Review: Trace of Evil (Natalie Lockhart #1) by Alice Blanchard

Print Length: 384 pages
Publisher: Minotaur Books (December 3, 2019)

From  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.


My Rating: 2 stars out of 5

I love a good police novel! And considering the thriller authors that I usually read are all in between books right now, I was super excited to find this one. After all, the synopsis was engaging, and it's the start of a brand new series. What could be more perfect? 

Unfortunately, this wound up being a tedious novel with too much "tell" and not enough "show". I never connected with any of the characters, not even the main character, Natalie. It would have been okay, had it not been for the glaring errors in the actual police work. Polygraphs that require answers above/beyond the standard yes or no? And by this, I mean full paragraphs? The lead investigator sharing in-depth details about the case with people she considers suspects? 

I found myself skimming entire chapters, just to get through it. Which was a shame as when I first picked up this novel, it started off pretty strong. I will admit there were a couple of decently executed plot twists, but overall, everything about this just missed the mark for me. 

In the end, while I most likely will not be continuing on with this series, I do believe there are people out there to whom this novel will appeal.

DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review. This has not affected my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own.

                                     Trace of Evil is available from

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