Thursday, September 19, 2019

Book Review: A Killer Carol by Laura Bradford (Amish Mysteries #7)


Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Strong characters, compelling mystery
Cons: None worth mentioning
The Bottom Line:
Killing at Christmas
Draws Claire into the drama
Strong, refreshing book




A Killing at Christmas is Anything but Heavenly for Claire

Quite obviously, there are a number of series I enjoyed, but some series stand out above the rest.  Every time I pick up one of Laura Bradford’s Amish Mysteries, I know I can sit back and relax into the story.  That held true with A Killer Carol.

Christmas is approaching in Heavenly, Pennsylvania, and Claire Weatherly has her hands full.  Not only does she have the normal tourists coming into her shop, Heavenly Treasures, to buy gift items, some of them crafted by the Amish, but she is organizing the first annual One Heavenly Night event designed as a chance for residence and tourists to enjoy the town at Christmas.  She is focusing on it, wanting to make sure that every detail is perfect.

However, murder rears its ugly head once again one night.  Annie, the Amish teen who works for Claire, is out Christmas caroling with some friends, and when they stop at the Esch’s farm, they find both of the them dead.  Detective Jakob Fisher is quick to realize it was murder.  Unfortunately, the last people to visit the victims were Claire’s Amish friend Ruth and her new husband Samuel.  Even worse, the couple appear to have a motive for committing the crime.  Claire doesn’t believe they could have done it, but Jakob has to follow the evidence wherever it leads, even if it ruins the unofficial inroads he has made in building relationships with the people who used to be his family before he left the Amish community.  Can Claire help him solve the case before that happens?

This series works best when the characters are driving a strong mystery.  This book is a perfect example of that.

The characters in this series have always been super strong.  I felt like I knew them from the first time they walked on the page of book one.  That continues here.  There are a large group of series regulars, but I never have a hard time keeping them straight, and I can’t help but smile when they first appear in this book.  I was thrilled to get to spend time with these old friends.  That extends to the new characters as well.  They are just as strong as the returning players, and, honestly, I want updates on some of them in the future.

Heavenly, being a town right on the edge of an Amish community, always feels like it has a bit of a slower pace to it, and that does come across in the plots of the book.  This is not a mystery with a twist on every page.  Now, don’t misunderstand, there are twists and surprises as well as a logical conclusion.  However, they are spaced out a bit more.  But anything faster paced in this setting wouldn’t feel right.  And, it also allows us time to see how the characters process what they are learning.  Honestly, this is much of the charm of the series and why the characters are so strong.  They aren’t just getting clues, but those clues are impacting them.  And it’s because of this that I found this book impossible to put down.  The mystery is driving forward, but I need to make sure my friends will be okay when it ends.  In fact, this series is the one I am most tempted to peak at the ending when I’m reading.  (No, I didn’t actually do that.)

Then there’s the setting itself.  I want to visit Heavenly.  It seems like I’m always rushing to get something done, and Heavenly, with its slower pace, is just what I need to relax.   Reading this book is the next best thing, and I can feel my spirit being refreshed just by reading the first page.  As much as I love Christmas, the fact that this series has a Christmas setting makes this one even more relaxing.  The Christmas details are fun and really do add to the charm of this book.

Yes, I did have a couple of niggles with this book as I was reading, but they didn’t bother me that much.  I was enjoying spending time in the setting and with the characters too much.

A Killer Carol is a fantastic addition to one of my favorite series.  It will provide a nice bit of calm to enjoy in December.  Or now if, like me, you wouldn’t be able to wait that long to catch up with Claire, Jakob, and the rest of the characters.

Be sure to enjoy all of your visits to Heavenly with the rest of the Amish Mysteries.

NOTE: I received a copy of this book.

Giveaway!

Thanks to the publisher, I have one copy of this book to give away.  Because it is a physical book, the contest is limited to residence of the US.

Just leave me a comment with your e-mail address so I can get in touch with you if you win.  I will pick the winner Thursday September 26th, so please leave your comment before midnight Pacific Time on 9/26.  You will have until midnight on 10/1 to get back to me, or I will choose a new winner on 10/2.

23 comments:

  1. Really like the cover and title. Getting to be the time of year to read holiday Cozies!
    browninggloria(at)hotmail(dot)con

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  2. This sounds like a really great book! Thanks for the chance to win a copy. acate9(at)utk(dot)edu

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  3. Thanks for the great review and giveaway! doward1952(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  4. I'm familiar with some of Laura Bradford's other series, but not this one. Thank you for your review and the chance! mbradeen [at] yahoo [dot] com

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  5. Thanks for the chance!
    cjreynolds52(at)comcast(dot)net

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  6. The cover for this one is so pretty & I'm looking forward to reading this story!
    turtle6422 at gmail dot com

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  7. Love this cover and can't wait to read the story! Thanks for your review and the chance to win a copy. ljbonkoski@yahoo.com

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  8. I love this series and can’t wait to read this newest installment. Thanks for the chance to win. Frauenb(at)gmail(dot)com

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  9. This series is one of my favorites also. Every time I finish one, I want to visit Heavenly and stay at the Inn and buy some souvenirs at Claire’s shop. Thanks for the chance to win a copy. cking78503(at)aol(dot)com

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  10. Not familiar with this series - thanks for the review and giveaway.

    jtcgc at yahoo dot com

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  11. I love this author and would love the book! dubecara at gmail.com

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  12. I really love this series and can’t wait to read the next one!
    meeshpsych@aol.com

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  13. This sounds really good! Legallyblonde1961 at yahoo dot com

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  14. I love this series. Can't wait to read this one! MarshaMysteryreader at Yahoo dot com

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  15. Would love to read. Great cover! Usersns8800@aol.com. Thank you.

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  16. I've read a few but not this one. Sounds good.
    kozo8989@hotmail.com

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  17. Sounds like a super series - thanks for the chance to win - trwilliams69(at)msn(dot)com

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  18. Sounds like a great story. Just ordered the first book in this series! Thanks for the giveaway. Sue.solin@gmail.com

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  19. I haven't read this series yet. This book is one I would enjoy reading. Thanks for the review and chance to win.
    marypopmom (at) yahoo (dot) com
    Maryann

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  20. This is one of my favorite series. I'm looking forward to reading "A Killer Carol". Thanks for the chance.
    diannekc8(at)gmail(dot)com

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  21. Great review. Love this series! Thanks for the chance to win.
    salvatoresmom71@yahoo.com

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  22. Love Christmas mysteries and this looks like a good one. Please enter me.
    Marilyn ewatvess@yahoo.com

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  23. This looks very cozy. And just in time for the holidays. Thank you. Plrusk@msn.com

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