AMISH FUGITIVE by Shelley Shepard Gray
SERIES: Love Inspired Cold Case
GENRE: Romantic Amish Mystery/Suspense (Christian)
PUBLISHER: Inspirational Cold Case Collection (Love Inspired)
RELEASE DATE: July 25, 2023
An Amish outcast. A woman willing to help.
A killer determined to silence them.
Daniel Miller’s Amish community won’t accept him even though he’s been acquitted of a crime he didn’t commit. When Lela Borntrager offers to help him find the real culprit, Daniel has a chance to prove his innocence. But a killer on the loose puts them both in danger. Will Daniel accept Lela’s help, or will he sacrifice clearing his name to keep her safe?
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I’ve really enjoyed the books that Shelley Shepard Gray has written for the Love Inspired Cold Case line, and Amish Fugitive is no exception. The cold case element allows for a slower pace than the typical Love Inspired Suspense titles (which are action packed from the first page to the last, with little down time) and contains a great mix of romance, mystery, and suspense. Gray’s writing voice lends itself perfectly to this style of book, and I love that her signature warmth and down-to-earth characters get a chance to shine in this genre too.
In Amish Fugitive, Daniel Miller is returning home at long last but he’s certainly not getting a hero’s welcome. On the contrary, his Amish community doesn’t seem to care that the courts overturned his murder conviction; as far as they’re concerned, he did kill one of their own. Never mind that he’s one of their own too and was framed for the murder. Even though most of us (hopefully lol) have never experienced Daniel’s exact situation, the author skillfully keeps him relatable to the average reader. After all, we’ve all felt unwelcome at some point in our lives – many times by people whom we hoped would extend grace or friendship.
Enter Lela Borntrager, who out of everyone in the community really does have a reason to harbor ill feelings toward Daniel (she’s related to the young man who was killed). Yet instead she is one of the only people to offer him friendship and acceptance … and maybe even her heart. I loved Lela right away. She is warm and gracious and witty, and she’s definitely someone you want in your corner. She does the right thing even when it costs her, and that’s always an admirable trait in a person, fictional or otherwise. I enjoyed watching her friendship with Daniel blossom into romance as the story progresses, and I appreciated her constant presence in his life despite his attempts to distance himself for her protection.
The mystery in Amish Fugitive has high stakes. Not only does Detective Nate want to find justice for his murdered nephew, but he also wants to give Daniel back the life that the initial halfhearted investigation took from him. I loved the team that Nate, Lela, and Daniel made in this story, particularly as Lela finally got to establish a relationship with her uncle (Nate) who has been estranged from his Amish family. While nothing about the eventual outcome of the case terribly surprised me, the path to get there IS full of twists and turns that kept me absorbed in the story & turning the pages.
Bottom Line: Amish Fugitive by Shelley Shepard Gray is an enjoyable cold case mystery with a dash of suspense and a sweet romance. Gray also usually includes a secondary romance thread, and I really loved the one in this book! Themes of restoration, friendship, and forgiveness are lightly tucked into the plot, supporting the story without being preachy or saccharine, and the layered characters feel real and relatable. I enjoyed this warmly-written read, and I’m looking forward to the next one!
(I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book which I purchased for my own collection. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)
My Rating: 4 stars / loved it!
KissingBook Level: 3 / may forget to breathe on occasion
Shelley Shepard Gray is a NYT and USA Today bestselling author. She’s published over a hundred novels and has over a million books in print. She currently lives in northern Ohio and writes full time.
Shelley lives just an hour from Holmes County, where many of her Amish-themed novels are set. She currently writes contemporary romance and Amish fiction for a variety of publishers. When not spending time with her family or writing, she can usually be found walking her two dachshunds on one of the many trails in the Cleveland area.
She also bakes a lot, loves coconut cream pie, and will hardly ever pull weeds, mow the yard, or drive in the snow.
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