Among the Innocent – Mary Alford

Among the Innocent by Mary Alford
Published by Revell on June 7, 2022
Genres: Fiction, Christian, Romance, Suspense
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When Leah Miller's entire Amish family was murdered ten years ago, the person believed responsible took his own life. Since then, Leah left the Amish and joined the police force. Now, after another Amish woman is found murdered with the same MO, it becomes clear that the wrong man may have been blamed for her family's deaths.
As Leah and the new police chief, Dalton Cooper, work long hours struggling to fit the pieces together in order to catch the killer, they can't help but grow closer. When secrets from both of their pasts begin to surface, an unexpected connection between them is revealed. But this is only the beginning. Could it be that the former police chief framed an innocent man to keep the biggest secret of all buried? And what will it mean for Leah--and Dalton--when the full truth comes to light?
USA Today bestselling author Mary Alford keeps you guessing as two determined souls plumb the dark depths of the past in order to forge a brighter future--together.

When I saw who endorsed Among the Innocent by Mary Alford, I instantly agreed to read it. I usually avoid anything to do with Amish fiction, but based off the synopsis, it seemed more of a background point versus the main setting. This is true. Alford provided her readers with a glimpse into the Amish lifestyle without being overwhelming, forced, or overdone. As usual with romantic suspense novels, Leah and Dalton must solve a case—catch a serial killer—before it’s too late. Questions (and attraction) swirl together, making an already stressful situation even more complicated. Overall, however, Among the Innocent…didn’t quite do it for me.

For being a “romantic suspense” novel, I did not feel the connection between Leah and Dalton. It was there, yes, but it felt more like an affectionate friendship. For me, the romance was not developed enough. Romantic suspense novels require a fine balance between the case and the relationship. Alford put too much focus on the former. Even then, she kept reminding readers of the anniversary of Leah’s family’s murder, and it became repetitious. It was like the author wrote out a specific timeline and used the anniversary as her point of reference. Which, in and of itself, is not bad. Instead of having the characters say or think about it, I would’ve just had chapter subtitles of “# Days till the Anniversary.” Readers would still have that significant date looming, but no need for the recurrence.

The “surprise twist” was not much of a surprise for me, though maybe that’s because I read so much of this genre that I catch on too easily. The timing of things, too, was a problem for me, though I won’t go into that in great detail due to spoilers. When the book ended, I still had unanswered questions, and the conclusion felt rushed. With a lot of novels in this particular genre, I find it hard to let the characters go. I want to spend more time with them. So I do; I wait maybe one or two days before beginning my next novel. Alford’s novel, though, I started another book the next day. I was happy to move on from Leah and Dalton. Not because they were bad characters or anything like that. I just…didn’t like them as much as others created by other authors.

Among the Innocent by Mary Alford has its strengths, like an intense plot and good imagery. Fairly good characters, too, who readers will want to root for. Though the stakes were high, it lacked the excitement that I have found in other romantic suspense novels. It is still good, and I’ll probably read more of Alford’s work, but I just think it could have been better.