Three Englischer girls were on their way home from school and trespassing on the Miller's farm, but Abby Anderson didn't feel comfortable being there. She knew the Amish owner, Mr Miller, didn't like people cutting across his land, she knew her parents wanted her to come straight home from school and she definitely didn't want to be sneaking around smoking, she was a good person but just couldn't find a place she felt comfortable. She finally got up enough nerve to tell the other two that she was going home so one of them threw her backpack, when Abby went to find it she found that it'd fallen in a hole right on top of a dead body!
Everyone thought Perry Borntrager had jumped the fence when they no longer saw him around town. He hadn't been seen for several months on that fateful day when Abby discovered his body. Perry was a good Amish boy that had gotten messed up with drugs and was soon dealing drugs. That change in his life caused him to lose his Amish sweetheart Lydia Plank and the rest of his friends. He started stealing from the cash register where he worked at Schrock's Variety, Walker Anderson caught him and threatened to tell the owner but he knew it would be his word against Perry's. Thinking people would suspect an Englischer of stealing before any Amish person and Perry would probably accuse him, Perry being Amish would be believed, so Walker didn't say anything, instead, he quit his job. Later after Perry no longer worked at Schrock's Variety, Walker went back to work there.
When Deputy Sheriff Mose Kramer, raised Amish but jumped the fence himself, couldn't solve the murder he called his old friend Luke Reynolds, a Detective in Cincinnati and on sick leave recovering from a gunshot wound. Luke agrees to help but when he gets to town he finds that things won't be as easy as he thought they would be. It seems everyone is pretty closed mouthed, they say Perry was a good person and he could be bad, that's just Perry. Luke feels solving the case is a lost cause until Lydia and Walker finally call him, each had agreed to keep a secret about Perry, but now each one, not knowing the other one has called Luke, gave him a few more tidbits. Maybe the tide is turning on the case.
Lydia and Walker only knew each other in passing, so to speak, until Perry's body was found, then they both felt a great loss and carried quilt by blaming themselves for Perry's death. With Luke being called in to investigate they start talking, they become even closer after Lydia finds out that she's adopted. Her parents decided after 20 years she should know about her adoption, they didn't want to keep it a secret any longer because they felt that keeping secrets contributed to Perry's death. Lydia sought Walker out when she was even more confused with her life after hearing that. He helps her find out who her birth parents are then they have a bad argument and decide they don't want to see each other anymore.
Does Luke solve the murder, will Lydia be able to connect with her birth parents, will she continue to be Amish or jump the fence and what will happen between Lydia and Walker, will they stay mad at each other?
You will get a chuckle at the shenanigans that take place in Schrock's Variety, watch for flying hens, guinea pigs and big black snakes. Shelley did a great job on this book and I'm anxious for the second and third books to come out. She is tricky, she leaves you hanging so you have to continue the series, lol, so now the wait begins. The Search will be out in June of 2012 and Found in September of 2012.
Being familiar with the REAL Crittenden County, Kentucky, I enjoyed this book tremendously! Shelley captured the small-town feel of Marion, KY, as well as the outlying countryside where there really is a thriving Amish community complete with horses and buggies, greenhouses, and a general store with no electricity, but a little bit of everything for purchase!
The fact that the book is a contemporary romantic mystery just makes it that much better, in my opinion. Her suspense keeps you glued to the pages, and makes you more than glad that all three books will come out this year!
One of my favorite aspects is the generational relationships between a former-Amish man and his family, and his devoted Amish parents. This is very realistic, and she captures it well.
I'm anxiously awaiting the second and third books in the trilogy!
Whenever I see the name Shelley Shepard Gray on a book, I know before I ever open the first page, it's going to be good if not great. Missing: The Secrets of Crittenden County is the first book in the series that Shelley has written after visiting an Amish community nestled in rural western Kentucky and this is the beginning of that series.
The book opens with Abby Anderson who is sneaking off on to the land surrounding the Miller's farm near Crooked Creek to have a smoke with some girlfriends from school. Abby knew she shouldn't be doing this but since she wanted to fit in at school, she went along with them. Sensing her better judgment was beginning to speak to her heart, she decided she should leave, but when the girls had other plans and tossed her backpack into the woods, she wasn't at all prepared for what she would find. The body of a missing Amish teen, Perry Borntrager in the bottom of a dry well.
Now with the investigation beginning into the mysterious death of Perry, some of the residents of this small Amish town in Crittenden County are that interested in sharing what they know. Lydia Plank is the former girlfriend of Perry's and she isn't about to share what she believes could ruin her more than helping to solve Perry's death. She fears that it will forever ruin not only what her family thinks about her but what God does as well.
