"Threads of Suspicion"

"Evie Blackwell's reputation as a top investigator for the Illinois State Police has landed her an appointment to the governor's new Missing Persons Task Force. This elite investigative team is launched with plenty of public fanfare. The governor has made this initiative a high priority, so they will have to produce results—and quickly.

"[...] With a deep conviction that "justice for all" truly matters, Evie and [her partner] are unrelenting in their search for the truth. But Evie must also find answers to the questions that lie just beneath the surface in her personal life." (back cover)

"Threads of Suspicion" is the second novel in the Evie Blackwell Cold Case series by Dee Henderson, author of fourteen best-selling novels, including the acclaimed O'Malley series and the Uncommon Heroes series, and a leader in inspirational romantic suspense. The story follows Lieutenant Evie Blackwell as well as her partner, David Marshal, as they solve their first cases after being appointed to a new statewide Missing Persons Task Force. At first I was intrigued with this book, jumping right in to a new genre category, and I hoped it would keep my interest and be an exciting change of pace from the inspirational fiction I normally receive for review. While it was certainly a change of pace, I wouldn't call it exciting, however, and several things detracted from the story overall as well.

The two main characters in "Threads of Suspicion" are looking into the cases of a college student and a private investigator, both missing for several years. From the beginning, there is a lot of detail, mainly in the form of dialogue between characters and their internal thought processes and theories, often down to minutia, which gives the reader insight into the detectives' analysis of case data, interviews they conduct, etc.  I appreciated the detail but not too shortly found it becoming drawn out and tedious (along with the frequent, very distracting run-on sentences), and that procedural focus weakened any sense of suspense because it read more like a case report than a novel. While there is some plot creativity in how the two cases overlap and have present-day connections, which was enough to keep me reading in case there was a plot twist or other truly suspenseful situation, the story concluded rather dully (and with some unanswered questions about the characters themselves, which I personally dislike even in a series). Meanwhile, the characters weren't very well developed, and were a little stiff and too perfect; Evie, for example, is great at her work, is always considerate and helpful to her partner no matter how little sleep she had the night before, and really has only one question "beneath the surface in her personal life" and that is whether to accept her great boyfriend's marriage proposal. With the two main characters both having their own love interests throughout the story, there isn't romance per se, at least not enough to help add interest or depth.

I really hoped this book would live up to my initial interest, but unfortunately I wasn't too impressed with "Threads of Suspicion". The plot was sluggish and the characters overly scripted, leaving very little intrigue or suspense in my opinion.

Disclaimer: This book was received for free from Bethany House Publishers, a division of Baker Publishing Group, in exchange for my review.

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