Saturday, November 17, 2012


Publisher:  Avon Inspire
Date published:  March 20, 2012
ISBN:  978-0-06-208970-0
Fiction, Inspirational
Reviewed by Lynne
Obtained via publisher.

The quiet Amish community of Crittenden, Kentucky is soon disrupted when the body of Perry Borntrager is discovered at the bottom of a well.

When a police detective from Cincinnati is called in to investigate, Lydia Plank, Perry’s former sweetheart, and Walker Anderson, his best friend and an Englischer, fear they may be suspected.  Although they had nothing to do with Perry’s death, both harbor secrets regarding his final days, which they are reluctant to share with the detective.

Drawn together by Perry’s death, Lydia and Walker soon develop an unlikely friendship which strengthens them to share the truth about Perry.  As more secrets are revealed, they soon realize the possibilities that may exist between them, despite the fact that they live in two separate worlds.

MISSING:  THE SECRETS OF CRITTENDEN COUNTY is the first book in Shelly Shepard Gray’s new trilogy.  Well written, it is fast-paced and will keep the reader turning pages in this sweet whodunit tale of murder, mayhem, and romance. 

The characters of MISSING are very believable and quite likeable.  Lydia Plank, the main female character, is sweet, pretty, and more strong than she realizes.  Walker Anderson, our hero, is a kind, caring, responsible, good-looking athletic-type who readers will empathize with as he struggles over his former relationship with Perry.  I also love the closeness he has with his little sister, Abby, who plays a large role in the mix of things.

One of the secondary characters, Aaron Schrock, who owns Schrock’s Variety store, is wonderful as the comic relief in MISSING.  His crazy ways make for an interesting, humorous break in the midst of all the mysteries surrounding Perry’s unfortunate death.  I love the part about the guinea pigs and the snake that got loose in his store and which helped draw in more customers.  Quite original.

I really like Luke Reynolds, the police detective, and his frustration at not getting answers.  The difficulties he encounters at the bed-and-breakfast really made me feel bad for him.  Mose Kramer, the deputy sheriff, was also an interesting character. 

Gray has done a wonderful job of making us care for all of the characters of MISSING, and her writing skill is undeniable.

There is plenty of conflict in MISSING, as well as a few subplots that add a great deal to the main premise.  Gray does an excellent job of drawing the reader into the Amish community that is so unwilling to share anything known about Perry’s murder.  With so many mysteries surrounding Perry Borntrager, it helps keep the reader riveted. 

I really enjoyed MISSING and look forward to reading the next two books in this series:  THE SEARCH and FOUND.  I was a bit surprised when I was left hanging regarding the truth about Perry’s death, but I find I really don’t mind.  MISSING is a great story, and I look forward with anticipation to reading the other books in order to have all of my questions answered and the mysteries solved.

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


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