. Martin's Press for an e-arc in exchange for an honest review.
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This book is gripping from start to finish. There are several different mysteries that swirl around the town of Burning Lake, from the most recent murder to a string of serial murders that are handed down to the most rookie cop on the city's police force. The story is intricate and complicated but Ms. Blanchard 100 percent pulls it off. The characters are well written (particularly Natalie) and the setting is well described. There is a bit of gruesomeness in the story, but it's not over the top. I found this book hard to put down. It's longer than many others of this type and while I felt the length, nothing was particularly wasted. I highly recommend you put this on your waiting list if crime/psychological thrillers are your thing, like they are mine!
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