cover image Dark Angel

Dark Angel

Karen Harper, . . Mira, $7.50 (392pp) ISBN 978-0-7783-2179-8

Well-researched and rich in detail, this addictive follow-up to 2004's Dark Harvest transports readers back to the peaceful Amish community in rural Maplecreek, Ohio. Young spinster schoolteacher Leah Kurtz becomes involved in a conflict between her horse-and-buggy culture and futuristic genetic research after she agrees to adopt the infant daughter of a friend dying from one of the hereditary diseases that plague the Plain People (in real life as well as in fiction). Vicious graffiti targeting "English" outsider Mark Morelli, a doctor researching disease cures, sets a sinister mood that grows darker when his ultra-responsible, teenage Amish assistant mysteriously vanishes. After someone switches Leah's adopted baby in the cradle for another infant, Leah and Mark team up to investigate a series of unsolved disappearances that may lead back to Leah's former fiancé, who abandoned her at the altar years earlier. With its tantalizing buildup and well-developed characters, which ensure that the burgeoning romance between Leah and Mark is as potent as the book's suspense, this offering is certain to earn Harper high marks. (June)