Murder at the Courthouse (Hidden Springs Mystery Series #1)A. H. Gabhart, Ann H. Gabhart, A. H. Gabhart
After a few years as a police officer in Chicago, Michael Keane has no trouble relaxing into the far less stressful job of deputy sheriff in his small hometown. After all, nothing ever happens in Hidden Springs, Kentucky. Nothing, that is, until a dead body is discovered on ... Read More
- Product type: Book
- Format: Softcover
- Release Date: Oct 20, 2015
- UPC: 9780800726768
- Volumes/Discs: 1
- Pages: 336
- Publish Date: Oct 20, 2015
- Language: English
- Audience Age Maximum: 0
- Audience Age Minimum: 0
- BISAC: "FIC042060"
- ISBN: 0800726766
Customer ReviewsWrite your own review
- An Excellent Cozy Mystery by Meghan on 1/18/2016
Do you read cozy mysteries? I love the name of that genre. It makes me want to cuddle up with a blanket and a cup of something hot while snow flitters down outside. As nice as that sounds, I’ll admit I’ve never read a cozy mystery.
I’ve read quite a bit of suspense, and I can promise you that a cozy mystery is not the same. In a mystery, the crime happens at the beginning of the book. Or, in this case, it has already happened and is discovered at the beginning of the book. The plot, then, is the search for the murderer. There can be elements of danger, but it’s not a villain chasing the good guy. It’s an unraveling of the mystery.
In the beginning, the action felt slow, but I think that’s because I’m used to suspense. By the end, I had enjoyed the more leisurely pace as it allowed me to get to know the characters better and appreciate their situations. Michael, the deputy, has a rather tragic past, and as I learned more about him, I felt so sorry for him that I read faster toward the end to see if he had a happy ending.
Of course, it’s a mystery not just for the characters but for the reader as well. I spotted various clues throughout the story and formed plenty of theories of who-dun-it, but I was guessing until the very end as to the identity of the murderer. I loved that! A story isn’t as much fun when I figure the mystery out at the beginning.
This story is set in the fictional town of Hidden Springs, a town which sprang to life in my mind. I could perfectly picture the courthouse in the town square, the business, the diner out by the highway, the lake. There’s even an island in the middle of the lake. Gabhart’s words formed pictures in my mind, and that’s the best kind of writing there is.
- Review from Rambles of a SAHM by Fitzysmom on 11/12/2015
Ann Gabhart's first foray into the cozy mystery category is fabulous! I've always enjoyed her writing so it was no surprise that this new genre was a great fit for her as well. She took all of the elements that I love in a cozy mystery and combined them to come up with an engaging and entertaining read.
The small town of Hidden Springs is a sleepy little place where nothing much happens. But things take a turn when eccentric Miss Willadean Dearmon comes upon a dead body on the courthouse steps. Believe it or not this part was kind of funny. Miss Willadean thought the man was just being rude to her by not acknowledging her greeting. When she mentioned the snub to Deputy Sheriff Michael Keane she speculates that he is possibly a drunken bum. Deputy Keane says he'll take care of it but soon discovers that the drunken bum is in fact a dead man and the investigation begins.
Murder at the Courthouse strikes a good balance with its humor and serious situations. I was delighted to slowly watch the mystery unfold and I was even more thrilled to not figure out the total scenario surrounding the murder until very late in the story.
If you are looking for a great read on a cold winter night get this one! There's a bit of everything thrown in with the mystery, humor, and romance so it should appeal to a wide audience.
I received a copy of this book to facilitate my review.
- From a Small Town, so this book hit home by Seasons of Opportunities on 11/5/2015
I was hooked on this one from the get-go. Small town? That's where I live. Seriously, it was almost like reading a story from my own town. The characters were friendly, familiar, full of life, love, and hidden secrets. You know the sweat tea on the porch swing, chatting with friends, summer evening walks, type stuff.
Michael moved away from Hidden Springs to become a big city cop. But, it wasn't the life for him. After seeing too much big city crime, he returned to Hidden Springs. All he wanted was simple life, safe and easy. But the unexpected never fails to happen. Someone ends up dead on the courthouse steps. And for the life of him, Michael is having a hard time finding out who is responsible. It could be any number of people, but surely not someone he knows. Murder just doesn't happen in Hidden Springs.
People are not always what they seem. And that is quite a scary thought. Ann kept me wondering just about the entire book. In the end, it was the person I suspected, but it certainly was not easy to figure out. She kept me hopping from one person to the next, second guessing myself.
