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Murder at the Courthouse

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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 the courthouse steps. Everyone in town is a little uneasy. Still, no one is terribly worried--after 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 the courthouse steps. Everyone in town is a little uneasy. Still, no one is terribly worried--after all the man was a stranger--until one of their own is murdered right on Main Street. 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.


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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 the courthouse steps. Everyone in town is a little uneasy. Still, no one is terribly worried--after 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 the courthouse steps. Everyone in town is a little uneasy. Still, no one is terribly worried--after all the man was a stranger--until one of their own is murdered right on Main Street. 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.

30 review for Murder at the Courthouse

  1. 4 out of 5

    James

    3 of 5 stars to A.H. Gabhart's Murder at the Courthouse, the first in the "Hidden Springs" cozy mystery series. I downloaded this free e-book for Kindle and read it on my iPad. While the story was clever and interesting, it wasn't as appealing as I'd hoped. Michael Keane leaves his position on the Columbus police force when he realizes he doesn't want to watch people suffer in the city. Orphaned at 15, he's seen enough death and returns home to his peaceful and quiet town of Hidden Springs, Kentu 3 of 5 stars to A.H. Gabhart's Murder at the Courthouse, the first in the "Hidden Springs" cozy mystery series. I downloaded this free e-book for Kindle and read it on my iPad. While the story was clever and interesting, it wasn't as appealing as I'd hoped. Michael Keane leaves his position on the Columbus police force when he realizes he doesn't want to watch people suffer in the city. Orphaned at 15, he's seen enough death and returns home to his peaceful and quiet town of Hidden Springs, Kentucky, where nothing ever happens. Unfortunately, as he's drinking his morning coffee at the town's police office and courthouse, he discovers a dead body sitting at the entrance. As he investigates all the key players in the town to see which gossip may have seen it happen, he quickly finds no one knew the stranger. But as he recalls the death of his parents, and helps another young kid find his own parents, the whole story comes together. In the end, Mike finds the culprit with the young kid's help but his little town will never be the same again. If you like very slow-paced cozy mysteries set in a religious and judgmental town, then this book's for you! It wasn't for me. Too much talk about prayer saving the town (not that I don't believe, but it was just hammered into the text way too often), too repetitive (retold the same facts to at least one new town person each chapter), too many theories and characters to keep track of (at least 10 townspeople who "may" have had a motive)... overall, it fell a bit disorganized and should have been at least 60 pages shorter. On the positive side, the story had some merit and new plot lines. There were a few likable characters. And the connections between all the stories was a nice culmination. It's not an awful book, but it will take a non-traditional cozy reader who wants to just hear the same things over and over again to stick with it. I'll probably pass on the rest of the series, but don't let me steer you in the wrong direction. I'm sure there's an audience for it -- just not me!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Gretchen Scott

    Although I never figured out the murderer till they finally revealed him at the end, this book was not very interesting and took me awhile to get through it. I was expecting to like this one because her other books that I've read have been so good. Although I never figured out the murderer till they finally revealed him at the end, this book was not very interesting and took me awhile to get through it. I was expecting to like this one because her other books that I've read have been so good.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Staci

    This mystery novel didn't hold my interest after the initial chapters. Another let down is that I figured out who the murderer was very early on in the novel. Although I do not plan to continue reading this series, I do plan to read one of the author's other books as I've heard they are quite different from this one. This mystery novel didn't hold my interest after the initial chapters. Another let down is that I figured out who the murderer was very early on in the novel. Although I do not plan to continue reading this series, I do plan to read one of the author's other books as I've heard they are quite different from this one.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Joleen

