Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!!
I am so excited to welcome my friend Laura Bradford here today!!
I will post my review at the bottom for this book but I just have to tell you know this story is amazing!!
From the Fringes to my Heart
By Laura Bradford
Looking back through my life, I think I always liked the people on the fringes, best. I never fell for the popular jocks, or the boy everyone in class thought was so amazing. I guess, even then, I could see past the sparkle and glare to what mattered most.
So I have to wonder if some of that is why, in both my mystery series, my favorite character is found among the secondary line-up. Sure, I love Claire, my main character in my Amish Mysteries, and Tori in my Southern Sewing Circle Mysteries…but it’s the folks around them that really make me smile.
In Shunned and Dangerous, the third book in my Amish Mysteries, Detective Jakob Fisher (one of my favorites) gets a lot of page time and that couldn’t thrill me more. You see, Jakob has an interesting past—one that’s responsible for a lot of heartache and tension in his present, and it allows me, as the writer, to really delve into the concept of excommunication among the Amish.
Jakob Fisher spent the first nineteen years of his life being Amish. He lived it, and he embraced it. That said, he developed a curiosity about police as he entered his teen years and opted to spend his brief Rumspringa learning more about the profession before he returned to the life he fully intended to lead. So sure was he about his future, he cut his Rumspringa short in order to be baptized.
Once a member of the Amish community is baptized, there is no going back. If they opt to leave before baptism, they can still have a relationship with their family. However, if they opt to leave after baptism, they are ex-communicated from their home, their community, their family. This ex-communication holds true even if the Amish person in question leaves for an otherwise noble reason—like wanting to join the police force to help solve a crime against his brethren…
Today, Jakob is a detective in Heavenly, Pennsylvania, the same town in which he grew up. He took the job to be closer to his family, to see them walking down the street or working in the fields. It’s his way of making sure they’re okay, even though he knows he can’t be part of their lives ever again—not as a son, brother, or uncle, anyway.
It’s a heartbreaking aspect to write, at times, but the dynamic is wrought with opportunities for tension, emotion, and, at times, even hope.
Is it painful to see the rejection Jakob faces from his family at times as this series progresses? Sure. But, at the same time, it makes his triumphant moments all the more powerful.
If you haven’t read my Amish Mysteries yet, I hope you’ll give them a chance.
About This Author
Laura Bradford is the national best-selling author of the Amish Mysteries (Berkley Prime Crime). The third title in the series—Shunned and Dangerous—is now available. To learn more about Laura and the Amish Mysteries, you can visit her website: www.laurabradford.com. If you’d like to say up to date on Laura and her series beyond her website, you can “like” her page on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Laura-Bradford/316744455035472?ref=hl, or follow her on Twitter @Bradfordauthor.
Shunned and Dangerous
(An Amish Mystery)
3rd in Series
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (March 4, 2014)
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Mary Ann Lasher
Cover Design by Sarah Oberrender
Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
E-Book File Size: 1980 KB
Living in the small town of Heavenly, Pennsylvania, Claire Weatherly has come to admire the Amish for their wholesome, honest way of life. But she also knows that nothing is as simple as it seems—especially when murder disturbs the peace.
It is harvest time in Heavenly and Claire is excited to try out one of Mose Fisher’s famous corn mazes. Her excitement quckly turns to terror and she rounds a corner and comes face to face with a very dead Harley Zook. Harley was a local Amish dairy farmer and handyman.
This investigation is going to be difficult for Detective Jakob Fisher. Mose Fisher is his father and because Jakob has been shunned by the Amish Community he has not had any recent contact with the man. When the evidence starts to point directly at Mose things get even tougher. Claire feels she has to step in and find the real killer before someone else turns up dead.
Cozy mysteries are my favorites and Laura Bradford (aka Elizabeth Lynn Casey) is one of my favorite cozy authors. She is an amazing storyteller so I always know the book is going to be a great read but with this story she absolutely blew me away!!
When an author writes a series each book brings a new adventure and the characters continue to evolve. This has to be extremely difficult. You have to tell the reader enough to get them engaged but you can’t “spill all the beans” too soon. In the first 2 books of this series we were introduced to Jakob Fisher and knew he had been shunned by his Amish Family. In this story Jakob takes center stage and we find out more details but also see the pain he must endure for the choice he made.
Most of us know the Amish live a simple life. They do not have telephones or electricity and travel by horse and buggy. Personally there is an Amish community near here and my daughter visits often. She shops in their stores and bring me the most delicious baked goods. I have also witnessed some of their excellent building and woodworking skills. But I never really think of those that have been shunned for choices they have made. How they can forgive someone who may have committed a terrible crime against them but when a member of their family makes a choice after baptism to leave the community they cannot be forgiven. They are ex-communicated (shunned) forever. Even if they have left to protect and serve others. The way Jakob has to deal with this just breaks my heart. Claire is trying to understand the workings of the Amish too, just as I was and this really added to my relationship with this story.
In addition to this character study Bradford creates an outstanding mystery that she weaves right into this heartbreaking situation. There were so many twists and turns it was hard to believe this story took place in just 288 pages. She packed the drama and emotions into this story, it left me reeling.
I love my cozies and with no disrespect intended at all. This was so much more than a cozy mystery. This is a story that is going to stick with me longer than any story I have read in a long time. It was so eye-opening and thought provoking.
Laura you really hit a home run with this one. You get my first Paradise rating of the year. I can’t wait to travel back to Heavenly again soon.
Thanks to the people at Penguin I have 2 copies to give away!
Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
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Contest Will End March19, 2014 at 11:59 PM CST
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and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”