Monday, February 21, 2011

Book Review: "A Prayer for the Night" by P.L. Gaus

Summary from author's website: Amid a whirlwind of drugs, sex, and other temptations of the "English" world, a group of Amish teenagers on the Rumschpringe test the limits of their parent’s religion to the breaking point. The murder of one teenager and the abduction of another challenge Professor Michael Branden as he confronts the communal fear that the young people can never be brought home safely.

Along with Holmes County Sheriff Bruce Robertson and Pastor Cal Troyer, Professor Branden works against the clock to find a murderer and a kidnapper, and to break a drug ring operating in the county, determined, wherever the trail may lead him, to restore the shattered community.

Unlike my last review of Clouds Without Rain which left me feeling kinda ho-hum, this new volume in the Amish-Country Mystery series brought back much revival into the series. For one, this story stood out in my mind because it shows the faults and difficulties that do happen with the Amish. The plot is more realistic because it could also happen to anyone in the outside world and it also shows that teens and young adults, no matter what their background is, can be very susceptible to influences, both good and bad.

This book deals with subjects that aren't normally found in Amish stories but are prevalent in stories that deal with the characters of the same age. The lively team of Branden, Troyer, and Robertson find out that the Amish teens are dealing with drugs and a potential trafficking situation. The problem is that because they've mainly been sheltered throughout most of their entire lives, all this is new to them. They don't necessarily know how to get out once they've been pulled in really deep. While some of the situations are going to the extreme of what the outside world looks like, when I read the story, it seemed a bit scary that the Amish teens pretty much have no idea how to protect themselves. It's mainly because if they are going to stay Amish they most likely would never have to face situations like this but at the same time it's a bit disheartening to know that they were never taught how to keep guard.

Overall, this is another good suspense novel with lots of twists and turns throughout the story to keep the reader turning pages. Again, Gaus gives a good look into the Amish lifestyle without glorifying or romanticizing the culture. I really enjoy reading this different spin on the Amish and I'm looking forward for more good mysteries from him.

A Prayer for the Night by P.L. Gaus is published by Plume (2011)

This ARC was provided by the publisher

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