Trace of Evil

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 28 Feb 2020

Member Reviews

This book was a wonderful suspense/thriller. I can usually figure out the antagonist early on but this one came as a complete surprise. Natalie is a detective who had a fright when she was young and has been searching for her attacker for years without any luck. As the new detective on the Burning Lake PD she is assigned the cold cases. She finds a similarity between some of the cases and feels there is a serial killer on the loose. Meanwhile in real time a well respected and beloved teacher is found dead. The BLPD force searches for clues to the killer. The story revolves around this search. The town is a miniature Salem with covens that Natalie and her sisters were in when they were young and now her niece seems to be following in the footsteps of her mother and aunt. This novel will appeal to those individuals who like detective stories, mystery, suspense and thriller stories. It covers many genres. Thanks to NetGalley and Minataur Publishing for an ARC.
Was this review helpful?
I thoroughly enjoyed the book. Burning Lake seems like a town where all manner of mayhem may take place, so I look forward to the next book in the series. I was kept guessing until the end; the identity of Daisy’s murderer was a complete surprise, yet made perfect sense.
Was this review helpful?
What an incredible read. I never saw the ending coming. Truly blown away. Such a great book. The Lockhart sisters dabbled in Wicca blackmagic. When their sister Willow died they left that world and moved on. Well they thought they did. But sometimes life has a way of twisting us around. Now they're dealing with the death of a school friend and the past has a way of repeating it's self.
Was this review helpful?
Trace of Evil will keep you on the edge of your seat. The characters are good and evil. You'll have a hard time deciding witch. Lots of twist that will keep you changing your mind about the evil ones.
Was this review helpful?
There was some fantastic writing woven into this sneaky little thriller. I could have done without some of the protagonist's infidelities to her life...just not my thing...but at moments, the description was incredible. Australian backdrops are new to me as well.
Was this review helpful?
A beautifully atmospheric mystery, with a bit of an unbelievable twist (as is typical of most thrillers these days), and generally, a promising start to a series.

A new detective in Burning Lake, NY, Natalie Lockhart is struggling with a violent past (her sister was brutally murdered), and now, the killing of a popular local schoolteacher. Tasked with investigating nine disappearances from the past, Natalie finds hidden connections to the current mystery, and takes on more than she bargained for. 

Though the story is compelling, there are a few caveats. The research into policing is lacking slightly. Natalie is a blabbermouth, and can't seem to stop herself from discussing the investigation with just about everyone. Further, there's a scene with a polygraph that is just flat-out inaccurate. "Rookie" cops are not given free rein to just do whatever they want, and it makes for a looser story when that happens - it adds a touch of unbelievability to the proceedings that I don't enjoy.

Overall, this story has a gorgeous setting, an interesting story and a solid main character that could grow well in future books. I'll definitely be following this series, as I think it can only get better as it goes on.
Was this review helpful?
thank you  NetGalley and St. Martins press for the advanced copy of this book, I enjoyed the book and gave it three stars, The book had well developed characters, the intro got my attention, but there was something about the writing style that made the story line not always believable or exactly how people interact/react.to each other, maybe a little simplistic at times.

The story is about Natalie who is a police officer in the town of Burning Lake, it is a tourist town with a history of witchcraft. Natalie became a police officer following in her father's footsteps 
We are introduced to Natalie while she is in a graveyard, paying respects to her sister who was murdered years ago, her sister Grace and her niece Ellie meet her there. There is a reference to witchcraft at the onset of the story as well. Later that evening as Natalie  is giving her co-worker a ride home, they find his wife and school teacher dead in the kitchen.  Natalie takes on the case of looking for Daisy's murderer.. Throughout the story Natalie reflects on her past as we are given clues to characters personalities and traits all the while wondering who dunnit. We are introduced to new characters as the story unfolds and learn alot about the characters past and history that they all have together.. As the investigation continues, it becomes evident  that the characters do not know each other as well as they thought they did 
In all I enjoyed this book and would read more from this author.
Was this review helpful?
Drawn in from first pages so well written  characters multi layered full of twists and turnds and the ending wow.Highly recommend.#netgalley#st.Martins
Was this review helpful?
I received a copy of Trace of Evil from NetGalley, and I could not be happier that I picked it up when I did. I've been in a bit of a reading slump since the beginning of 2020. I'm hoping that Trace of Evil has brought me out of that slump, because I wholeheartedly enjoyed this book. 

