Monday, February 11, 2013

A fortuitous goof?

A couple weeks ago, I got an early egalley of The Names of our Tears by P. L. Gaus when I thought I was downloading Margaret from Maine by John Monninger. Both are Penguin Group/Plume publications, but obviously the files got misnamed when they were posted on NetGalley, so I got this instead of that. What a lucky break for me! I was unfamiliar with this series, and would probably not have picked this up. I usually avoid anything labeled Christian lit, not because I'm anti-Christian (quite the contrary) but because the genre tends to be too gooey sweet for me.

The Names of Our Tears is a first rate murder mystery, evidently part of a series (Ohio Amish Mysteries). The religious connection comes from its setting and its characters. The victim is a young Amish girl who appears to have become somehow involved in drug-running between Florida and Ohio. How the local sheriff goes about solving the who and why makes for a riveting story. Gaus holds the reader's interest, adds plots twists and new elements, all the while weaving in a respectful description of Amish mores and precepts.

I've gone back (via the NetGalley feedback button) and asked Penguin for some publicity files (cover shots etc) for the Gaus book, and if I get it, I'll publish a more formal review closer to the pub date in May. In the meantime, put it on your radar's not the first in the series, but can easily stand alone. A solid 3 1/2 stars.


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