Monday, October 7, 2013

Book Review: A Plain Good Mystery

A warm thank you goes out to B&H Publishing Group for the complimentary copy of A Plain Disappearance I received in exchange for an honest review.
     Author Amanda Flower continues her Appleseed Creek Mystery series with A Plain Disappearance. Chloe Humphrey, a twenty-something young lady, moves into the heart of Ohio's Amish country to Appleseed Creek. She is a bit of a standout with bright red hair and more obviously, no Amish roots. Some of the locals have warmed up to her which is why she works as a bit of a sleuth for Appleseed's police chief. This Christmas is unlike any other when a local teenage Amish girl goes missing and is found dead in the snow laden countryside.
     Chloe, along with her former-Amish boyfriend, Timothy Troyer, set to work to help crack the case. Many suspects come out of the woodwork and are intertwined as Appleseed Creek is a town where everyone knows your name, whether you want them to or not. One such character, Billy Thorpe, turns out to be one of high interest as his harried past catches up with him. It is up to Chloe to set the record straight and dig through the Amish's tight-lipped ways. Trying to prove Billy's innocence is a task that puts many reputations on the line, including Chloe's.
      A Plain Disappearance makes for an enjoyable read, although I did find the simplistic, first-person voice a little trite. Chloe is written to be a woman of intelligence yet, her voice seemed weak at times and a bit redundant. The other aspect that was frustrating was keeping the characters straight. There seemed to be too many male characters that were so closely related, whether by familial ties or neighborly, it was hard to decipher who was who. In fact, there were three teenage characters I finally had in line by the end of the story and not a page before.
     The story line was interesting enough. I appreciated it was a modern-day plot where modernity meshes with antiquity. The paradox that unfolds between two different cultures is one I read with keen observance. I realize how easy it is to judge the ways of others when we simply are unfamiliar with varying customs. There isn't necessarily a correct way, just a different way. The other bit of moral goodness found was that just as it is inappropriate to judge customs, it is just as wrong to judge the person. Many characters in this mystery tried to hide something of themselves from the world, only to be misread as deceit. We really cannot tell what it is they are hiding and probably more importantly, why it is they are holding up a mask.
     A Plain Disappearance was a nice break from my other reading. If you are one to enjoy a mystery with many twists and turns pull up a seat and enjoy.


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