It has been a while, since I have read a mystery/thriller that did not frustrate me (excluding any Agatha Christie book I've read recently). I think the concept of the unreliable narrator that drove the popularity of books like Gone Girl, The Girl on the Train, and Woman in Cabin 10 has been overdone now. It is a fun concept, but it was nice to read a mystery/thriller with a strong and reliable female main character. 

Right from the beginning, you know that there will be a few different mysteries included in this story. Trace of Evil begins with Detective Natalie Lockhart visiting her murdered sister's grave. This visit actually leads to a potential clue in the cold cases of nine missing individuals that she has been investigating. However, her investigation quickly gets shelved by a new investigation, when a fellow detective's wife is found murdered. While investigating this murder, she uncovers lots of secrets in the town including her own niece's involvement in occult activity. 

What I loved about this book is that it contained so many mysteries, but that the plot still flowed smoothly and kept me riveted. Who killed Detective Buckner's wife, Daisy? What happened to the "Missing Nine"? Is the right person serving time for Natalie's sister's murder? Is Natalie's niece in danger? I never had a clue how the mysteries would be solved or who the bad guys were. There were so many interesting characters and many secrets being held by all. 

I literally ignored my husband to sit and finish this book, because I just had to know how it ended. The last portion of the book was so gripping and ultimately surprising and fulfilling. I thought this was a fantastic read! I highly recommend it!
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
I am never first in line for cop or detective books, but when I read the synopsis I thought this might be an exception. Natalie Lockhart is the protagonist and badass woman detective I actually (surprisingly) enjoyed her perspective and personality. This is also my second upstate New York book this month as I just finished The Sun Down Motel and I enjoyed going back to the setting, though they obviously are also different. So, Natalie's dad was a cop on the Burning Lake Police Force and Natalie always plans to do the same- except she actually becomes the only female detective on the force. She begins things with a rough start as she finds the murdered body of an old acquaintance. This book really has a lot of twists and turns- not limited to witches and dark forces- so yea it was actually right up my alley. I definitely recommend.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
Interesting crime thriller, starring a female detective, Natalie Lockhart, in a small, New York state town.  Good mystery, lots of twists and turns, well-developed characters and a satisfying ending.  I look forward to reading more novels featuring Det. Lockhart.

***I received an ARC from Netgalley for an honest review of this book.***
Was this review helpful?
The premise of this book was great and there was a lot that was interesting about it. However, I also found that for some reason, the book dragged a bit for me. There were a lot of story lines and they were interesting and the author wove it all together really well.

I even liked the characters. Natalie is interesting and tenacious. I loved her niece.

I think there was just a lot of "info dumping". There were lots of long passages of telling background, instead of weaving it in. Also, there was a lot of repetition.

Still, this is a promising start to a detective series.


Thank you to Netgalley and Minotaur Books for the review copy.
Was this review helpful?
Trace of Evil was a great read. The main character Natalie was written well because she was the detective investigating a murder but also has to question her family. This thriller had everything from witches, black magic, past and present and just plain crazy! I really enjoyed it and hope to read more by this author.
Was this review helpful?
Trace of Evil is the first installment in the Natalie Lockhart series. The author is quite skilled at grabbing an author's attention and not letting go. This book is well written with a story that is well thought out and perfectly paced. 

Elements of the story involve witchcraft (YES PLEASE), murder, and secrets that have plagued Natalie's hometown for years. 

It is hard to know what is true and what is not as you read through the story and I LOVE that. Let me tell you , you will not see that twist coming a mile away even with binoculars! 

The characters are complex, complicated and well fleshed out. Trace of Evil is outstanding . 

I truly look forward to the next installment to see what Natalie Lockhart is facing next.
Was this review helpful?
Although I love the story of a tortured and troubled male detective, I sometimes wish for a more original and relatable lead detective. One with a somewhat healthy relationship with their family who is not addicted to drugs or alcohol. These stories are great but thankfully I cannot relate to them. I can just hope they can control their vices long enough to save a life or solve a crime. In Detective Natalie Lockheart, Blanchard created the detective I have been craving. A well adjusted, hardworking, female detective who has some issues, but has not allowed herself to be controlled by her past. 

