Back Cover: In the midst of a murder investigation in the heart of Amish country, one young policeman finds his heart led astray. The serenity of the quiet Amish community of Marion, Kentucky, is disrupted when the body of Perry Borntrager is discovered in an abandoned well. Now the small town faces the first death by mysterious circumstances in more than twenty years, and Detective Luke Reynolds is brought in to help investigate. But before he can solve the crime, he faces unexpected feelings for Frannie, the Amish owner of the local bed-and-breakfast. Though they butt heads at first, Luke finds himself drawn to Frannie's bedside when she's injured in a kitchen accident. Soon it becomes clear that Frannie knew Perry better than she let on . . . they'd been secretly courting when he disappeared. Has Luke fallen for the very woman responsible for the crime?
Review: I was looking forward to part two. I racked my brain throughout to figure out who it could possibly be. I think I know and am waiting for the reveal in book 3. I am enjoying the series and the suspense but sometimes think it is too long. I do like all the characters and am finding it hard to choose anyone as the murder. I like how the `mixed' relationships are not made to be super simple because for each couple has real challenges to face when people have to adjust their religious practices. Even from Baptist to Presbyterian is a challenge for most couples. I liked the ending for the most part. I am hopeful for Beth. I would really like to see wonderful things happen to her. More than anything else I am looking forward to find a resolution to the death of Perry.
I would like to thank Above the Trees and Avon Books for allowing me to read and review this book in return for a free copy and I was never asked to write a favorable review by anyone.
This is such an exciting story. I stayed up half of the night reading. Finished the book last night and can't wait to start book 3. All the Amish novels are great, but a mystery murder is even better. Keeps you on the edge. A must read!
The Search by Shelley Shepard Gray is the second book in The Secrets of Crittenden County series. The discovery of Perry Borntrager's body has stirred up this close-knit Amish community. Detective Luke Reynolds is still trying to sort through the evidence and learn the identity of the killer, but his feelings for Perry's former flame Frannie Eicher has put a crimp in his investigation. When she is injured in a kitchen accident, Luke finds himself spending more time at her hospital bedside than working on the case, and ignoring the possibility that Frannie may be hiding something from him about it. Frannie's accident forces Beth Byler to take over Frannie's bed and Breakfast, which is far out of her comfort zone. She's more comfortable taking care of babies and young children than baking and being a good hostess, but mysterious guest Chris Ellis not only helps out but awakens something inside Beth. Others in the community are struggling with the repercussions of Perry's drug dealing and death as well, especially his sister Deborah who knows far more than she's telling anyone. Gray has a real talent for creating fascinating stories with Amish characters, exposing them as real people with hopes, dreams, and secrets. Frannie is the center of this novel, and she's a terrific heroine: strong, smart, and wanting desperately to be loved. I think that Beth and Chris' relationship was a bit rushed; they both confess to extraordinarily deep feelings that seem unrealistic based on the three encounters in the story. That's the only flaw in this story filled with suspense, major twists and turns, romance, and friendship. Gray makes it very easy to fall in love with the Amish communities she describes, and I'm ready to book my stay at the Yellow Bird Inn in Crittenden County!
The murderer still is at large in the Amish community of Crittenden County and Detective Luke Reynolds is still questioning the residents fearing that he is getting no where closer to the truth. After discovering the body of Perry Borntrager at the bottom of the well on the Miller's Farm, it seems like quite a few of the townspeople have secrets that they hope will never be discovered.
Frannie Eicher was the last person to see Perry alive, and not being the type to want to share more details than necessary about the dead, she avoids providing some information to Luke. She believes that these details are necessary for helping him solve the case, but it seems the more times Luke discovers new information, it points back to Frannie and causes him to not trust what she has been telling him. He knows she is holding something back but can't figure out why.
In the second book in the series, The Secrets of Crittenden County, The Search by Shelley Shepard Gray picks up right where the first book, The Missing left off. It seems like there is a connection between Perry's murder, his unusual and unpredictable behavior, and the secrets certain people are keeping about what they know about Perry. Someone within this small Amish community is hiding a very deep secret and it's up to Detective Luke Reynolds to find out where this search will lead him.
I love this series of books because Shelley is taking her time with her readers in this murder case involving an Amish resident, a young man, who seems to have gotten mixed up with the wrong crowd, but is that the men who are selling drugs, the Englischers, or someone in town that wanted Perry gone in whatever manner it took? I can't wait to find out who it is, and I've got my own suspicions using details from both books who it might be. For those of you looking for a bit more than is usually found in your Amish novels, you might want to pick up this series. You'll get a great cast of characters that are carefully created and you will always meet someone new along the way. I loved, Frannie's father and Beth, her friend in this novel. Their inspiration to helping Frannie find the answers she needs, are worth reading about.
I received this novel compliments of Christian Fiction Blog Alliance for my honest review. I would have to say this one rates right up there with the first one, a 5 out of 5 stars. Now if I can only wait until September this year, for The Found to be released, I might have my answers in who I believe killed Perry. Maybe I have what it takes to make a great detective, but I know I have found a true love in reading Shelley Shepard Gray's novels. They have a forever home on my bookshelf.