    I like Ann Gabhart. My first exposure to this talented writer was years ago when she was writing a number of books about Shakers. I had no real knowledge of the religion, so I picked up The Outsider. It was fascinating, so I picked up more. This lead us to visiting a Shaker compound in Ohio. Even my husband enjoyed that. Murder at the Courthouse is a bit different from her Shaker books. The setting reminded me of Jan Karon's little town of Mitford, but this book is based in Hidden Springs. Fun c I like Ann Gabhart. My first exposure to this talented writer was years ago when she was writing a number of books about Shakers. I had no real knowledge of the religion, so I picked up The Outsider. It was fascinating, so I picked up more. This lead us to visiting a Shaker compound in Ohio. Even my husband enjoyed that. Murder at the Courthouse is a bit different from her Shaker books. The setting reminded me of Jan Karon's little town of Mitford, but this book is based in Hidden Springs. Fun characters, small town atmosphere and small town pride. But this was a mystery, unlike Mitford books. The main character (Michael) is a male deputy, recently returned to the town of his birth after spending time as a big city Cincinnati cop. The pace of Hidden Springs, not to mention being with all the people he loved, was more his style. Other characters are: - Aunt Melinda, who raised Michael after his parents were killed in a car accident 10 years before - Anthony, a 16 year old, orphaned when he was 5, who Michael and his aunt try to help - Sheriff Potter, Judge Campbell - two other deputies and a whiz of an assistant, Betty Jean. Partial synopsis (view spoiler)[Miss Willadean, an elderly member of this little town who regularly visits with a widower at the county clerk's office, came upon a drunkard on the steps of the courthouse. Not being able to get the man's attention, she went inside, "her arms flailing as though she had to fight her way through the air in front of her", demanding something be done about that drunkard on the steps out front. As Deputy Keane (Michael) walks out take a look, seeing the dark red stain on the pillar behind the man, he knew at once the man was dead. This starts a murder investigation that runs throughout the book. Michael can just tell that Anthony knows something. He was supposed to be in school, but was seen in the crowd that gathered to see what had happened. The look on his face was not one of curiosity, but of panic. Making sure this kid is safe, but also trying to get information from him turns out to be nearly impossible. When the owner of the barbershop across the street is found dead with hair-cutting scissors in his neck, it's assumed that, although no one claimed to have witnessed a thing, anyone who may have seen the murder is in danger. Woven into the story of the murdered man is Anthony's story, who at 5 years old, while watching TV, was told by his mom she was going to the store for a few minutes, that she'd be right back. He never saw her again. It was assumed she wanted a different life in a big city, and just left everything behind, including the child she loved. The lead investigating officer demanded Michael find out if the murder weapon was thrown into the lake. Divers were sent in and what came up instead of a gun was a car that had been missing 10 years, with a body in it. How this car had anything to do with the current investigation, if at all, was anybody's guess. (hide spoiler)] This was a fun book. You really don’t know who did it until near the end. I had my suspicions, but the finding out was a pleasure to read.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    This is not your ordinary cozy mystery, although anyone who’s read Ann Gabhart’s other books knows there’s nothing ordinary about her books. Instead of a plot-driven story where readers turn pages as fast as they can, eager to reach the end so they know whodunit, she’s given us a story to savor, one where we care at least as much about what will happen next to the characters as we do about solving the mystery. That’s the classic definition of a character-driven book, and it’s the type of story G This is not your ordinary cozy mystery, although anyone who’s read Ann Gabhart’s other books knows there’s nothing ordinary about her books. Instead of a plot-driven story where readers turn pages as fast as they can, eager to reach the end so they know whodunit, she’s given us a story to savor, one where we care at least as much about what will happen next to the characters as we do about solving the mystery. That’s the classic definition of a character-driven book, and it’s the type of story Gabhart does extremely well. With her gift for bringing small towns to life, she never fails to deliver a story that lingers in readers’ memories long after the last page is turned. I can’t wait to see what happens next in Hidden Springs.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Tanx

    A very cozy type of cozy mystery, if there's such a thing :) Small town and slow paced. For most of the book, there isn't any progress on solving the crime, it relies mainly on theories of the townsfolk. The second murder (as mentioned in the book blurb), occurs only at 56% into the story, and this is where the story starts to get a bit more interesting. The first half was pretty dull in my opinion. But it is not all that bad, because of its slower pacing, you get to savour the characters, you get A very cozy type of cozy mystery, if there's such a thing :) Small town and slow paced. For most of the book, there isn't any progress on solving the crime, it relies mainly on theories of the townsfolk. The second murder (as mentioned in the book blurb), occurs only at 56% into the story, and this is where the story starts to get a bit more interesting. The first half was pretty dull in my opinion. But it is not all that bad, because of its slower pacing, you get to savour the characters, you get to know the neighbours, you sort of become friends with them. So if you're in the mood for this kind of relaxing, feel good stories with a side of mystery, this will be suitable. On the other hand, don't pick this up if you are seeking intense, suspenseful nail-biting action that you can't put down even if it's way past your bedtime.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Karla

