Monday, January 18, 2016

A Cozy Mystery ~ Murder at the Courthouse ~ #FCBlogger

{This post is sponsored by Family Christian. All opinions are honest and my own.}

Title:                Murder at the Courthouse: A Hidden Springs Mystery
Author:            A.H. Gabhart

About the book ~

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.

Bringing with her a knack for creating settings you want to visit and an uncanny ability to bring characters to life, A. H. Gabhart pens a whodunit that will keep readers guessing.

Do you read cozy mysteries? I love the name of that genre. It makes me want to cuddle up with a blanket and a cup of something hot while snow flitters down outside. As nice as that sounds, I’ll admit I’ve never read a cozy mystery.

I’ve read quite a bit of suspense, and I can promise you that a cozy mystery is not the same. In a mystery, the crime happens at the beginning of the book. Or, in this case, it has already happened and is discovered at the beginning of the book. The plot, then, is the search for the murderer. There can be elements of danger, but it’s not a villain chasing the good guy. It’s an unraveling of the mystery.

In the beginning, the action felt slow, but I think that’s because I’m used to suspense. By the end, I had enjoyed the more leisurely pace as it allowed me to get to know the characters better and appreciate their situations. Michael, the deputy, has a rather tragic past, and as I learned more about him, I felt so sorry for him that I read faster toward the end to see if he had a happy ending.

Of course, it’s a mystery not just for the characters but for the reader as well. J I spotted various clues throughout the story and formed plenty of theories of who-dun-it, but I was guessing until the very end as to the identity of the murderer. I loved that! A story isn’t as much fun when I figure the mystery out at the beginning.

This story is set in the fictional town of Hidden Springs, a town which sprang to life in my mind. I could perfectly picture the courthouse in the town square, the business, the diner out by the highway, the lake. There’s even an island in the middle of the lake. Gabhart’s words formed pictures in my mind, and that’s the best kind of writing there is.

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