When the Smoke Cleared provides insight into an investigation requiring teamwork and patience. While many news stories end with a court ruling, Powers highlights the impact of the crime on the Hancock family.


About The Book

A Murder Mystery in Malden
Publication Date: November 1, 2022

There is no greater distinction or responsibility for a law enforcement officer than to be selected to investigate homicides. The same is true for a prosecutor. It is analogous to a call up to the big leagues where the curveballs or slapshots are frequent and more challenging, the lights are brighter, the audience larger and louder, and the scrutiny and demand for perfection can at times be a bit overwhelming.

This story follows an extraordinary murder investigation from the crime scene through to the arrest and into the courtroom. It is narrated by retired Detective Lieutenant Bill Powers, the former commander of the State Police Detective Unit for the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts:

“When the smoke from the fire cleared and the water level receded, it was visually evident that a violent struggle, quite possibly a homicide, had preceded the fire. But where was the victim? The waterlogged bloodstains in the function room told us it wasn’t likely they stood up and walked out the door. We were confronted with an unusual dilemma. We not only had to investigate what happened and develop probable cause to make an arrest, but we also had to locate the poor soul who had spilled so much of their blood.”

​Walk the path of the investigation with Bill and his team, and then follow in ADA Adrienne Lynch’s footsteps as she guides the trial from opening statements through to the final verdict; a truly unique accounting with a bird’s eye view.

Beyond a police and courtroom procedural, this story is about the personal struggles in the victim’s life and how her death impacted her family’s lives in ways no one could have foreseen. It is a love story that grew from unspeakable tragedy.

​Bill Powers writes from the heart because he spent twenty years living the life of a homicide investigator. He went to literally hundreds of death scenes and, while each made its mark, none had more of a personal effect on him than this case.

The Review

Police investigators always remember “that” case, the one that woke them up in the middle of the night. Maybe the case resulted in an arrest and a conviction, or perhaps it was set aside, gathering dust with no leads.

For ​Bill Powers, it is the Kelly Hancock case. Two decades after serving as the homicide investigator, he compiled the events of the case and subsequent trial into a true crime thriller titled When the Smoke Cleared.

His purpose in writing the book is to shed light on the pain and grief suffered by the victim and surviving family members. Additionally, it serves as a reminder of the challenges investigators face in collecting facts used to deliver justice.

It is remarkable to follow the case from the early days when investigators were sure that a fire had been started in an effort to conceal a more serious crime. However, with no body and few clues, it took a while before investigators gained any momentum. The author does a thorough job of providing a good mix of factual information and analysis to explain what is happening.

When the Smoke Cleared provides insight into an investigation requiring teamwork and patience. While many news stories end with a court ruling, Powers highlights the impact of the crime on the Hancock family.

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About The AuthorBill Powers has been active in the Massachusetts law enforcement community since he joined the Massachusetts State Police in 1974. Over time he rose through the ranks and was promoted to the rank of Detective Lieutenant. He commanded the State Police Detective Units (SPDU) in both Middlesex and Suffolk Counties, where he had direct oversight and involvement in more than one hundred homicides. His State Police career came full circle when he was named Commandant of the Recruit Training Academy. He retired as the director of the Media Relations Section. Following his retirement, Bill was appointed as an Assistant Professor in the graduate program for forensic sciences at the Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM). For the next seven years he lectured on criminal investigation and expert testimony to the graduate students. In addition, he produced training seminars for police investigators covering a wide variety of topics. Following his tenure at the BUSM he returned to the law enforcement profession as the Director of Public Safety at Wentworth Institute in Boston. Bill earned an undergraduate degree from Northeastern University with a major in Criminal Justice and a Juris Doctorate degree from the New England School of Law.

He resides South of Boston with his wife Jane. Their two daughters and their families live nearby. He has been blessed with five remarkable grandchildren who sparkle like bright stars in the night sky.


Blog Tour Schedule

Feb 20 – Jazzy Book Reviews – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
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Amy Wilson
Amy Wilson
My name is Amy W., and I am a book addict. I will never forget the day I came home from junior high school to find my mom waiting for me with one of the Harlequin novels from my stash. As she was gearing up for the "you shouldn't be reading this" lecture, I told her the characters get married in the end. I'm just glad she didn't find the Bertrice Small book hidden in my closet. I have diverse reading tastes, evident by the wide array of genres on my Kindle. As I made the transition to an e-reader, I found myself worrying that something could happen to it. As a result, I am now the proud owner of four Kindles -- all different kinds, but plenty of back-ups! "Fifty Shades of Grey" gets high marks on my favorites list -- not for character development or dialogue (definitely not!), but because it blazed new ground for those of us who believe provocative fiction is more than just an explicit cover. Sylvia Day, Lexie Blake, and Kristin Hannah are some of my favorite authors. Speaking of diverse tastes, I also enjoy Dean Koontz, Iris Johansen, and J.A. Konrath. I’m always ready to discover new-to-me authors, especially when I toss in a palate cleanser that is much different than what I would normally read. Give me something with a well-defined storyline, add some suspense (or spice), and I am a happy reader. Give me a happily ever after, and I am downright giddy.



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When the Smoke Cleared provides insight into an investigation requiring teamwork and patience. While many news stories end with a court ruling, Powers highlights the impact of the crime on the Hancock family.5-STAR REVIEW: WHEN THE SMOKE CLEARED by Bill Powers