After a few years as a police officer in Chicago, Michael Keane has no trouble relaxing into the far less stressful job of deputy sheriff in his small hometown. After all, nothing ever happens in Hidden Springs, Kentucky. Nothing, that is, until a dead body is discovered on the courthouse steps. Everyone in town is a little uneasy. Still, no one is terribly worried–after all the man was a stranger–until one of their own is murdered right on Main Street.
As Michael works to solve the case it seems that every nosy resident in town has a theory. When the sheriff insists Michael check out one of these harebrained theories, his surprising discovery sends him on a bewildering search for a mysterious killer that has him questioning everything he has ever believed about life in Hidden Springs.
Ann H. Gabhart caught the writing bug at the age of ten and has been writing ever since. She’s published over twenty-five books for both adults and young adults. Scent of Lilacs, her first inspirational novel, was chosen as a Top Ten Christian Fiction Book by Booklist magazine. Her first Shaker book, The Outsider, was a finalist for ECPA Christian Fiction Book of the Year and was a Top Pick by Romantic Times Book Review Magazine. Ann writes about Kentucky history and small town life.
Ann lives on a farm in Kentucky not far from where she was born. She and her husband have three children and nine grandchildren. Ann loves hiking on her farm with her grandkids and her dog, Oscar. See more about her books at http://www.annhgabhart.com.
Ann Gabhart is known for her historical fiction, but in Murder at The Courthouse, she has ventured into the contemporary, cozy mystery genre. Set in a Kentucky town, this novel has all of the elements — small town setting with a Mayberry vibe, characters that know everyone else’s business and a dedicated sheriff’s deputy determined to find the truth, wherever it may be. The result is a down-home mystery with twists and turns.
Michael Keane has returned home to Hidden Springs after a stint as a big-city policeman. Content to write speeding tickets and follow-up on petty theft, he soon comes face to face with the unthinkable — a body on the Courthouse steps. With wild theories flying across the town, Michael investigates leads with a dogged determination and finds answers where no one wants to go.
Murder at The Courthouse, first book in the Hidden Springs Mystery series, was a bit of a slow go for me at first. There are lots of characters introduced with all their backstories. And while useful for this book and the sequels to come, I kept wanting the action to get going. Eventually the story sped up, and I found myself turning the pages. The characters were generally likable, even the pesky and persistent newspaper editor, and fit into the small town mold. The mystery was at first puzzling, but I figured out whodunit before the deputy did. I also found myself re-reading sentences to get the real meaning (there is a bit of a punctuation problem — not enough commas). All in all, I found it to be an okay read. A lot of reviewers on Amazon gave it 5 stars, so be sure to check out their comments.
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(Thanks to Revell for a review copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)
Are you a cozy mystery fan? What about this genre do you like the most?