Dark Road Home

Overview

Attorney Brooke Benton flees the city in order to find peace in Ohio's Amish country. The locals--except for Daniel--frown on her worldly ways. However, their quiet village is shattered by a tragic accident, an accident that masks a sinister conspiracy. Despite the danger, Brooke and Daniel are determined to uncover the truth.

Attorney Brooke Benton flees the city in order to find peace in Ohio's Amish country. The locals--except for Daniel--frown on her worldly ...

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Overview

Attorney Brooke Benton flees the city in order to find peace in Ohio's Amish country. The locals--except for Daniel--frown on her worldly ways. However, their quiet village is shattered by a tragic accident, an accident that masks a sinister conspiracy. Despite the danger, Brooke and Daniel are determined to uncover the truth.

Attorney Brooke Benton flees the city in order to find peace in Ohio's Amish country. The locals--except for Daniel--frown on her worldly ways. However, their quiet village is shattered by a tragic accident, an accident that masks a sinister conspiracy. Despite the danger, Brooke and Daniel are determined to uncover the truth. Original.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
An Ohio Amish community is the setting for this romantic suspenser by award-winning historical novelist Harper (The Wings of Morning). Terrorized by a stalker, Columbus attorney Brooke Benton flees with her seven-year-old niece to an isolated community, where she takes over the running of a friend's quilt shop. When a hit-and-run driver kills four Amish teenagers who had just visited her, Brooke is drawn into the investigation. Soon she finds herself knee-deep in suspects, facing new threats and falling in love with a man seeking to return to his Amish roots. The book is strongest in its loving depiction of Amish life, its creation of a dark mood and its development of the central romance. Subplots involving several unrelated evildoers diffuse the tension, however, especially since key developments are telegraphed. Credibility vanishes during the climax, which stems from an implausible story line involving two cartoonish villains whose machinations are awkwardly contrived. (Mar.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781574901351
  • Publisher: Beeler, Thomas T. Publisher
  • Publication date: 3/1/1998
  • Series: Large Print Ser.
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Product dimensions: 6.12 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Karen Harper
Karen Harper is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of romantic suspense. A former Ohio State University English instructor, she now writes full time. Harper is the winner of The Mary Higgins Clark Award for her novel, DARK ANGEL. She also writes historical novels set in Tudor England. Please visit or write her at her website at www.KarenHarperAuthor.com
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Read an Excerpt

Dark Road Home


By Karen Harper

Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.

Copyright © 2004 Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-7783-2043-X


Chapter One

May 9, 1993 Maplecreek, Ohio

Some said you can't go home again, but Daniel Brand was bound to do just that. He pulled the U-Haul behind the house, where no one would spot him from the road. Starlight grayed the black of early night when he turned out the headlights and killed the engine. He sat for one moment, gripping the steering wheel. His stomach knotted at all there was to face and do here. Starting right now.

He climbed down, stiff and sore from the long drive, waging war with himself for calm, even for courage. His new house, like his new life, was an old one, but he'd make it right, make everything right from cellar to roof, inside and out. He was taking his life's biggest step forward by taking many steps back.

He unlatched the back doors of the truck and yanked them open. From the dark cavern loaded with his meager possessions, piles of wood, and handmade furniture, he dragged out his toolbox and flopped it open on the grass. He strapped on his leather tool belt, jammed wire cutters, screwdriver, metal snips, a claw hammer, and needle-nose pliers in the pockets. Pulling on leather work gloves, he grabbed a saw.

He scraped his tall stepladder out, hefted it next to the back porch, and jerked it open. With his flash-light wedged in his belt, he climbed to the porch roof, then to the steeper shingled roof of the house. He hunkered down next to the tall television antenna and began to work.

In five minutes he had cut the antenna loose. He shoved it over the side. It crashed two stories down, shuddered, and lay still.

Next, he dug at the nails and metal bands securing the two old lightning rods, but did not toss them over. They would fetch a good price as antiques at the Saturday morning auction in Pleasant.

He gazed at the plain, clean roofline with relief, for it would publicly declare his commitment to all who rode by. Sweating in the cool breeze, Daniel thrust aloft the rods like trophies of his victory. He had conquered himself; he had come home.

Slowly, he lowered the rods to his knees and gazed down from his precarious perch. The dark bulk of the U-Haul waiting to be unloaded was his last link to his previous life. He had snapped the radio off once he crossed the state line from Indiana, right in the middle of that bouncy-beat chorus he loved in "Achy Breaky Heart." He didn't mind giving up country music for good, he tried to convince himself. After he turned the truck in tomorrow, he'd never drive again, either.

The only lights he could see were from Verna Sprigg's Sewing Circle Shop and its second-story living quarters across the field. Two large farms, his own family's and his sister Emma's in-laws', lay beyond his lot line, but kerosene lanterns could never be spotted from here. No traffic on the road, nothing but star speckles overhead until he watched the full moon, big as a ripe peach, roll over the hilly horizon. It was a stunning sight, but he had things to do.

The knot in his stomach yanked tight again as he scooted crab-like from the roof, to the porch, and descended the ladder. He laid the lightning rods in the grass. Under the clay pot where Emma said it would be, he found the key. He unlocked the creaky back door and went in. The interior smelled of vinegar, lemon, and soap; Emma had written that she and her girls would have it spick-and-span for him.

He turned on no lights and never would here - not the electric, anyway. Tomorrow he would disconnect it and have the wires pulled soon, the ones for the telephone, too, for he hoped to bring a good, Plain woman here, one he could trust and, hopefully, someday love.

