After her family was brutally murdered before her eyes ten years ago, Leah Miller left the Amish community. The man believed to have committed the crime is thought to be dead. So why, as the tenth anniversary of the murders approaches, are Amish girls being killed? And why is their killer apparently setting his sights on Leah? Leah, now in law enforcement, will have to work with new chief Dalton Cooper to unravel the clues and solve the crime before the killer gets up close and personal with Leah herself.
MAN, this is a heck of a read! It’s got suspense by the bucketful, as the killer continually taunts Leah and always seems to be one step ahead. The tension builds as the anniversary of her family’s murders draws nearer and as the victims are increasingly closer to Leah. Alford includes the killer’s point of view in the story, too, which helps keep the pressure on.
There’s an element of romance, too, as Leah and Dalton develop feelings for each other. It’s a little bit of an insta-romance, but not entirely, as Dalton has a connection to the case that he’s reluctant to reveal. His personal interest gives him at least a little pause before he lets himself act on his interest in Leah. I found his personal connection fascinating, and thought it added a nice touch to the story.
Marge, Leah’s adoptive mother, is battling dementia. I thought Alford did a masterful job of portraying the difficulties Leah faced trying to help an aging parent cope, as well as the pain Marge felt in her lucid moments, realizing her grip on her memories was slipping. I wanted to reach in and hug them both, because that’s a rough thing to deal with.
As you might expect with a book where many of the characters are part of a religious community, faith in God definitely plays a role. Leah drifted away from her faith after her family was killed, and she struggles to find her way back. Dalton relies fairly heavily on his faith and has a fellow believer who he can talk to and be encouraged by. I do love a story where the faith portrayed isn’t tacked on as an afterthought, but is an integral and important part of the characters’ lives.
And lest you think I thought this book was perfect, there was one teeny-weeny thing that stuck in my craw just a little. When Leah learned of Dalton’s personal interest in the case, she took it poorly. Understandably, she felt hurt that he hadn’t trusted her with that sooner. Yet, in just a couple of pages, they’re back on good terms, with very little said about the matter. This one thing felt super rushed to me and I would think that situation would play out differently in real life. In the grand scheme, though, that was but a minor blip on my enjoyment of the story.
Overall, this was a great read. Lots of twists and turns, insight into the killer’s thoughts without overly gory descriptions of crime scenes, characters who rely on their faith and each other, and just enough romance to keep it interesting. And I learned something! I had no idea there were Amish communities in Montana. I had to go look up St. Ignatius. Beautiful country up there. I’d love to visit.
Five stars to Mary Alford for a ripping good thrill ride of a book!
+ $25 gift card to Barnes & Noble.
(US only; ends midnight, CDT, 6/17/2022)