Walker Anderson is the older brother of Abby, the girl who found Perry's body. When the police detective comes around asking questions of Walker, he doesn't believe the information he knows about Perry will help with the investigation and only get him in trouble with Mr. Aaron Schrock, the owner of the store at which he works. Perry use to work there with him as well until Walker quit. He didn't want to be anywhere near Perry anymore.
In Missing: The Secrets of Crittenden County by Shelley Shepard Gray, the reader it taken on the journey of a murder investigation of Perry Borntrager and realizes just how difficult it can be to search for answers in a tight knit community of Amish residents. They feel that nothing that they can tell the detective will help and it's only until they begin to share their secrets that not only will it lead them closer to the murderer but absolve them of the personal guilt that they are carrying in their own lives.
I received Missing: The Secrets of Crittenden County, the first book in the series compliments of Christian Fiction Blog Alliance for my honest review and can't wait for the next one. I will tell you this since it is a series, the murder will not be solved in this book, but it will get you on board with your own crime solving skills to the test as you begin to join in the search. I rate this one a 5 out of 5 stars and highly recommend this one to those of you that love a good crime solving mystery with an Amish flair to it.
Shelley Shepard Gray has done it again! She has written a fabulous new book Missing- The Secrets of Crittenden County. I am a huge fan of Shelley's books and I have never been disappointed. This book is no different. It starts with a murder that shakes the small community of Crittenden County, Kentucky to the core. Perry Borntrager was found dead in a well after having been missing for months. Detective Luke Reynolds is called in to assist with the case. Lydia Plank having once dated Perry and Walker Anderson his best friend are at the top of the list to be questioned. Both have secrets about Perry that they do not want to share. Perry was doing some things that neither wanted to be part of, so they tried to distance themselves from him. They both want the detective to catch Perry's killer but neither will fully corporate. Detective Reynolds is determined to solve this case even without much evidence to go on. While trying to keep their secrets from being revealed, Lydia and Walker's relationship begins to turn into something more than friendship. Can their love flourish with the cloud of suspicion hanging over their heads? More shocking news hits Lydia when she finds out that she is adopted. She now she has to deal with the fact that she might not even be Amish. With a great supporting cast of characters this book will hook you in from page one. Each page draws you in more as you try to solve who Perry Borntrager was and what he could have possibly done to make someone want to end his young life. I cannot wait for the second book to hit the bookshelves! You will absolutely love this book!
This book was provided to me from HarperCollins Publishers in exchange for my review.
Perry Borntrager's body was discovered in a well by Englisher, Abby Anderson. Her brother Walker had been friends with Perry. An investigation began to see why and how Perry died.
Luke Reynolds came to Critterden County, Kentucky as a favor to his friend, Mose Kramer, to help with the investigation. Mose was a former Amish man and had lived in Critterden most of his life. He was getting nowhere with the investigation of Perry's death so he called Luke, a Cincinnati, Ohio detective to help him. Everyone was keeping a tight lip about Perry. No one wanted to say anything bad about the young man, although it appeared a lot could be said. Mose thought Luke's outsider influence may get people talking.
Two people who were suspects in Perry's death joined forces so no one could discover what they knew. Lydia Plank was Perry's ex-girlfriend. Walker Anderson was Perry's friend before he started getting into things Walker wanted nothing to do with. Lydia had her own secrets to deal with as did Walker. Lydia and Walker discovered a bond they never suspected.
There were a few subplots going on. Abby had become a misfit at school even more since she discovered the body. Luke was getting used to the slower paced life of Critterden County, which surprised him. Mr Schrock was continually thinking up crazy ways to get people to come into his store.
As I read this book, I began to see why Lydia and Walker pulled away from Perry. He was involved in things that led to serious trouble. I really liked Walker, he seemed like a sensible college student. I felt sorry for Lydia, she had a lot to deal with in a short period of time. She was already keeping her own secrets before she discovered a family secret. But she trusted God for guidance in all she did. Shelley Shepard Gray portrayed Perry in such a negative light, especially in his relationship with Lydia. This isn't often seen in Amish Fiction. I can only recall one other time that an Amish person was portrayed so negatively. That would be Rachel Byler in Jerry Eicher's Rebecca Series. I have no idea who killed Perry, it will be interesting to find out as the series continues. Shelley Shepard Gray has blended mystery and romance into one good story.
The Secrets Of Critterden County
Book One - Missing
Book Two - The Search (out June 2012)
Book Three - Found (out Sept 2012)
I received a free copy of this e-book from Edelweiss for my honest review.