    This book is the first in a new series entitled "A Hidden Springs Mystery". I have had the pleasure of reviewing and enjoying the Shaker books written by this author, but had no idea she wrote cosy mysteries. I wondered if this would appeal to me, but it didn't take long for me to know that a talented author is just that, regardless of what she writes!! Michael Keane was formerly employed in a stressful position as a Columbus police officer. He is done with that kind of life and ready to relax i This book is the first in a new series entitled "A Hidden Springs Mystery". I have had the pleasure of reviewing and enjoying the Shaker books written by this author, but had no idea she wrote cosy mysteries. I wondered if this would appeal to me, but it didn't take long for me to know that a talented author is just that, regardless of what she writes!! Michael Keane was formerly employed in a stressful position as a Columbus police officer. He is done with that kind of life and ready to relax in his new position as deputy in Hidden Springs, Kentucky, a sleepy little town where nothing exciting ever happens. At least, that is what he thinks!! Well, we can all have misconceptions and this was a big one for Michael. One morning a dead body is discovered on the courthouse steps. The whole town becomes quickly involved in solving this crime. Every single resident has his or her own theory. When the sheriff insists Michael check every single one of thise harebrained theories, his discovery mystifies him. There is a mysterious killer somewhere in this quiet boring little town. Michael begins to question everything he has ever thought about Hidden Springs Ann has once again used her wonderful talent of bringing simple characters come to life in a town that you actually would love to visit. The characters are simple, down to earth people, described realistically , with all their little quirks and unusual qualities. Easily pictured in your mind, they become your friends and neighbors. The plot is one that moves slowly and steadily with the right amount of complications and surprises to keep the reader engrossed from beginning to end. Just when you think you have figured out the mystery, another twist is thrown in. You just never know who to suspect!! Could it be a friend, a young delinquent, a sheriff , a neighbor??? You will just have to read to find out. This book was a very pleasant surprise. I absolutely loved it and so will you!! A great cosy read!! No blood or gore, but lots of suspense and even some giggles along the way. Can hardly wait for Book Two in this series. This book was supplied by Revell and Graff Martin Communications in exchange for a fair and honest review. Now available from your local bookseller.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Reet Champion

    So it’s been awhile and I have really missed reading all the yummy books and blog reviews due to personal circumstances that are still being worked out. But it looks like it will be smoothed out very soon and I’ll be able to get caught back up with everyone. Yay! Hidden Springs, Kentucky is just a little town with a laid back atmosphere. Dead bodies aren’t supposed to turn up on the courthouse steps. Dead bodies that are apparently the result of a murder are definitely not suppose to turn up on t So it’s been awhile and I have really missed reading all the yummy books and blog reviews due to personal circumstances that are still being worked out. But it looks like it will be smoothed out very soon and I’ll be able to get caught back up with everyone. Yay! Hidden Springs, Kentucky is just a little town with a laid back atmosphere. Dead bodies aren’t supposed to turn up on the courthouse steps. Dead bodies that are apparently the result of a murder are definitely not suppose to turn up on the courthouse doorsteps. That is not only rude but insane. Michael Keane has seen some sad things in his time with law enforcement. But a murder in his own hometown is not something he could have forseen. He is soon embroiled in a mystery that will lead him to discovery – in more ways than one. I had high hopes for this book. And I really really tried to love it. But for some reason I just didn’t click. Not with the characters, not with the plot, not with the writing style, not with anything. It got to the point that I was just skimming pager after page hoping that it would end soon. Given that I have read and loved stories by this author I’m going to go with I was having an off day and give it a go another day. But for now I set this one to the side. DISCLAIMER: In accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising” we would like to note that we received an electronic copy of “Murder at the Courthouse” provided by the publishers, Revell, in exchange for our honest review. reetchampionbookreviews.wordpress.com

