Monday, August 3, 2009

Shadows of Lancaster County, by Mindy Starns Clark

The cover picture makes the story look like an Amish tale, but for the most part I'd call Shadows of Lancaster County a mystery/thriller. The plot concerns Anna Bailey, who fled Lancaster County to escape a painful past. She's in California making her living as a skip tracer when she receives a phone call from her brother's wife informing her that her brother, Bobby, has disappeared.

Anna realizes she has no choice but to go back and help find him.Even though she's disguised her appearance, it's not long before she's recognized as part of a notorious crime that took place when she was a teenager. Her search for Bobby takes her back into the Amish family of her sister-in-law, then draws her deeper into the mystery surrounding his disappearance. Following the trail her brother left, she’s drawn into the high tech world of DNA research and cutting edge gene therapy.

As Anna digs deeper, she begins to suspect that nothing is quite what it seems in the peaceful world her brother inhabited. Shadows of Lancaster County builds to an exciting climax, both in the current mystery of what happened to Bobby and in revelations about the crime of which Anna and her brother were accused eleven years earlier.

The fast-paced story has many moments of high tension, but it seemed to me that it peaked too soon. The last chapters read more like the denouement than a climax. This is not to say that I didn’t like the story. Clark’s sharp research into DNA and genetics gave a gripping air of authenticity to Shadows of Lancaster County. I recommend the book, and would love to hear from other readers as to their opinion of the way the story lines were concluded.


  1. This book looks interesting but knowing your books, I know your comments were honest and to the point. I would love to read the book and see what it is like but I have not read it.
    I am on your website.
    Jane Squires

  2. Thanks for posting a comment, Jane. Thanks, too, for the great review of "The Edge of Light" on Celebrity Cafe.