In Burning Lake New York, well regarded school teacher, Daisy Buckner has been murdered in her home. As usual her husband comes under suspicion. Natalie Lockheart is made the lead detective in Daisy’s case. Burning Lake is a small town where everyone knows everyone. Most of the witnesses and suspects Natalie interviews are her own friends or family. In order to find justice for Daisy, Natalie must put aside her feelings of loyalty to catch a killer.  

Burning Lake NY has a history which has engrained itself within the community. The history of the town includes the death of three “witches” murdered for allegedly practicing witchcraft. The deaths of these women are acknowledged throughout the book. Many current residents of Burning Lake practiced witchcraft in their younger days. Mostly love spells and seances, witchcraft is now a sort of rite of passage for most of the young people in town. I really enjoyed reading how a town which once killed women for being different has now transformed into a more tolerant and accepting community. 

In addition to the case of Daisy’s murder is the cold case of the Missing Nine. Nine young women who have gone missing in Burning Lake. The case is passed onto each new detective of the police department. Being the newest detective, Natalie is now the lead investigator on the case. With each new detective, the hope is that fresh eyes will uncover a new lead. Natalie gives as much of her time and dedication to the case of the Missing Nine as she gives to Daisy’s murder. Often times being told to table the investigation by her superior officer. The cold case has haunted the town of Burning Lake for years. Natalie’s stubborn dedication to solving the case of Missing Nine, will endear her to readers. 

For readers looking for a new police procedural series with a down to earth, strong, female lead character look no further than Trace Of Evil. The central plot is gripping but without theatrics and shocks. Rather more of a simmering twist which kept me completely immersed in the story. Fans of Sharon Bolton’s The Craftsman should add Trace Of Evil to their list of must reads. 

Murder and Moore Rating :
4.5 out of 5 Stars
Was this review helpful?
Natalie Lockhart is a rookie detective in her small hometown of Burning Lake, New York. Known for the deaths of 3 local witches during the Salem witch hunts and trials, witchcraft and the dark arts are prevalent among the town's younger residents.
Natalie is tasked with the cold case investigation of "the missing nine", nine missing persons who have vanished without a trace.
The youngest of three sisters, oldest sister Willow was murdered ten years ago, viciously stabbed to death. The killer was a jealous boyfriend who was quickly found and imprisoned for life.
Grace, the middle sister still lives in town with her daughter.
When Willow's good friend Daisy Bruckner is found dead on her kitchen floor, Natalie is brought into the case. Daisy was the wife of a fellow detective, a teacher who had just found out she was finally pregnant after trying for years.
As Natalie investigates, odd clues begin to turn up. Dead crows are found strung up near crime scenes. Connections between Daisy's murder, the missing nine and Natalie's sister Willow are discovered.
More than a trace of evil comes to light.
This was an engaging police procedural/mystery/thriller.
This slow burner had a variety of characters and a riveting plot.
An involved, multi layered storyline that really kept my interest.
A great start to a new series.
Thank you to St. Martin's Publishing Group for the e-ARC via NetGalley.






is slow burner had a variety of characters and a riveting plot.
An involved, multi layered storyline that really kept my interest.
A great start to a new series.
Thank you to St. Martin's Publishing Group for the e-ARC via NetGalley.
Was this review helpful?
I received a free digital copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This is not my usual genre, but I really enjoyed it! From the very first page I was drawn in. I loved the female lead and it left me on the edge of my seat after every turn of the page. 

I really enjoyed Natalie’s character. She was super persistent! I loved her fearless attitude and how she was ready to just jump in wherever she needed to.

This book was an amazing thriller. I love how compelling the authors writing style is and how it just sucks you in. This book wasn't slow starting at all and kept its quick pacing all the way through. This book was definitely written to be continued! This world was too well worded to be a single book!

Thank you so much to the author, the publisher, and NetGalley for allowing me to review this title.
Was this review helpful?
I really enjoyed reading this book. I liked the setting because I grew up in Upstate New York. I figured out who Willow's killer was. I didn't know who the second killer was.

I received an ARC from the publisher and NetGalley for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?