Remember books before the mandatory sequel or trilogy format? No? Neither does New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Shelley Shepard Gray.
In her recent book, Missing: The Secrets of Crittenden County, Book One, Gray introduces readers to a community that is shocked over the murder of Perry Borntrager, an Amish boy who was killed and then dumped in a local dry well.
His death is especially painful to two young members of the community: Lydia Plank and Walker Anderson. Lydia, Perry’s ex-girlfriend, had hoped Perry merely left the Amish faith and tried to find a new start in a nearby city. Walker, a former coworker, is haunted by the night that Perry asked for a friend and Walker ignored his cry for help.
Together Walker and Lydia decide how much they can share or hide from Detective Luke Reynolds, who has been brought in to solve the crime, all the while battling the uncertainties of their own choices.
Little clues can be found throughout the book. Was it Frannie, the new girlfriend who is keeping a close eye on Detective Reynols? Was it Mr. Schrock, who certainly realized that Perry had frequently stolen from the store and abused his trust? Was it Mr. Miller, the owner of the property where the body was found?
Just when answers look like they may be coming to the surface, the book abruptly ends. This is Book One, after all, and more is promised in Book Two. Unfortunately, the extremely abrupt ending does not leave the reader wanting more. It leaves a feeling that 245 pages and countless minutes were spent on. . not much.
Readers looking for a good mystery that is actually solved before the last page should look at any book by author Harlan Coben. They are stand-alone and will satisfy any demanding reader. Be aware, however, that all books written by Coben before the year 2000 have inappropriate language while books written after 2000 are cleaner.
Missing, on the other hand, is very clean. As many of the characters in the book are Amish, the language is very clean. The murder occured before the book begins its tale, and therefore the book is also free of violence.