In the empty living room, the thick soles of his work boots sank into what Emma had described as fairly new wall-to-wall carpet, thick and green as grass, you won't believe it, Dan. He flicked off the flashlight and stood silent. But even in the dark, he saw pairs of white, fancy, ruffled draperies at each window like graceful ghosts bowing to a partner for a dance. He yanked them all down and hurled them in a corner.

Tears burned Brooke Benton's eyes as she listened to her niece Jennifer's closing to her bedtime prayer to "please tell my mommy I still love her. Especially because it's Mother's Day. And good night, God. Amen."

Brooke bent down to kiss the child's forehead. "You know," Brooke said, "God has a very good memory, so maybe you don't need to remind Him of that every night, because then both of us just start crying."

"Yes, but she used to forget things sometimes. When she was sick, I had to tell her some stuff again and again. So I'm asking Him to remind her," Jennifer insisted in her seven-year-old's logic that often amazed Brooke.

"Come on now. It's hit the hay time, as Mrs. Spriggs says," Brooke urged, plumping up her pillow and trying to make her voice light. "That Monday-morning school bus will be here bright and early, Jen."

"I guess Daddy would be mad at me for going to bed late, don't you think?"

Brooke sank back on the edge of the four-poster bed and gently stroked Jennifer's hair. "No, I'm sure he'd understand that we were just having fun. I told you he's not mad at you for anything."

Frowning, the petite, blue-eyed blonde looked away to arrange her two dolls, leaned against the other pillow. They were totally mismatched: the small, molded plastic, adolescent Skipper doll had been Jennifer's mother Melanie's years ago; the soft, faceless Amish baby doll, named Nettie, was a recent gift from her friend Susie.

"I know," Jennifer said, her voice shaky with exhaustion and emotion, "that Daddy's not mad at me because Mommy died. That wasn't anyone's fault but cancer."

"That's right" was all Brooke could manage, but even then her voice broke. She still stroked Jennifer's hair; the child sighed and turned onto her side to cuddle into her deep down pillow. After tucking the sheet and quilt around Jennifer's thin shoulders, Brooke rubbed her niece's back, went out, and snapped off the light. A floorboard creaked loudly, but it would take a bomb to wake Jennifer once she fell asleep in this pretty haven of her room.

The bed, pillow, quilt, the rag rugs on the floor - Brooke thought again how this old but vibrant house and store below were just like their owner, Verna Spriggs. Brooke missed her, but it had been her suggestion that Verna seize the chance for a long visit to her son's family in Maine. And immersing herself in Verna's duties made her feel useful as well as safe and sane again.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Dark Road Home by Karen Harper Copyright © 2004 by Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 4, 2005

    Not awesome, but was okay

    This was my first Karen Harper book and I must say her community of choice-the Amish-was quite interesting. But the suspenseful part of this book was quite dull. You don't know if you're supposed to be trying to figure out who killed the teenagers, who was stalking Brooke and Jen, or who bought the Amish land. The criminals were revealed too early in the story and I think that it should have waited until the book was nearer to the ending. The romance part of the book was not believable. I mean, how exactly did they figure out that they loved each other when they barely saw each other? And his proposal wasn't what you'd call romantic. I did, however, think that it was romantic that he chose marriage to her than Amish path that he was about to take. It wasn't that bad of a read, it's just that I wish I hadn't bought it

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2004

    another good read.......

    Karen Harper strikes again. Read almost every book of hers and never fails to keep me turning the pages. In this book, Amish kids were killed and Brook wants to find out who killed them and at the same time, she is falling in love with an amish man, Dan who just came back home to his amish people after 'fence jumping' meaning he left amish living to explore the other world. Again, Karen Harper gives you information on how the amish and our world differ from each other. Got to pick this book up as well as any of her other books. You are just never disappointed. I'm getting ready to start Dark Harvest which is another of her books. Can't wait.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2004

    I have found a new author

    This was the first book by Karen Harper that I have read, and I will definitely read her others based on how I liked this one. It was neat to read and learn about the Amish (I'm assuming most of it was pretty accurate) and at the same time experience the suspense of a Mary Higgins Clark type story (I've read all of her stuff and wish she'd write faster!!!). The only complaint I have is that the story gets a bit far-fetched at the end. I won't ruin it for anyone by spilling the beans, but I think most people would probably agree. But all in all, a good read that will hook you from the beginning.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2011

    Not that great...

    This is the first Karen Harper book that I have read. I recieved it as a Holiday gift. I am not a suspense / mystery reader, but have read Mary Higgins Clark and Dean Koontz. This was not a believable story at all. The romance between the Amish guy (Daniel) and Brooke, who is "English" is not believable in my mind... Their worlds are so different, and they "fall in love" in a few months where they barely even got to see each other and (**spoiler alert**) proceed to get married?! Really? Brooke, a strong-minded Attorney at Law, seems stronger and more independent than that - at least that was the way she was portrayed at the beginning. As far as the suspense, I only kept reading this book to find out who killed the 4 teenage Amish kids... Let's just say that 1/2 to 2/3 of the way through the novel, the story begins to unravel and is predictable. Brooke's stalker part of the story is inter-woven but the result is crazy/unlikley. The "killers" of the 4 Amish kids and the way the book ends is also VERY far-fetched in a CSI crime show / Hollywood movie kind of way. In any event, this was not what I expected after starting the book. I guess that Karen Harper is not for me.

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  • Posted March 27, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Wonderful and Educating all in One!

    I truly enjoyed this book! I found it hard to put down once I started reading it because Harper keeps the suspense going! You keep wondering what will happen next. You don't want to miss this one!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 20, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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