27 July 2012

Investigating the Amish

Shunning Sarah (Riley Spartz #5) by Julie Kramer (Atria Books hardcover, 7 August 2012).

Riley has a new boss.  After the death of Noreen Banks, young hotshot Bryce Griffin took over as news director at Channel 3, and he's all about ratings.  Anxious to prove she's not aging out of her job, Riley pitches a story about a 10-year-old boy trapped in a sinkhole, a tip she received from her mother.

But the story is even better than Riley imagined:  there was a body hidden in the sinkhole when the boy fell in.  The police have difficulty identifying the body, and Riley is ordered to drop the story. But she persists, and finds a connection to the nearby Amish community.

Though Riley grew up near the Amish, she discovers that she knows even less about them than she thought, and through her investigation,we learn along with her that Amish life is not as simple as it  seems. 

Written in the first-person from Riley's viewpoint, the reader experiences what she does with a real sense of being inside her skin.  Kramer skilfully allows us enough objectivity to disagree with her actions, while completely understanding her motives. 

Shunning Sarah is already receiving great reviews, and will certainly satisfy fans of Julie Kramer who are eagerly awaiting the new Riley Spartz  book.

Photo by Garrett Young
Investigative television journalist Julie Kramer writes a series of thrillers: Stalking Susan, Missing Mark, Silencing Sam, Killing Kate, and Shunning Sarah --  set in the desperate world of TV news. Julie won the RT Reviewer's Choice Award for Best First Mystery as well as the Minnesota Book Award. Her work has also been nominated for the Anthony, Barry, Shamus, Mary Higgins Clark, and Daphne du Maurier Awards. She formerly ran the I TEAM for WCCO-TV before becoming a freelance network news producer for NBC and CBS.

*FTC Full Disclosure: Many thanks to the publisher, who sent me an advance copy of the book for review purposes.

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