Ohio Amish Mysteries
P. L. Gaus
Plume / Penguin
October 26, 2010 / ISBN 978-0453396619
by Dennis Collins
had been a sniper in Vietnam with many notches in the stock of his
rifle. But a wartime experience changed David, and when he returned
to the United States he sought a quieter, gentler existence. He
eventually settled on the Amish lifestyle embracing their faith
as well as their peace loving culture. He even became engaged to
an Amish woman.
But then tragedy
strikes. David’s daughter from a previous marriage is murdered.
Jesse Sands, the murderer, is apprehended at the scene and taken
to jail to await trial. At the urging of Pastor Cal Troyer, David
visits his daughter’s killer to tell him that he forgives
him, but words from the murderer enrage David and he attacks Jesse
Sands through the prison bars. After regaining some self control
David walks out of the jailhouse and drops completely out of sight.
Then a reporter
who has been following the case is found murdered. To Sheriff Robertson
it appears that David Hawkins has reverted to the dangerous killer
that he was in Vietnam. There is no solid evidence to tie Hawkins
to the killing, but there are no other likely suspects. Hawkins’
disappearance only adds fuel to the argument.
Troyer refuses to believe that his friend has lapsed and turns to
his pal, Professor Michael Brandon, to help prove his case. Brandon
is smart and tenacious, the kind of investigator who can thwart
the efforts of a sheriff focusing on no other possibility than the
guilt of David Hawkins.
Author P. L.
Gaus moves this book at a very relaxed tempo - almost as if he is
attempting to slow the reader down to the casual meter of the Amish
themselves. He regularly interrupts the story to point out the beauty
of the countryside or the grace of a butterfly in flight. I don’t
know if it’s intentional, but it works. He proves that you
don’t need a breakneck pace to tell a compelling tale. As
mystery novels go, it ranks with the best of them in keeping the
reader guessing. I must admit that I agreed with the sheriff in
parts of this book. The ending is very well thought out and very
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