I love mysteries, thrillers, and of course suspense, but I also like some depth, you know, aspects of the story that make me think and make me wonder. Among the Innocent is definitely one of those books. Sure, it is a crime story and a romance, which if you have never read that combination it is amazing how well the two work together – maybe it is the bonding during a tragedy that does it, but this book adds a religious/cultural aspect that makes everything just a little different, adds a little more sadness to the story.
The story takes place in a small Amish community. The Amish shy away from anything modern, have a close-knit community that supports and cares for each other, they live a life very different from the rest of the world. There is an innocence that is not present in very many places anymore. This makes the idea of evil in their community that much more unsettling. The Killer seems to target girls who are on their rumspringa (a rite of passage during adolescence in the Amish community in which they get to know more about the outside world and in the end decide to commit to being Amish or move out of the community). Alford writes with the ability to make the fact that the community is naive and the evil so awful that it is clear there are different levels of evil and this is one of the worst.
The book also includes betrayal at the worst level, twisted misuse of power, and all the elements of an edge-of-your-seat suspense thriller. How does one reconcile this evil in a totally innocent place with a just God? It is a thought-provoking question to be sure.
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