murder at the courthouse {book review}

Murder at the Court HouseMurder at the Courthouse

by A. H. Gabhart

“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.”

When I started this book, I was excited.

The synopsis was interesting, the characters seemed delightfully diverse, the setting was quaint, and most of all, it was my favorite genre: mystery and crime.  I dove in with full gusto, finishing the book very quickly!

The pacing was perfect.

I loved how the author kept me on my toes the whole time–keeping my attention with the suspense rising quickly and steadily.  I really appreciated even in the midst of the mounting mystery, there was still enough time to get to know the characters and some of their complexities.

The prose was mostly fluid.

For most of the book, I was able to read without interruptions of questioning what the author meant by this or that.  I was not distracted by long descriptions of settings or overwhelming thoughts in the main characters brain…most of the time.  Every once in a while there would be a sentence or two that I had to go back and read twice before having to ‘assume’ what the author meant.  I also noticed a few typos.

The characters were diverse.

Down to the dialogue, every character had their own voice, their own story.  I loved how the author brought out the histories of the characters in how they acted in the present.

Faith was real.

I really appreciated the very real aspect of Christian faith portrayed in this book.  Michael’s aunt Malinda ever praying for him and his safety, and his ambitions to minister and work for the Lord in whatever he did.  A concept that did not line up with this faith, however, was his somewhat sensual relationship with Alex, and the lack of purpose in it.

I was disappointed by the end.

When I came to the conclusion of the story, the solution to the mystery, I found myself very disappointed.  I felt like I was missing something, like there had to have been more to the climax than that.  While the mystery was well-crafted, I found the motive of the murderer to be less than what I was expecting.

I felt wanting more at the end, but that’s probably good, because it’s the first in a series. 😉

All in all, an interesting mystery, but with a shallow end.

It had it’s pros and cons, ultimately, I was not crazy about the book as a whole.  While the characters are fun and quirky in their small-town setting (which I enjoyed very much), I found that all the pacing and suspense that seemed to lead up to a sophisticated murder turned out to be much less than that–and unfortunately, a tad not so much believable in that right.

Still an interesting read if you like mysteries, just don’t be expecting something deeply complicated as the solution.


I received this book in exchange for an honest review by Revell Books.

Amy B
Jesus lover. Obsessive coffee drinker. Chocolate consumer. Plays guitar. Sings too loud. Apple girl. Wordaholic. Bookie. Music junkie. Techy. Unlikely hipster.

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