THE SEARCH – Shelley Shepard Gray
The Secrets of Crittenden County, Book 2
Inspirational Amish Suspense
Marion, Kentucky – Present Day
There's been a murder in Crittenden County. It seems impossible that this quiet Amish community would be witness to such an event, in fact it is so outlandish that Sheriff Mose Kramer called for help from his friend, Luke Reynolds, a Cincinnati detective on medical leave. Thus begins MISSING, the first book in The Secrets of Crittenden County . And now, in THE SEARCH, Luke has moved out of Frannie Eicher's bed and breakfast, the Yellow Bird Inn, fearing that he has grown too close to the woman who has just become his #1 suspect in Perry Borntrager's murder.
Three months later, Frannie is not sleeping. She eats little and can barely manage to keep up with work at the inn. Frannie has secrets. She dreams nightmares of the night she met Perry out there by the old well where his body was found, probably on the same night of his murder. What if she had not gone to meet with him? Pushed beyond endurance with guilt, she's running on too little sleep and rushing to get her work done. Just an instant and one silly mistake sends her to the hospital. Medicated and unable to speak, Frannie endures her first days in the hospital inside a cloud of confusion. Her friend, Beth Byler, has taken over the Yellow Bird's operation, and, except for the fact that Beth can't boil water, Frannie finally sleeps, knowing that her home is in good hands.
Worried about Frannie, Luke finds himself sitting at her bedside. If she has family, no one has bothered to show up and help him worry. Luke sits with Frannie, holds her hand as she sleeps, and begins to care for her more than he knows he should. And when Frannie's self-confessed beau, Micah, shows up, followed by Frannie's frantic father, Luke fights to protect her from them. If they really cared, they would have been at her bedside sooner.
Meanwhile, Perry's sister, Deborah, is hiding her own secrets. Just wishing the Cincinnati cop would quietly disappear, she fears he'll discover what she knows. And there is Jacob Schrock, her ex-beau who refuses to speak to her. Deborah fears Jacob knows who killed Perry. And, at the Yellow Bird Inn, Beth has her own problems. A new guest just checked in, but the man is suspiciously dangerous, refusing to give his name, and coming and going at all hours of the night.
All of these threads fly around while Luke and Sheriff Mose try to unravel Perry's last days. As the suspense mounts, the tension escalates in THE SEARCH. The Amish are a closed community to strangers, and even though Luke is becoming accepted among them, no one is talking, least of all Perry's killer.
As Luke continues THE SEARCH for Perry's killer, Frannie prays for forgiveness as she tries to decide how much to tell. She is falling in love with the Cincinnati detective, and even though their worlds are too far apart to ever come together, she knows they must resolve their conflicts.
Top notch characterization brings snappy life to this story, which leaves us with questions. But don't worry, the answers are coming in September, when the third book, FOUND, hits the shelves and Perry's murder is solved. I don't know if FOUND is the final book in the series, but I do hope there are more stories to come about Crittenden County; it's a wonderful place to visit!
Meanwhile, do not miss THE SEARCH!