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kathy Kirkland

    What a fantastic mystery! Fast paced action and very believable from the first page to a very last one. Small towns, big secrets and murder all combined into a story I really couldn't put down. I'll be reading more by this author!!! What a fantastic mystery! Fast paced action and very believable from the first page to a very last one. Small towns, big secrets and murder all combined into a story I really couldn't put down. I'll be reading more by this author!!!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    I was really hoping that this would be the beginning of a wonderful relationship with a new author, but it doesn't seem like it was meant to be. There were many things I liked about this book: it was completely clean (and safe), there was a great message about God without an overly preachy feel, the H was a genuinely good guy and treated women with respect, and there was a not-too-scary mystery to boot. However, for whatever reason, the writing failed to engage me. I'm not quite sure what the ex I was really hoping that this would be the beginning of a wonderful relationship with a new author, but it doesn't seem like it was meant to be. There were many things I liked about this book: it was completely clean (and safe), there was a great message about God without an overly preachy feel, the H was a genuinely good guy and treated women with respect, and there was a not-too-scary mystery to boot. However, for whatever reason, the writing failed to engage me. I'm not quite sure what the exact problem was. It might have been the constant use of the names of different townspeople that threw me off or how all the characters were sort of boring. And being that this was a murder mystery, boring is the last adjective I should be using to describe any aspect of this story. But that's what it was. The mystery was also quite simple, maybe overly so, and the unraveling of it was simple as well. I'm used to the high standard set by mysteries written by Agatha Christie, with complex and well developed plots, so the fact that this one fell short of the mark wasn't entirely surprising. However, I do wish that the unraveling of the mystery was a little bit more interesting. The romance aspect of this was also a little disappointing. I know that this isn't really marketed as a romance and that the mystery was at the forefront of the story, but I had been hoping for a bit more. Maybe the author will have the H and his love interest get together at the end of the series. I hope so, for his sake. He was such a nice guy. As it is, I probably won't continue on with this series, but I hope others do give this a try. If you like light mysteries that won't give you nightmares, with little to no romance, this might be right up your alley.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Nola Arganbright

    Very riveting Well written with a rolling flow that made this a hard book to put down. Michael is an intelligent and compassionate deputy that works through the murders that have plagued his town while keeping his humanity from and center. A strong plot supported by numerous subplots. The conclusion was surprising and touched me in a way I did not see coming.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Lindsey (Books for Christian Girls)

    About this book: “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 the courthouse steps. Everyone in town is a little uneasy. Still, no one is terribly worried--after all the man was a stranger--until one of their own is murdered right on Main Street. As Michael works to so About this book: “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 the courthouse steps. Everyone in town is a little uneasy. Still, no one is terribly worried--after all the man was a stranger--until one of their own is murdered right on Main Street. 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 readers guessing.” Series: Book #1 in “The Hidden Springs Mysteries” series. Spiritual Content- Scriptures are mentioned & read; Bible reading; Talks about God & His plans; ‘H’s are not capital; Mentions of Prayers; Mentions of church & preachers; Many mentions of a woman preacher; Malinda has a strong faith; Pete says he doesn’t talk to God; *Note: a couple mentions of a ghost. Negative Content- Minor cussing including: a ‘beat the you-know-what out of you’, a ‘darn’, a ‘what the…?’, a ‘wiseacre’, a ‘wretched’, three forms of ‘dumb’, three forms of ‘shut up’, three ‘sucker’s, four ‘heck’s, four ‘idiot’s, five ‘stupid’s; Many, many mentions of curses that are said, but not written out; A bit of sarcasm; Three murders, the bodies & murder weapons (semi-detailed); Blood & Skulls (boarder-line semi-detailed //detailed); Fighting & Guns (semi-detailed); Many mentions of killing, suicides, drowning, overdoses, dead kids (up to semi-detailed); Many mentions of the lottery, gambling & betting; Mentions of abuse & shooting people (up to semi-detailed); Mentions of dead people & bodies (up to semi-detailed): Mentions of car crashes (semi-detailed); Mentions of going to the bathroom a lot & puking; Mentions of drinking & drunks; Mentions of drugs, drug trafficking & marijuana; Mentions of cigarettes; Mentions of divorce; A mention of hornets in a man’s pants; a mention of aliens. Sexual Content- two barely-above-not-detailed kisses, and two semi-detailed kisses; Wanting to kiss; Mentions of kisses & kid pecks; Touches (semi-detailed); Noticing; a ‘foxy’; Stella is married, but still flirts with Michael; Roxanne was hinted to make money on the side, was a treat for men’s eyes, chummy with men, but was not a prostitute (she wouldn’t tell who the father of her child was); Roxanne was said that “she exuded sensuality”; A mention of skinny dipping; A mention of a young Michael wanting girls at school to notice him; A mention of teenage hormones; Mentions of dating & tying the knot; Mentions of affairs; *Note: A mention of scratching your backside; a “busting my butt.”. -Michael Keane, age 26 P.O.V. switches between him, Malinda (3x), Miss Willadean (1x) & Buck (1x) 321 pages ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~* Pre Teens- One Star New Teens- One Star Early High School Teens- One Star (and a half) Older High School Teens- Two Stars My personal Rating- Two Stars Hmmm. Like nearly all murder mysteries I’ve read (which isn’t many), I was able to figure out the killer before it’s revealed. So, the ending didn’t shock me. There was a bit of head jumping in the POVs, but it wasn’t so bad as it was told more in a narration writing style. At first it was pretty clean for a murder mystery, but by the second murder, 2/3s in, it got bloodier & a bit more detailed. There wasn’t much Spiritual Content either. Overall, it was okay and pretty forgettable. Link to review: http://booksforchristiangirls.blogspo... *BFCG may (Read the review to see) recommend this book by this author. It does not mean I recommend all the books by this author. *I received this book for free from the Publisher (Revell Publishers) for this review.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Merry Chapman

