Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Clouds without Rain by P.L. Gaus
The story opens with Professor Michael Branden working undercover as an Amish man, trying to flush out the teens who were robbing the Amish as they drove their buggies. His unproductive day ends with a radio broadcast from Sheriff Bruce Robertson at the site of a violent accident involving a jackknifed truck, an Amish buggy, a couple cars, including a deputy's, and a fire. In trying to rescue the deputy, Robertson is critically injured by the fire, leaving Branden, newly deputized, to work with the rest of the department in the investigation. It isn't long before Branden learns the dead Amish man was a wheeler-dealer, a man who owned land in three counties, including land he had just taken away from eight Amish families. The land transactions brings Pastor Cal Troyer into the situation, the third man in the friendship with Branden and Robertson. Troyer, one of the few English trusted by the Amish, works closely with a local bishop, Andy Weaver, brother of that Amish land owner.
While the police look one direction in their investigation, Branden searches for answers to the questions about the land deals. And, when a local banker disappears, the professor knows he's on the right track. Is it possible that accident wasn't really an accident?
Gaus' mysteries of the Ohio Amish-Country are always fascinating, with the glimpses of that unusual culture. In this one, he deals with issues of the loss of land, the loss of the Old Order as many Amish turn to modern ways, and the trouble teens get into. Gaus manages to skillfully incorporate all of these elements into a mystery and the investigation by three men linked by their childhood friendship.
Clouds without Rain is another strong entry in this intriguing series. Anyone with an interest in Amish Country can learn a great deal from this author and series.
P.L. Gaus' website is www.plgaus.com
Clouds without Rain by P.L. Gaus. Penguin Group (USA), ©2011. ISBN 9780452296688 (paperback), 208p.
FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.