Monday, February 25, 2013

A Plain Death

"A Plain Death" by Amanda Flower opens on a country road as Chloe Humphrey hauls her entire life in a rental trailer hitched behind her small car to what may seem like an even smaller town.  If it weren't for the job she were recently offered, she would never have caught herself on such a journey.  

Along the bumpy ride, Chloe spots a young girl being harassed by two men in a green pickup truck along the side of the road.  She did what any responsible person would do.  She rescued young Becky Troyer.  Little did she know that this simple, ex-Amish young girl would be the cause of an even bumpier ride.

Before Chloe knew it, she was thrown into the middle of more excitement Appleseed Creek had ever seen.  Becky began living with Chloe, which attracted more than just her handsome older brother, Timothy, who Chloe had more than once blushed over, but most unfortunately, Becky also attracted the entire town's attention when she killed Bishop Glick who just so happened to be the father of the man she was suppose to marry had she stayed in the Amish faith.  

At first, everyone thought it was an accident, but when police Chief Rose shined light that the brake line had been cut, the realization of murder hung in the air like a bad stench.  Chloe was determined to find out who sabotaged her vehicle and why, just as much as to help her new friend.  She dove head first into the mystery as an amateur sleuth to find the answers no one else seemed to be asking.  Was her brake line cut to hurt Chloe or Becky, and if it was to hurt Becky, how did they know she would be the one to drive the car that day when she doesn't even have a license.  Something else weighed on Chloe's mind, If everyone in Appleseed Creek knew everyone and all their little secrets, how come no one was coming forward about other crime in the area that might have been linked to Bishop Glick's murder?  Chloe was going to uncover the truth even if she had to question every single person in Appleseed Creek including the resistant Amish who seemed to know more than they were letting on.

Usually I am very fond of books written about a world not open to outsiders: the world of the Amish.  The Amish have always fascinated me.  I don't particularly know why.  It could be a mixture of many things: their closeness to each other, their secrecy, their simple ways of life that teach a person to be patient, kind, understanding, and to stop and smell the roses after an honest and long day of useful work....  What ever the reason, I enjoy slipping easily into the pages of a book that involve the Amish.  I feel that for a brief moment, I have been given permission to slide past their rules and into the heart of their lives to uncover a little bit more of who they are.  

Amanda Flower's "A Plain Death" does a great job of engaging the reader.  I fell in love right away with her characters whether it was the courageous Chloe, the naive Becky, or the strong and handsome Timothy.  I enjoyed reading through their moments of friendship, love, and struggles. 

However, as much as I loved the characters and the story as a whole, I was disappointed with the ending.  I was able to forgive the grammatical errors, but it was the story losing steam that deflated my spirits.  It seemed just as the story was getting to the climax of uncovering the true antagonist-- Amanda Flower either realized the story was taking too long, or perhaps her agent told her to eliminate some of her word count--the ending cut short.  The finalization happened much too quickly.  I was hoping for a little more of suspense.  Don't get me wrong.  This book was good, which is why I gave it four stars.  Personally, however, I would have preferred a little bit more UMPH to the ending.

I received this book courtesy of Netgalley and B&H Publishing Group.  In no way has my review of this book been influenced by either of these companies.  

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