book cover of Trace of Evil
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Trace of Evil

(The first book in the Natalie Lockhart series)
A novel by

An IndieNext Pick!

"Gripping...Blanchard keeps the tension high." -
Associated Press

From Alice Blanchard, the author of the
New York Times Notable mystery novel Darkness Peering comes Trace of Evil, first in an evocative new series about a small New York town, its deeply held secrets, and the woman determined to uncover them, no matter what the cost.

There’s something wicked in Burning Lake…

Natalie Lockhart is a rookie detective in Burning Lake, New York, an isolated town known for its dark past. Tasked with uncovering the whereabouts of nine missing transients who have disappeared over the years, Natalie wrestles with the town’s troubled history – and the scars left by her sister’s unsolved murder years ago.

Then Daisy Buckner, a beloved schoolteacher, is found dead on her kitchen floor, and a suspect immediately comes to mind. But it’s not that simple. The suspect is in a coma, collapsed only hours after the teacher’s death, and it turns out Daisy had secrets of her own. Natalie knows there is more to the case, but as the investigation deepens, even she cannot predict the far-reaching consequences – for the victim, for the missing of Burning Lake, and for herself.

Genre: Mystery

Praise for this book

"[A] tense, nail-biter of a thriller!" - J D Barker

"[A] complex and tense drama." - Trudy Nan Boyce

"A powerful and unexpected denouement. I look forward to reading more in the series." - Ann Cleeves

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

"[Trace of Evil] delivers a gut-punch of a twist readers won't see coming. This book is not to be missed!" - Sara Driscoll

"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

"Blanchard delivers a masterclass in guessing who is the most evil--and why." - Rea Frey

"A tantalizing mystery with just the right amount of unsettling horror woven in." - Neal Griffin

"Utterly compelling. You won't want to put it down." - Olivia Kiernan

"Moody and atmospheric [...] the kind of tale that lingers long after you've raced through its twists and turns to the utterly gripping finale." - Owen Laukkanen

"Layered with old wounds, new secrets, and tension that starts on the first page and never lets up." - Kristen Lepionka

"Alice Blanchard seems to be able to write just about anything she wants [and] shows off a veteran storyteller at the peak of her powers." - Jacquelyn Mitchard

"[A] compelling mystery that will hold readers spellbound." - Margaret Mizushima

"Everything feels as if set to explode. [Trace of Evil] holds the reader at the edge of his seat, flipping the pages to untangle the knot, and uncover the secrets." - Mike Omer

"[A] haunting, dark, and thrilling tale that will leave you breathless." - L T Vargus

"[A]n absolute must-read that will [...] leave you breathless." - Carol Wyer

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