Review of Shadows of Lancaster County by Mindy Starns Clark

About the book:

Anna thought she left the tragedies of the past behind when she moved from Pennsylvania to California, but when her brother vanishes from the genetics lab where he works, Anna has no choice but to head back home. Using skills well-honed in Silicon Valley, she follows the high-tech trail her brother left behind, a trail that leads from the simple world of Amish farming to the cutting edge of DNA research and gene mapping.

Anna knows she must depend on her instincts, her faith in God, and the help of the Amish community to find her brother. She also must finally face her own shadows—and pray that she’s stronger than the grief that threatens to overwhelm them all.

My review:

I dare say I have discovered the perfect suspense/mystery novel today when I finished Shadows of Lancaster County by Mindy Starns Clark.

Phenomenal. Intelligent. Masterful. Complex. Amazingly well-written, and full of intrigue. These are a few of the things that come to mind as I reflect on the mystery/suspense aspects of the story. The entire novel was edge-of-your-seat suspense, but there was also a very complex and believeable plot that thankfully didn’t insult my intelligence. By that I mean it was easy to follow but brilliantly plotted. I learned a lot while putting the pieces of the mystery puzzle together.

And the red herrings actually worked! Plus, the "surprise" at the end was totally believable, which is often not the case. Sheesh, I don’t even like mysteries or suspense novels all that much but even I was riveted to the text. The romantic element was pleasurable, too. This is simply an incredible story that captivated me from start to finish. It’s going to make my best fiction list, too. I’ve been fortunate with my reading selections as of late. Those I finish, anyway.

One final note. I love it when I am so into a story that even I don’t know who to trust. Did I mention this was an incredible story? It’s one not to miss. The last time I read an intelligent novel with ethical dilemmas that captivated me as much as this novel was over a year ago when I read Informed Consent by Sandra Glahn, (Cook 2007). That was a masterpiece, too, but I daresay Ms Starns Clark has managed to top that one as well.

Shadows of Lancaster County was published by Harvest House and released in January 2009.

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