Thursday, August 13, 2015

Book Review: Shunned and Dangerous by Laura Bradford (Amish Mysteries #3)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Strong characters and mystery
Cons: Claire cries a bit too easily and her action to Jakob’s shunning feels recycled
The Bottom Line:
Murder close to home
Characters continue strong
Engrossing story

Don’t Shun This Book

When Shunned and Dangerous came out in 2014, the reviews of the book made me decide I had to give the series a try.  Sadly, I didn’t get to the series until this year, but I’ve been enjoying it greatly.  I was very much looking forward to seeing what I would think of this book when I got to it.  Once again, it was a good read.

Claire Weatherly loves puzzles, so corn mazes are a special delight.  She is really looking forward to the one put on by Mose Fisher in his corn field, and is down there on a Friday night all ready to find her way out.  When she hears about a more advanced section, she quickly heads there to make it even more challenging.

Unfortunately, before she can find her way out of the maze, she finds the dead body of Harley Zook.  It was the murder of Harley’s brother sixteen years ago that led Detective Jakob Fisher to leave the Amish community, which resulted in his shunning.  All this time, Harley had been the lone advocate for Jakob in the Amish community, which had infuriated Mose, Jakob’s father.  With the close ties to the case, Jakob will have a hard time investigating it, especially when the evidence seems to point to Mose.  How can Claire help him solve the case, especially when she is dealing with her own problems?

Once again, the emotions of this book and these characters are front and center.  It is hard not to hurt for Jakob, especially as he is forced to deal with evidence that points to a man he still loves even if they have a very complicated past and present.  This is even more moving since we see everything from Claire’s third person point of view.  The writing draws you in and lets you get lost in that world.

That cast of characters is vivid.  I never have any trouble remembering who everyone is and their relationship to each other, and I love watching those relationships grow.  The new characters are just as strong, which makes it easy to care about the outcome.

I did figure out the direction the plot was going early on, but I didn’t have the specifics worked out until Claire figured everything out.  The climax was great, and what it revealed about the characters involved was amazing.

I do have some slight issue with this book.  Claire seems to be ready to cry very easily, and I did find it a bit tiring by the end.  Additionally, Claire speaks her mind a little too freely about how Jakob is being treated by his family.  While I happen to agree with her, she needs to come to terms with the Amish beliefs because at this point it is feeling like a recycled plot element.  Then again, maybe the problem is me since I have read the first three books in the last six month and the books only take place over the course of two months.  Either way, I do hope these aspects are toned down some in the next in the series.

And I certainly plan to read more books in the series.  I love this cast of characters, and I need to know what happens to them next.  If you want to get pulled into a great story, Shunned and Dangerous is for you.

To get more of these characters, be sure to read the Amish Mysteries in order.

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