Monday, July 16, 2012

Review: Shunning Sarah by Julie Kramer

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Atria/Emily Bestler Books (August 7, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 145166463X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451664638

Book Description

An insular Amish town . . . A secret that won’t stay buried . . . 
 Minneapolis’s star investigative reporter Riley Spartz is constantly in search of her next TV sweeps piece. When she hears that a young boy is trapped at the bottom of a sinkhole, she smells ratings. Little does she know just how big the story will be—not only does it involve a tragic murder, but the local Amish community as well. Once Riley is on the case, though, she sees that solving it will be anything but easy.

When Riley finds a clue the cops have missed, she uncovers a dark web of fraud and deception in the community—driven by motives as old as the Bible: sex and money. Riley will stop at nothing to bring the killer to justice, and she is determined to do so before anyone—including herself—becomes the next target.

About the Author

Julie Kramer writes thrillers set in the desperate world of television news. A former news producer for NBC, CBS, and WCCO-TV, she’s won the Minnesota Book Award and the RT Book Reviewer’s Best First Mystery. She has also been a finalist for the Anthony, Barry, Shamus, Mary Higgins Clark, and Daphne du Maurier Awards. She lives with her family in Minnesota.

My Review

This is my first introduction to the Riley Spratz series by Julie Kramer and I am very impressed.  She has a captivating writing style that keeps you reading.  The main character Riley Spartz is a television news reporter whose investigative skills take her deep into a mystery in the Amish country of Minnesota.

Amish books particularly in the romance field are very popular these days.  I would imagine it is because in our complicated technology filled lives it is nice to go to a simpler place...the land of the Amish.  They live amongst us but are not anything like us.  They are a mystery to us.  The Amish tend to fascinate me as well.  I'll never forget a little Amish girl waving at me from the back of a buggy in Ohio as we rode by her family on our Harley early one summer morning.  And maybe she won't forget the leather clad Harley riding woman smiling and waving back at her.

Our murder victim Sarah was a young Amish woman who was being shunned.  She was no longer living among the Amish when she was murdered.  Shunning to most North Americans is a very mysterious concept but those of us who lived among the Mennonites who are very similar in belief but not as strict in lifestyle have no problem understanding shunning.  Why Sarah was being shunned is not revealed until late in the story and is of course integral to the plot.

Great story that had me guessing until the end. I learned a lot about south eastern Minnesota and I learned a lot about the television news business.  All in all I was very impressed by the easy flowing writing style of the author.  I will try to catch up on the earlier books and am looking forward to more from Julie Kramer.  Shunning Sarah is out on August 7th so be sure to pre-order a copy.

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