TRACE OF DOUBT
BY DIANN MILLS
Categories: Romantic Suspense / Christian Fiction / FBI Crime Solving Novel / Clean Romance
Publisher: Tyndale House
Pub Date: September 7, 2021
Pages: 432 pages
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Fifteen years ago, Shelby Pearce confessed to murdering her brother-in-law and was sent to prison. Now she’s out on parole and looking for a fresh start in the small town of Valleysburg, Texas. But starting over won’t be easy for an ex-con.
FBI Special Agent Denton McClure was a rookie fresh out of Quantico when he was first assigned the Pearce case. He’s always believed Shelby embezzled five hundred thousand dollars from her brother-in-law’s account. So he’s going undercover to befriend Shelby, track down the missing money, and finally crack this case.
But as Denton gets closer to Shelby, he begins to have a trace of doubt about her guilt. Someone has Shelby in their crosshairs. It’s up to Denton to stop them before they silence Shelby—and the truth—forever.
“Filled with high stakes, high emotion, and high intrigue.” – LYNN H. BLACKBURN, award-winning author of UNKNOWN THREAT and ONE FINAL BREATH
“Trace of Doubt is a suspense reader’s best friend. From page one until the end, the action is intense and the storyline keeps you guessing.” – EVA MARIE EVERSON, bestselling author of FIVE BRIDES and DUST
“DiAnn Mills serves up a perfect blend of action, grit, and heart. . . Trace of Doubt takes romantic suspense to a whole new level.” – JAMES R. HANNIBAL, award-winning author of THE PARIS BETRAYAL
“Well-researched . . . with some surprising twists along the way. In Trace of Doubt, Mills weaves together a tale of faith, intrigue, and suspense that her fans are sure to enjoy.” – STEVEN JAMES, award-winning author of SYNAPSE and EVERY WICKED MAN
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For readers who like Christian fiction with a focus on conversion and testimony, they will find all of that in this book and more. The romance and suspense have equal billing, and I enjoy reading romantic suspense, especially a story that is about the romance, not sex. I’m not a prude and certainly have nothing against physical intimacy, I just prefer not to have it described in graphic detail. The romance in A Trace of Doubt is sweet and endearing.
Shelby has reformed while in prison and turned her life over to Jesus, and a good bit of the subplot revolves around her faith and testimony, and it was nice to see the gentle way she shared her faith with Denton. The relationship that develops between her and Denton is well played out, and it was a pleasure to see how that happened slowly, with him respecting her hesitancy to enter into anything permanent. It is a truly good man who will have that kind of respect and hold back on pushing for a commitment until the other person is ready. The “will they – won’t they” back and forth in the story is also a realistic aspect of a character like Shelby who never had an opportunity to know a man who could care for her like that. One doesn’t meet good men in prison.
In addition to Denton, Shelby has Edie, the woman who rents Shelby a cabin, on her side, as well as Amy-Jo, who owns the bakery/cafe where Shelby will work in Valleysburg. Shelby is determined to put the past behind her and start living a new life with the help of the new friends in the new town. There are others, too. The pastor of the church. The Sherriff, and Shelby’s parole officer who is presented against stereotype, which I appreciated. He is kind and helpful, as are those other people.
Amy-Jo is a standout supporting player for me, making me smile when first meeting her. She’s a fun-loving person who doesn’t care what anyone thinks about the way she dresses or what she does with her hair or how much makeup she wears. She’s also the kind of strong woman that anyone would want in their corner when facing danger.
In the beginning of the story, I came across a couple of things that jarred just a bit. They seemed odd in the plotting, and I hoped they were not little mistakes. When I got to the explanations of those oddities, I had to smile at the deft way Mills handled the dropping of the puzzle pieces and the later revelations. One of the points that I won’t detail here because I don’t want to give anything away, is actually very important for the turnaround in Denton as he starts to view Shelby and what happened 15 years ago in a totally different light.
That was a perfect example of why things don’t have to always be explained upfront, leaving questions that keep a reader engaged.
DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She is a storyteller and creates action-packed, suspense-filled novels to thrill readers. Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests.
DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers. She is the director of the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference, Mountainside Retreats: Marketing, Speakers, Nonfiction and Novelist with social media specialist Edie Melson where she continues her passion for helping other writers be successful. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country.
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