Sunday, August 5, 2012

Shunning Sarah by Julie Kramer ~ review

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Atria/Emily Bestler Books (August 7, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 145166463X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451664638

This book is also available as an e-book.

August 7, 2012
An insular Amish town . . . A secret that won’t stay buried . . .
Minneapolis’s star investigative reporter Riley Spartz is constantly in search of her next TV sweeps piece. When she hears that a young boy is trapped at the bottom of a sinkhole, she smells ratings. Little does she know just how big the story will be—not only does it involve a tragic murder, but the local Amish community as well. Once Riley is on the case, though, she sees that solving it will be anything but easy.
When Riley finds a clue the cops have missed, she uncovers a dark web of fraud and deception in the community—driven by motives as old as the Bible: sex and money. Riley will stop at nothing to bring the killer to justice, and she is determined to do so before anyone—including herself—becomes the next target.

My take on this book:
Riley Spartz is an investigative reporter in Minneapolis who knows a good news story, even when her new boss Bryce doesn't. When she gets a tip about a ten year old boy who has fallen into a sink hole in Harmony Minnesota, a rural area that is in the middle of an Amish community, she convinces her boss that it is a newsworthy story. By the time she arrives on the scene though the little boy Josh Kueppers has already been rescued.Undaunted Riley decides to interview the sheriff on the scene, and soon learns that there is another story. A dead body was down in the sinkhole with Josh, a body that might be hard to identify because it is missing its face. Riley is determined to see the case solved, even if it puts her own life in jeopardy.

I am a huge fan of Amish fiction and when there is mystery and suspense involved I know I am in for a great read. With "Shunning Sarah" the author spins a story that pulled me in from the beginning. 
A little boy trapped, I wondered how or if he would be saved, but then the real story begins after he is rescued. A woman's body at the bottom of the sinkhole who turns out to be an 18 year old Amish girl named Sarah Yoder. What happened to Sarah? Well that question kept me turning the pages to find out. As a fan of Amish fiction I admit I was most fascinated by the Amish portion of the story, but there was also an interesting secondary story going on as well that involved the drama of TV news. Ms. Kramer is truly knows how to paint a picture with her words, she brings her scenes, and characters to life, without being overly graphic in her descriptions. 

Even though this book wasn't the first in the Riley Spartz series I had no problems diving right in. The author provided enough background information so that I didn't feel lost. While Riley was the main character  in the story, for me I couldn't get Sarah out of my head, as her story is finally revealed my heart broke for her. Fans of mystery, suspense,and a plot filled with more twists than a winding country road will certainly want to read this one, the Amish twist is an added bonus. On a scale of one to five I would easily give this book a six, and plan on going back and reading the rest of the series! Highly recommended.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided in exchange for an honest review.

Julie Kramer

About the author:

Julie Kramer is has moved from journalist to novelist. She writes a mystery series set in the desperate world of television news—a world she knows well from her career working as a freelance news producer for NBC and CBS, as well as running the acclaimed WCCO-TV I-Team in Minneapolis.

Her thrillers, STALKING SUSAN, MISSING MARK, SILENCING SAM, KILLING KATE and soon to come - SHUNNING SARAH (Aug. 7) - take readers inside how newsrooms make decisions amid chaos. She's won the Minnesota Book Award and the RT Book Review's Best First Mystery. She has also been a finalist for the Anthony, Barry, Shamus, Mary Higgins Clark, Daphne du Maurier, and RT Best Amateur Sleuth Awards.

Julie grew up along the Minnesota-Iowa state line, fourth generation of a family who raised cattle and farmed corn for more than 130 years. Her favorite childhood days were spent waiting for the bookmobile to bring her another Phyllis A. Whitney novel. An avid reader, she tired of fictional TV reporters always being portrayed as obnoxious secondary characters who could be killed off whenever the plot started dragging, so her series features reporter Riley Spartz as heroine.

Julie lives with her family in White Bear Lake, MN. 

To learn more about Ms. Kramer click here.


  1. Brenda, never heard of this author, but will certainly pick this book up. It sounds like a real page turner.

  2. Oooh, sounds like an exciting read! Thanks for the recommendation.

  3. Jinky, I think you would love this one. Anonymous I hadn't heard of Ms. Kramer before reading this book, but I am so glad that I stumbled upon her work.

    Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment I really appreciate it!

  4. Thanks so much for the wonderful review, Brenda. Yours might be one of my favorites. The most useful comment to me as an author was that SHUNNING SARAH - the fifth in my series - made sense to you without having read any of the others. Writers always worry about that. I try to make each novel self-contained so anyone can reach for any of them and not feel lost. Growing up a farm girl, I also loved your line "more twists than a winding country road."

  5. This sounds good! You've got me curious about Sarah's story.
    I'll put it on my list.


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