Publication Date: 03/04/2014
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: Berkley Prime Crime
Genre: Cozy Mystery
(Received for an honest review from Berkley Prime Crime)
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Indiebound
Laura Bradford (aka. Elizabeth Lynn Casey) on the WEB: website, twitter, facebook, goodreads
Books in the series:
Hearse and Buggy (2012), Assaulted Pretzel (2013), Shunned and Dangerous (2014)
Coverart: Click the Image for a larger, clearer view of the covers in this series.
Excerpt from, Shunned and Dangerous, courtesy of
Living in the small town of Heavenly, Pennsylvania, Claire Weatherly has come to admire the Amish for their wholesome, honest way of life. But she also knows that nothing is as simple as it seems—especially when murder disturbs the peace.
Claire has always been game for a good puzzle, so when she hears that Mose Fisher has made one of his famous corn mazes, she can’t wait to walk the paths and test her skill. But she’ll have a much more serious puzzle to solve when, deep inside the maze, she discovers the body of Amish dairy farmer Harley Zook.
It won’t be easy for Detective Jakob Fisher to investigate a murder on his own father’s farm—not after being shunned by the man for leaving the Amish community and becoming a cop. With Mose himself as a suspect, and old family secrets cropping up, it’s up to Claire to help catch the killer before she finds herself at a dead end.
Laura Bradford once again transports her readers to the heart of Amish country in her latest Amish mystery, Shunned and Dangerous. Readers who enjoy well researched mysteries will love Bradford's attention to detail and her obvious love for the Amish people. Readers will have to use all of their senses to figure out this whodunit, that pits a detective, against his Amish roots, with his father as a possible suspect. Fans of the series will be waiting to see what happens to Claire's shop, who killed Harley Zook, and if Claire and Jakob will ever acknowledge their feelings for each other. A great addition to the series!
What I liked:
I am a fan of Amish related stories in just about every genre. I have great respect for their simplistic life and their devotion to their faith, so when this mystery series featuring the Amish came out, I was really excited. Laura Bradford has certainly done her homework. Not only does she give readers an insiders view in the Amish community their practices and religious beliefs, she also delves into the underbelly of the Amish faith. Sometimes that includes gossip, rage and even murder. What a great theme for a cozy series! Bradford certainly does it justice.
One of the interesting things about this series, is that the heroine herself, is not Amish. Claire is a transplanted Heavenly, Pennsylvania resident. She is trying desperately to make a go of her shop in town and needs to make it able to support her before her meager savings are depleted. Now her assistant Ester is getting married and will have to stop working for her and making the high dollar items she crafts for th shop. I loved the fact that Bradford went outside of the religious order to bring us the heroine of this series, Claire is gaining a lot of understanding of the Amish people, but she still has that outsiders perspective that works so well in this series. I thought Bradford did a great job of balancing the mystery against Claire's personal life in this one and I was just as interested in one as in the other.
Claire finds the body of a local Amish Dairy farmer deep in the corn maze on Mose Fishers' farm. That presents several different problems for Claire. First Mose is the father of her assistant and she is worried that he might be the best suspect. Second he is also the father of the local police detective investigating the case. The big problem is that Claire has feelings for said detective who has some issues with the Amish since he was shunned and left the faith to become a cop. The murder victim, Harley Zook encouraged Jakob and was the only Amish to support his decision, much to the rancor of his father. Quite a mess! Bradford makes it look easy as she moves between all the characters, dropping clues and leaving red herrings for the reader. It wasn't really clear who could have done it other than Mose, or what other motive might existed for much of the book, which I thought was amazing. I definitely couldn't figure out who else it could have been for awhile.
I liked the way that Jakob used Claire's help with this case. He knew the Amish people would not talk to him due to the shunning. He also was far too close to the case considering his father was the main suspect. Mose did not like Harley Zook. He blamed him for taking his son away and now his other son was gone. He had the perfect motive. But Jakob couldn't find the information he needed to clear him on his own. These two characters obviously have a thing for each other, but, don't want to admit it. It should be interesting in future books to see where this goes.
What I didn't like:
Jakob seemed a bit lackadaisical about the investigation. I understood that he couldn't do a lot of investigating but it seemed like he should have been a bit more adamant about what was happening. It was his father after all that was being accused of murder. It certainly didn't take away my enjoyment of the book, just a minor pet peeve.
This is a great addition to the series and readers are sure to find that Bradford took the time to really develop this story. She didn't leave anything to chance and kept me in the dark until close to the end. This one had an interesting plot that kept me guessing.
Shunned and Dangerous will be available to the public on March 4th. Pre-order is available NOW.
I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!
About the Author:
The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway for one copy of Shunned and Dangerous by Laura Bradford.
~ You must be an email subscriber to participate.
~ US addresses only.
~ The deadline to enter this giveaway is Midnight EST, March 17th.
1. Please leave a comment about a great Amish style dish you like to serve your family or would like to try.
2. Please fill out the FORM.