ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
All of Paul's stories have now been republished by Plume (a division of Penguin Group USA) as The Amish-Country Mysteries, and these editions have been embraced by Christian retailers such as CBD.com, Family Christian Stores, and LifeWay. Future mysteries in the series will still first be published in hard cover editions, as The Amish-Country Mysteries by Ohio University Press, with Plume bringing out the soft cover editions some time later.
Paul and his wife Madonna still travel frequently in Holmes County. He lectures widely about Amish culture at libraries, bookstores, literary societies, and the like, and his books have been featured at Book Expo America and similar professional shows around the country. Paul's novels have been reviewed in prominent journals and newspapers, for instance, Kirkus Reviews, ForeWord Magazine, Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Booklist, Ohioana Quarterly, and the New York Times Book Review.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Professor Michael Branden and Pastor Caleb Troyer had been looking forward to the kind of sleepy rural summer they had enjoyed as boyhood friends growing up in the small college town of Millersburg. Instead, they plunge into the normally closed Amish culture to find the boy. When the kidnapping leads to murder, they can no longer keep the case from the law. Working sometimes at cross purposes with his friend Sheriff Bruce Robertson, Professor Branden digs through the past to uncover truths that many would prefer to leave undisturbed. Little does he suspect that even the anguished bishop, torn by an insoluble moral dilemma, tragically does not tell everything he knows about the case. Suddenly the vast tangle of Amish and Mennonite settlements that sprawl among several thousand small farms and homesteads seems less bucolic than unknowable and impenetrable.
As they inquire delicately among the peaceful ones, Branden and Troyer learn that the troubles of Jonah Miller began far earlier than the kidnapping, with his Rumschpringe - the customary wild year before taking Amish vows. But his grand Rumschpringe had exploded into a decade of drugs, whiskey, and women, in the company of people no Amish person should meet.
In the tradition of Tony Hillerman, P. L. Gaus depicts a culture that successfully stands outside the mainstream yet interacts with it in complex and fascinating ways, a culture that is every bit as susceptible to the undertow of the human spirit as any we might know.
If you would like to read the first chapter of Blood of the Prodigal, go HERE
Blood of the Prodigal by P.L. Gaus is the latest book in the Amish Country mystery series featuring Professor Michael Branden, Pastor Cal Troyer and Sheriff Bruce Robertson. These three childhood friends have remained close in their lives in Millersburg, Ohio, within Amish country. They have used their friendship and various skills in the past to solve mysteries within the area, but they area all tested to their limits when Bishop Eli Miller requests that Cal and Branden locate his grandson Jeremiah who has been taken away by his father Jonah who was put under the ban over ten years ago. The bishop puts several restrictions on their investigation, especially that they not include the police in their search. But when Jonah turns up dead, the investigation is stopped dead, yet Bishop Miller wants them to continue to search for Jeremiah, again without the police. This nearly impossible task is hindered further by the lack of cooperation from the Amish community. Gaus has written a tightly paced mystery that keeps both the readers and the characters guessing. He uses the seclusion of the Amish to good effect, giving their reaction to an FBI agent a touch of humor while keeping it very real. Branden, Cal, and Robertson are all very real characters with fully fleshed personalities and backgrounds. I wish that I had read the previous books in the series, not because they are necessary to enjoy Blood of the Prodigal, but because I want to know the characters better. When the truth behind the mystery is finally exposed, it reveals a terrible tragedy that made my heart ache. This is a terrific series I fully intend to revisit soon.