Actually, to be honest, I even shed a few tears at the end. Because even though this was just a novel, It felt real. Maybe it's just because I am a small town girl. Every one knows everyone. We have people just like the characters in the book. You know the busybody who knows everyone, and everyone's business. The barber across the street, who listens to everyone's stories. The troubled teen, who needs to be loved. The lawyer, who handles those small town cases... none of them serious by the way. By the end of the book, you will feel like you know the Hidden Springs people and belong there. I know I did. I can't wait to read the next Hidden Springs Book. In the mean time, don't miss out on this one!
I received this book from Revell in exchange for my honest review.
- Murder at the Courthouse was Conflicting by Robin on 11/3/2015
Murder at the Courthouse
Book Summary: Michael Keane's stressful days as a Columbus police officer are done. He's ready to relax into his new position as deputy sheriff in his sleepy hometown. Nothing ever happens in Hidden Springs, Kentucky--and that's just fine with Michael. Nothing, that is, until a dead body is discovered on the courthouse steps. As Michael works to solve the case, it seems that every nosy resident in town has a theory. When the sheriff insists Michael check out one of these harebrained theories, his surprising discovery sends him on a bewildering search for a mysterious killer that has him questioning everything he has ever believed about life in Hidden Springs. Bringing with her a knack for creating settings you want to visit and an uncanny ability to bring characters to life, A. H. Gabhart pens a whodunit that will keep you guessing.
Review: I was very conflicted by this book. I really liked the characters and guessed who did it from the beginning. The pieces were easy to put together. The beginning was slow, for me very slow. I like the fast pace or suspense of a mystery too. The second incident was more startling. That is when the storyline began to come together and the entire story improved tremendously. I liked the story being told with Michael as the main character. The history of the storyline was tragic and intriguing. I can honestly say if the pace was as fast as the middle to end were I would be hooked for a second installment. I may consider reading another story now that the town and townspeople are known it may make for a more cozy mystery.
I would like to thank Net Galley and Revell for allowing me to read and review this book in return for a free copy and I was never asked to write a favorable review by anyone. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
- Murder has never been so down-homey by J. Augustine on 11/1/2015
Murder At The Courthouse is a neat little cozy mystery that nostalgically reminds a person of Mayberry. It was a bit of a slow moving story until the exciting climax, but then, it is all part of the story's charm. I was able to figure out a few things before they happened but there were some surprises thrown into the mix that left me guessing.
A.H. Gabhart has a real knack for creating quirky characters in a small Southern town setting. She is a talented author crossing genres with ease, whether it's historical, mystery, or Shaker.
If you love Christian cozy-type mysteries Murder At The Courthouse would be a great choice. It's a welcome break from non-stop action into a more laid back world but still has a definite mystery flavor.
(I received a copy of this book from Revell in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.)
- A WHOLESOME MYSTERY! by NARITA on 10/31/2015
Hidden Springs, Kentucky is the ionic sleepy, little town where everybody knows everybody and everything about each other. The citizens are lulled by a daily routine that has lasted not days or months but years. Life is so predictable that the people take it for granted. Unexpectedly everything changes. A stranger is found dead on the courthouse steps. Unheard of!
Suddenly the town is alive with excitement, curiosity, and a lot of opinions about what happened! Michael, a young policeman attempts to find the murderer with basically no clues to start with. He has his work cut out for him, as his investigation also means dealing with the gossip, a newspaper reporter with a flair for inaccurate embellishments, and town characters just being themselves.
As he works to find the murderer, secrets about town residents are brought to light. The tragedy brings emotions of loss and pain from many of the character’s pasts, including Michael. Events will seemingly be plodding along when the reader is caught off guard by when a startling development in the case. This book is for sure a page turner! You will be surprised at who the guilty party is! As strange as it sounds this is a nice murder mystery. There is not a lot of blood, gore, and violence, just a good whodunit. I look forward to reading more of the Ms. Gabhart’s books!
I received a copy of this book free from Revell. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
- In Murder at the Courthouse by A.H. Gabhart, the town is named Hidden Springs. It's in Kentucky. No one wants to believe that liars and murderers could live in this lovely place. by Hattie on 10/31/2015
In Murder at the Courthouse by A.H. Gabhart, the town is named Hidden Springs. It's in Kentucky. No one wants to believe that liars and murderers could live in this lovely place. Michael, a policeman and other officials like the judge in the town search for the person or persons who left a dead man on the courthouse steps.Mrs. Willadean discovers the body and reports it. However, she gets lost in the middle story. I wanted her to stay in the story. She seemed like the typical talkative, good neighbor who would live in a small town and not do any person harm. I liked her.
