HOME BY DARK Marta Petty
A Deer Run Suspense Book 1
HQN
December 2012
ISBN-13:  0-373-77735-8
Amish Suspense

Deer Run, Pennsylvania Present Day

Benjamin Weaver is nearly frozen in terror. Someone chased him and his friends away from the old barn with a shotgun.  Now, he hears noises in the dark and jumps at mysterious shadows, convinced that someone is after him.  He never leaves his home to walk to his sister Rachel's house unless he looks over his shoulder several times during the trip.  And he never, ever goes out after dark...

Rachel Weaver Mason has just recently moved back to Deer Run.  She left her Amish family years earlier to marry her sweetheart, an Englischer named Ronnie Mason. Now, Ronnie is dead, and she's a widow with a nine-year-old daughter to support. When Ronnie was alive, it seemed as if her mother-in-law, Amanda Mason, hated Rachel, but when she died, the bitter old woman left Rachel her house and a small pension.  The house is in serious disrepair, but Rachel plans to turn it into a bright and sparkling bed and breakfast.  So, with a little paint, lots of work, and even more love, Rachel hopes to make a life here.

Colin McDonald has taken over his father's real estate business, leaving his dad home alone while he works.  It's clear that his father is suffering from the early stages of Alzheimer's, and Colin is facing the inevitable: soon he'll have to hire a caregiver for his parent, something he doesn't want to do, especially knowing his father will fight him over the decision.  He stops by the old Mason house to welcome Rachel back home, but she greets him with a cold shoulder.  She remembers Colin as Ronnie's best friend who deserted them both when they needed his help.  But Colin sees things differently. He didn't walk away from Rachel.  He kept a distance so he wouldn't have to stay around and watch Ronnie hurt her.

Rachel has a lot of problems on her shoulders. She isn't under an Amish ban, but she fears her family's opinion of her raising Mandy Englisch.  She left home at eighteen before she committed to the church, but even so, her family doesn't really speak to her anymore. And she's worried that most of the town will take their lead in avoiding her.  That is, everyone except her brother, fourteen-year-old Benjamin.  He's been helping her work on the house every day, rain or shine.  Rachel notices Ben's fearful demeanor, and coerces the truth out of him.  He isn't just scared; the boy is literally terrified for his life! Rachel promises to help him.  Benjamin is convinced that someone wants to kill him, and he has good reason to support his claim.  Rachel can't go to the police, that is not the Amish way, and her father would never forgive her if she involved the law.  No, she will have to find a way to solve this puzzle all on her own.

Something is wrong in Deer Run. People have reported hearing shots up near the old abandoned farm on the hill, and recently, two Amish teenagers, both friends of Benjamin's, have mysteriously disappeared.  Now, more than ever, Benjamin will always be HOME BY DARK.

HOME BY DARK is the first novel in a new Amish suspense series by Marta Perry. I was unable to locate a series title, so I took the liberty to say this is the first book in the Deer Run series.  Taut and suspenseful, both Benjamin and Rachel begin seeing shadows in the night.  And it soon becomes clear that someone is trying to keep Rachel from opening her new business.  A plethora of characters and top notch story telling will have you reading far into the night!  I'm looking forward the next book in the series, and hope it's to be released soon!

HOME BY DARK is definitely a must buy for your keeper shelf!

Diana Risso