Monday, September 17, 2012

"Material Witness" Review

Material Witness by Vannetta Chapman is the third in the Amish Mystery series taking place in Shipshewana, Indiana. It was sent to me as a review copy by Zondervan Publishing.
Tragedy strikes once again in the small Amish community of Shipshewana, Indiana, and this time it occurs during the annual Fall Crafters Fair. Callie, who is English, and her Amish friends (Deborah, Esther, and Melinda) find themselves in the middle of another mystery when local detective Shane Black thinks that Callie might have actually been the intended target of the murder that has occurred. To make matters even worse, Melinda’s son Aaron is the material witness in the case.

When the killer contacts Callie and demands money from a source that she knows nothing about, the case starts spinning out of control. During the largest event their town sees all year, Callie and her friends must race against the clock to save themselves and their families from a madman.
I enjoyed the first two books in this Shipshewana Amish series – Falling to Pieces and A Perfect Square – so I was looking forward to returning to the characters and the setting of Material Witness.

And it did not disappoint.
While I still think my favorite over all was A Perfect Square, since we got to see both sides of the story, this one was still really good. The characters were interesting, the writing was excellent, and the mystery was intricate enough to keep my attention through the whole novel. I especially enjoyed the action sequences at the end of this book when everything is coming to a head. It was exciting, and I didn’t want to put the book down!

This book was especially fun for me because of the involvement of the children. I enjoyed seeing things from Aaron’s point of view and his interaction with the other kids. I liked that particular plot point in this novel, but, as a mom, it also made me so nervous thinking about those kids going out and trying to catch the killer! Another fun thing about this book was how Shane came up with all of the different ways to keep the killer from finding out that they were protecting Callie. I will try not to ruin the surprise, but the costumes and the subtle messages were just great.
I usually enjoy series books, most often because once you get to the third book, you already know the characters really well, and you can just jump into the story. I felt that Material Witness was able to do that well. You could probably read this one if you haven’t read the others – there is some background information given – but there are a lot of characters to keep straight, so I would recommend reading the first two in the series first.

One of the things I have enjoyed in this series is the interaction between the Amish people and the English people. Callie’s best friends are three Amish women, but they don’t let that be a barrier. They love each other and have a great friendship while still respecting the others’ lifestyles. There is a great sense of community, even among those who are not Amish. The Amish women have a deep faith – so much so that I even wish that this faith had been a bit more evident in Callie and Shane. They seem to grow in their faith, especially at the end of this book, but for me it was still a bit vague.
I have said in my other reviews of this series that these books are light murder mysteries. It always seems funny to me to call a murder mystery “light,” but that is just what this is. But this is something that I really like. I like having a mystery to figure out, even a murder, which is exciting and interesting but not gruesome or over-the-top. The Shipshewana Amish mysteries fit this exactly, and that is why I have really enjoyed them.

I will give Material Witness … 4 BookWorms.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Zondervan Publishing. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this is accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."


1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for the review. I'm glad you enjoyed MW. This week I started writing book 1 in my Amish Artisan Mystery Series, which will take place just down the road in Middlebury.