cover image Missing: The Secrets of Crittenden County, Book One

Missing: The Secrets of Crittenden County, Book One

Shelley Shepard Gray. Avon Inspire, $12.99 trade paper (245p) ISBN 978-0-06-208970-0

The first romance in the Secrets of Crittenden County trilogy traces the budding relationship between "Englischer" Walker Anderson and Amish Lydia Plank. They first met when she was dating Perry Borntrager, but now Perry%E2%80%94after getting involved with the wrong crowd%E2%80%94has gone missing. When his murdered body is discovered in the bottom of a well, the small community becomes embroiled in scandal. Cincinnati detective Luke Reynolds is assigned to the case, and begins asking prying questions that threaten to dredge up a past most folks would rather forget. Worried they may be suspects, Walker and Lydia refuse to talk about the last time they saw Perry. Luke's frustration with the townspeople's reticence is tangible and understandable, and highlights the difficulties outsiders have penetrating close-knit Amish communities. There are precious few clues and the focus is primarily on Lydia and her secrets, and though Walker and Lydia grow close during the investigation, she remains conflicted about whether or not to leave her culture behind and pursue a relationship with Walker. The frustratingly unresolved whodunit will likely drag into the next book, but Walker and Lydia's burgeoning romance will keep readers engaged. (Mar. 20)