The murder of Ruth Zook (The Names of Our Tears, 2013) continues to take its toll on the Amish community of Holmes County, Ohio.
Sheriff Bruce Robertson thinks the horror Ruth brought into Holmes County along with her cocaine-filled suitcase has ended with her death at the hands of Teresa Molina. But Fannie Helmuth, who brought a similar bag back from the Amish vacation colony in Pinecrest, Florida, is now on the run. And when newly minted police detective Stan Armbruster finds the body of Howie Dent, Fannie’s companion in flight, in the basement of the deserted Jonas Helmuth farmhouse, Robertson knows it’s only a matter of time before Molina goes after Fannie, too. With the help of Armbruster and computer whiz Rachel Ramsayer, Robertson tracks Fannie through a string of letters sent by Amish scribes to the Holmes County Budget, then persuades professor Mike Branden and his wife, Caroline, to dress Amish and go up to Middlefield to bring Fannie to safety. Meanwhile, Robertson’s kept busy bargaining over the terms of Fannie’s protective custody with FBI Agent Parker, who wants the Amish girl to testify against the Molina gang in federal court. Fannie has communicated with no one from her former world except Jodie Tapp, a Mennonite waitress she knew from Pinecrest. As Branden, Robertson and Parker all reach out to her, Fannie wonders whom to trust. But Robertson gets his answer in a cryptic dream dredged up from his youth: Fear the Roar, Trust the Bite.
Out of the peaceful world of buggies and prayer caps, Gaus conjures a nail-biter that doesn’t give up its secrets any quicker than the Amish.