Sunday, November 18, 2012


Publisher:  Avon Inspire
Date published:  September 4, 2012
ISBN:  9780062089755
Reviewed by Lynne
Obtained via publisher.


The tragic death of Perry Borntrager continues to plague the small Amish community in Crittenden County, Kentucky as the search for his killer continues.

Jacob Schrock, the last person to see Perry alive, is highly suspect.  Battling his own demons as he recalls his last moments with Perry, because of their rocky friendship, he feels increasingly guilty.  Especially when Deborah Borntrager, Perry’s beautiful sister, begins working at his father’s variety store.  She is a constant, troubling reminder of her brother and of the pain he brought to the Schrock family.

Deborah has problems of her own.  Not only has she been attracted to Jacob since she was a child, but her parents cannot seem to get past their son’s death, almost forgetting they have a daughter at all.  To escape the isolation of her home, Deborah seeks out a job to fill her lonely days.  Schrock’s Variety Store is the last place she wants to be, but it’s the only place that will hire her.  Soon, working together with Jacob only increases her attraction for him.  Jacob also discovers that his attraction for her is growing, too.

When all evidence regarding Perry’s murder begins leaning in Jacob’s direction, and he is taken to jail, Deborah worries that the only man she has ever loved may be the same man who killed her only brother.

FOUND:  THE SECRETS OF CRITTENDEN COUNTY is the third book in Shelley Shepard Gray’s wonderful trilogy, set in Amish country.  Well-written, it is a page turner that will keep the reader riveted until the end, once the mystery surrounding Perry Borntrager’s untimely death is uncovered.

Having only read the first book in the Crittenden County trilogy, MISSING, I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy this third and final book of the series.  But I actually believe that FOUND is good enough to stand alone.  Gray has done a great job of bringing the reader up to par with the characters and with what is happening.  I did miss seeing how the relationship between Detective Luke Reynolds and Frannie Eicher developed, but it took nothing away from FOUND in any way.  I thoroughly enjoyed this story and, as before, I absolutely love the characters.  The reader is so easily drawn into their lives, they quickly grow on you.

Schrock’s Variety Store is still a delightful, comical part of FOUND.  Gray was unique in her use of the two kittens, and I loved reading about them, as I did the other critters in MISSING.  Mr. Schrock is one of those characters who is kind and loving, yet is a bit eccentric in his ways and beliefs.  It endeared me to him, despite everything going on in this story.

Gray’s development of her earlier characters, particularly Walker Anderson, an Englischer, and Lydia Plank was interesting and a pleasure to read about.  Gray offers some unexpected surprises in their relationship that I find inspiring and heart-warming.

The growing relationship between Jacob Schrock and Deborah Borntrager adds a special sweetness to FOUND.  Especially when Deborah goes against her parents’ wishes, refusing to stay away from the man she loves.  I enjoyed watching these two grow together and support one another.

Gray is a particularly talented author, and I find it great the way she chose to set her trilogy in Amish country, with a murder mystery.  She pulls it off one hundred percent.  She keeps the reader guessing almost until the end as to whodunit. 

One doesn’t always feel empathy toward a criminal.  But because Perry Borntrager wasn’t always a bad person, the reader cannot help but feel for him, not just in the choices he made but in the tragedy of his death at so young an age.  Especially in an Amish community.  There were times I felt sad for him, secretly hoping he would turn his life around, although I already knew the consequences of the choices he had made.  He is an interesting character, to be sure.

It is sad to see this wonderful trilogy come to an end.  At some point, I hope to read the second installment, THE SEARCH, just to fill in a few gaps and enjoy these characters awhile longer.  It is well worth the time for anyone interested to read FOUND and, in fact, the entire trilogy of THE SECRETS OF CRITTENDEN COUNTY.  I greatly enjoyed the series and know others will, too.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.

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