Trace of Evil: A Natalie Lockhart Novel

Alice Blanchard

Minotaur, 2019

Agent: Jill Marr

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.

Spellbinding and gripping, Trace of Evil is a novel of twisting suspense that will leave you breathless.

"What seems an open-and-shut case becomes much more, with Blanchard carefully peeling away layers of history and deception before pulling off a shocking twist. Lockhart is a relatable new heroine on the police-procedural scene, and one who will appeal to readers of Tana French."

“Flush with red herrings, Wiccan symbols, and disaffected teens, this book will appeal to fans of criminal investigations led by empowered women."
Publishers Weekly

"A fast-paced, intricate, and atmospheric mystery that introduces a plucky, engaging detective."
—Kirkus Review

Trace of Evil is riveting—atmospheric and dark, exploring modern day witchcraft and covens, with enough twists and turns to keep the most astute reader guessing until the end. Blanchard is a master storyteller with a brilliant understanding of family—about the love that both binds us and tears us apart. Get ready for a great read!”
—Tricia Fields, author of award winning Josie Gray Mystery Series

"Alice Blanchard's Trace of Evil is a haunting, dark, and thrilling tale that will leave you breathless. Packed with twists and turns, it kept me on the edge of my seat and guessing until the end."
L.T. Vargus, bestselling author of Bad Blood and Dead End Girl   

"In Trace of Evil, Alice Blanchard weaves elements of atmosphere, suspense, and witchcraft into a compelling mystery that will hold readers spellbound. Irresistible!"
Margaret Mizushima, author of the critically acclaimed Timber Creek K-9 mysteries 

"In Alice Blanchard’s newest, a young detective investigating a new murder tips over a cauldron of cold cases and cold hearts that reach deep into the past of her own family. Alice Blanchard seems to be able to write just about anything she wants with uncanny grace; and this thriller shows off a veteran storyteller at the peak of her powers."
Jacquelyn Mitchard, author, The Deep End of the Ocean

“In Trace of Evil Alice Blanchard has created a compelling protagonist, Natalie Lockhart, a rookie detective in the small town of Burning Lake in New York State. Natalie’s father was a cop with Burning Lake and she’s driven to live up to his ideals. With the town of Burning Lake Blanchard has created a perfect setting for the complex and tense drama that unfolds on the pages of this riveting novel. This book will keep you up and turning pages until the breathtaking ending. And, we’ll be hoping for more about Detective Lockhart.”
Trudy Nan Boyce, author of the Detective Sarah Alt series

"An interesting and credible community as a backdrop to the action, strong characterization and a powerful and unexpected denouement.  It provides the delights of a traditional mystery but is set firmly in the present.  I look forward to reading more in the series."
Ann Cleeves, bestselling author of the Shetland series

“Moody and atmospheric, brimming with mythology and mystery in equal measure, Alice Blanchard’s Trace of Evil is the kind of tale that lingers long after you’ve raced through its twists and turns to the utterly gripping finale. I simply couldn’t put this book down, and I’ll be counting the hours until I can visit Detective Natalie Lockhart in Burning Lake again. “
Owen Laukkanen, award-winning author of the Stevens & Windermere novels

“On the surface, Burning Lake, the small town in which Trace of Evil takes place, is just another suburban town. But the town has a dark uncomfortable history - the burning of three women as witches. And dark uncomfortable pasts are what this novel is brimming with. Starting with the trauma from Detective Natalie Lockhart's childhood, to a series of missing women whose disappearance remains unsolved. Other small mysteries constantly emerge - a seemingly innocent teenage coven hiding something sinister, hateful inscriptions written on a gravestone, the disappearance of a childhood friend. Everything feels as if set to explode. And the murder of the wife of a fellow detective lights the fuse. Blanchard manages to create a community that feels real and vivid, and in that, holds the reader at the edge of his seat, flipping the pages to untangle the knot, and uncover the secrets. The thread of dark magic that's intermingled with the murder mystery plot makes this a unique thriller to read.”
Mike Omer, author of the Zoe Bentley Mystery series

"Trace of Evil is lyrical, dark, and twisted. I read late into the night and the final twist blew me away."
Ellison Cooper, author of Caged