Can two young people survive the suspicions of their friends and neighbors when tragedy strikes a close-knit Amish community?
Perry Borntrager had been missing for months from the quiet Amish community of Crittenden, Kentucky, when his body is discovered at the bottom of an abandoned well. The first death from mysterious circumstances in more than two decades brings the scrutiny of the outside world: A police detective arrives to help the local sheriff with the investigation. His questioning begins with Lydia Plank, Perry’s former girlfriend, and Perry’s best friend, the Englischer Walker Anderson.
Lydia and Walker know they didn’t have anything to do with Perry’s death, but they both hold secrets about his final days. Do they dare open up about the kind of man Perry had become? In the oppressive shadow of these dark times, they discover strength in a most unlikely companionship: one that offers solace, understanding, and the promise of something more.
This is an Amish story with a refreshing twist. In fact -- it's not just an Amish story since half the characters are Englisch, but they all have something in common -- a sense of something missing in their lives. That's a very clever tie-in to the title and the overall theme for the book.
Told from multiple viewpoints gives the reader a sense of kinship with a whole town. And Gray has also added brilliant character quotes at the beginning of each chapter. Most of the quotes are opinions expressed about the murdered man, Perry Borntrager which ups the intrigue both about Perry's last days and the complicated relationships he's left behind.
At the heart of book one of The Secret of Crittenden County series is the tenuous friendship/burgeoning romance between Walker and Lydia. Bound by the secrets they share, they form an uneasy alliance that spirals into a complicated relationship that leaves them both confused. A wonderful basis from which to grow an angsty romance!
While there isn't complete resolution at the end of Missing, there is enough to satisfy a reader while leaving her eager to sample more. The next book in the series, The Search, comes out in July. And the final installment, Found, in September. According to the author, all three books span a time-period of just seven weeks. I'm definitely hooked and can't wait to find out more!
If you would like to win a copy of Missing, please leave a comment below or email me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca. Remember to put the title in the subject line so I can easily spot your entry. Draw will be held and winner announced on Sunday April 8 2012. Offer open to international readers. Good luck!