Isn’t it fun to open the pages of a new book and immediately be transported to that location? Well, if you open the pages of Ann H. Gabhart’s newest release from Revell entitled Murder at the Courthouse, you will undoubtedly find yourself visiting the small town of Hidden Springs, Kentucky. It is a pleasant-enough town, with your average number of busybodies, family feuds, and personal histories that are known by everyone. One unique thing about this town, however, is the fact that it is home to a murderer. And not just any murderer, but one who leaves their victim on the front steps of the courthouse – in broad daylight! As you can see, Hidden Springs may not be such an ordinary town after all…
Murder at the Courthouse is a well-written story that is filled with charming characters, vivid dialogue, and a humorous small-town setting. While not an edge-of-your-seat thriller, it does manage to surprise and perhaps even scare unsuspecting readers in various scenes. Although slightly unexpected, several characters also have thriving relationships with their Lord, which helps to add depth and meaning to the story as a Christian novel. On the downside, protagonist Michael Keane does not achieve the vivid, realistic feel that I expected him to, and always remains slightly underdeveloped and just out of reach from really knowing him. He does grow and share internal dilemmas, but nothing too deep. In addition, occasional inappropriate references are present in the story, and naturally the murder itself may prove unsettling. Of course, from the title of the book alone we should expect nothing less!
Overall, this first novel in the new “Hidden Springs Mystery” series is certain to be enjoyed by fans of whodunits, and those who enjoy stories of uncovered secrets and hidden deceptions set in a charming and unlikely locale. Was it the most engaging and surprising book I’ve ever read? No, certainly not. Did I enjoy it, however, and will I read the next book in the series? Yes, on both counts. I look forward to visiting Hidden Springs once again, and discovering what’s up next for the unsuspecting little town.
I am grateful to have received a copy of this book, free of charge, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.