The murdered man's name is Jay. He is shot in the back of the head. The plot caught my attention because I just couldn't imagine a murder happening on the steps of a courthouse. I wondered what type of person would have the boldness to shoot someone in a place where justice is served everyday?
While working out the solution to the crime, there is the fun of finding out the secrets of individuals in the town. There are also people who have gone through terrible situations in their lives. For example, Michael, the policeman, lost both his parents on the same day in a car wreck. Then, there is Anthony, a young man, who feels he is blamed for every stinking thing that happens in the town. However, Anthony must deal with the mysterious disappearance of his mother. Throughout his childhood, he hoped each day for his mother to come back home to him. It must feel terrible to wait for the return of someone you love not knowing why they left and where they have gone. What an awful feeling! I began to understand Anthony's attitude problems. He had good reason for acting out.
Throughout the novel, more than one skeleton is pulled from the closet. I suppose it's important to never take our safety for granted. Also, the hardest thing to do is to see wrong in the most helpful person in a community. I never would have guessed who did this and did that all in the name of keeping their reputation safe.
There was one incident that scared the daylights out of me. Really, it wasn't that creepy. I just had gotten all caught up in the plot. Anyway, I quickly went back to Hidden Springs. I had to know the rest of the story. It's a mystery that kept me guessing. I will have to ponder the outcome in the days ahead. I am super glad to see more novels listed at the back of the book by A.H. Gabhart.bakerpublishinggroup.com/revell
- Good whodunit by Lindsay on 10/19/2015
I thoroughly enjoy a good whodunit book and this one delivered. Though I had a hard time with some of the writing and underdevelopment of characters I still kept reading because I just had to know who the murderer was. This is the first book in a new series so I am going to guess that these characters, that are mentioned over and over again but never really fleshed out, are going to be appearing in upcoming books. I believe A.H. Gabhart could have given us a little more info on these secondary characters regardless of what we may learn of them in future books. The main character, Michael Keane, is well developed and yet we aren't privy to some of his background, that makes me want to read the next books to see what there is to learn about this character. I think that the same development and mystery could have been done with other characters as well.
Though in general the book doesn't stand out from many other mystery novels, I did like some of the back story on the main character. SPOILER ALERT. We learn that Michael was in an accident as a teenager which left him in a coma. When he finally awoke he had to go through the hard process of learning how to do everything all over again. He had to fight to regain memories. Even as the book takes place, he still has gaps in his memory. It is interesting to see how that fits in with solving a murder in his hometown. He should have an edge on solving crimes in Hidden Springs, but it's not there, there some things he just doesn't remember.
Overall it is a good, quick read. Despite some complaints I have about the writing I am looking forward to the next installment and learning more about Michael and life in Hidden Springs.
- Murder in Mayberry? by Tickmenot on 10/14/2015
Well, not quite, but Hidden Springs, Kentucky could be its twin. As a small southern town where everyone knows everybody, nothing ever happens without the whole town knowing it in minutes. Crime is so rare the local newspaper has trouble filling its weekly publication with anything more than human interest stories. That is until the day a stranger is found murdered on the steps of the courthouse in broad daylight.
The plot thickens even more when no one claims to have seen a thing. In the town where nobody misses a thing, yet there are no witnesses? At least that is what everyone is saying.
Do you remember?
The deputy sheriff, Michael Keane, doesn't believe that. But as he tries to find out the truth, his job is made more difficult by the bumbling sheriff, and surprisingly, Michael's own past. As a teenager, an accident took the life of both his parents, and left Michael with a large memory loss. As he works on this murder case, he feels those lost memories are starting to stir, but they remain just out of reach of his mind.
Three more things complicate Michael's life. First, the return of his childhood sweetheart, Alex. Next, the local newspaper editor who is dogging all his steps, determined to get some hard news for the paper. And finally, the teenager Anthony that the entire town claims is nothing but trouble, but Michael has a feeling that might not be completely true. Before it is all through, even more mysterious happenings take place in Hidden Springs.
This is the guilty one, or maybe not....
This is a great mystery with an interesting story that kept me guessing "whodunit" to the end. Murder at the Courthouse is the first in The Hidden Springs Mysteries, and I look forward to future installments. However, this story definitely stands on its own. This 5-star book is done from a Christian viewpoint, and has lots of intriguing characters. I really enjoyed it, and highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys well-written, wholesome mysteries.
The publisher has provided me with a complimentary copy of Murder at the Courthouse through Revell Publishing for the purpose of review. All opinions expressed are my own, and I was not required, or influenced, to give anything but an honest appraisal. Despite my receiving the book free, it has not influenced my judgment.