Shunned and DangerousLooking back, I suppose my decision to join the Heavenly, Pennsylvania Police Department as a detective should have given me more pause than it did. But I did it as a way to be closer to my childhood family.

And by closer, I mean geographically.

The other kind of “close” isn’t possible, now or ever.

You see, I might blend in with my fellow police officers and English neighbors now, but back then, I wore suspenders and a straw hat just like my Amish brethren. Sure, I spent much of my abbreviated Rumspringa soaking up everything I could about police work, but, in the end, I made the decision to be baptized and live an Amish life.

It was a commitment I fully intended to keep until a member of our community was murdered and the police seemed at a loss in finding the culprit. I guess all those hours spent shadowing the police while my counterparts experimented with more dicey parts of English living, reared their head and I knew I had to spend my life making sure justice was served.

Sadly, heeding that noble calling meant I could no longer have a relationship with my parents or my siblings. In fact, the Ordung—an unwritten code of order adhered to by the Amish regarding the laws of social and spiritual behavior—virtually demanded my ex-communication from my community and my family.

Yet here I am, seventeen years later, back in Heavenly, doing my best to keep the streets my family travels, and the community in which they live, safe. Every glimpse I catch of my sister, Martha, my niece, Esther, or any other member of my childhood family is simply a bonus.

Sort of a win-win, or so I thought…

Finding Amish Dairy Farmer Harley Zook’s body in the middle of a popular corn maze a few days ago has made me rethink my decision to return to Heavenly.

How could it not when the clues to his killer are leading me straight to my father’s doorstep?

You can read more about Jakob in Shunned And Dangerous, the third book in the “Amish” mystery series, published by Berkley Prime Crime. The first book in the series is Hearse and Buggy. Books are available at retail and online booksellers.

GIVEAWAY: Comment on this post by noon EST on March 8, and you will be entered for a chance to win a copy of Shunned And Dangerous. One winner will be chosen at random. Unless specified, U.S. entries only.

Meet the author
Laura Bradford is the national best-selling author of the Amish Mysteries (Berkley Prime Crime). The third title in the series—SHUNNED AND DANGEROUS—is now available. To learn more about Laura and the Amish Mysteries, you can visit her website:, “like” her page on Facebook, or follow her on Twitter.

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