    A fun, fast paced cozy mystery you don't want to miss This is the first book in this series. I thoroughly enjoyed this cozy mystery. The characters were well developed and easy to get to know. I had my suspicions about the murderer pretty early on, but the conclusion did actually surprise me as to the entire story. Important loose ends were tied up nicely and It will be interesting if the love interest between Michael and Alex goes any further since they are of different minds. And loved Aunt Lin A fun, fast paced cozy mystery you don't want to miss This is the first book in this series. I thoroughly enjoyed this cozy mystery. The characters were well developed and easy to get to know. I had my suspicions about the murderer pretty early on, but the conclusion did actually surprise me as to the entire story. Important loose ends were tied up nicely and It will be interesting if the love interest between Michael and Alex goes any further since they are of different minds. And loved Aunt Lindy. Felt a little sorry for the Minister he was seeing before Alex returned to town. Felt a little let down when she didn't really appear again except as a mention in passing by Michael or Alex. Loved the small town feel. Will definitely read more from this author!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    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 w 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.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    I enjoyed getting to know Michael Keane and the quirky characters in Hidden Springs, Kentucky. The story was rather slow, easily put down, but hard to put out of my mind. Who shot someone right there on the courthouse square? This story could've happened in my town, or any of the small towns around me. I could see it so vividly. I liked Michael and the other characters. The identity of the murderer was a mystery to me until it was revealed. I never saw it coming. Readers will fall in love with t I enjoyed getting to know Michael Keane and the quirky characters in Hidden Springs, Kentucky. The story was rather slow, easily put down, but hard to put out of my mind. Who shot someone right there on the courthouse square? This story could've happened in my town, or any of the small towns around me. I could see it so vividly. I liked Michael and the other characters. The identity of the murderer was a mystery to me until it was revealed. I never saw it coming. Readers will fall in love with this cast of characters in Hidden Springs. I can't wait til the second book in this new series. If you like cozy mysteries, you will love A. H. Gabhart's attempt. And if you are a fan of Ann Gabhart's historicals, you'll want to read this book too, as she is writing this under a different name.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    When a stranger is found dead at the Hidden Springs courthouse, deputy sheriff Michael Keane, back from being a big city beat cop, feels that he must solve the case. Yes, it would be easier to agree with his fellow townsmen and decide that the murder must be a mob hit or something else that has no connection with the quiet town he knows. But he senses something wrong. When he finds a second body, this one part of the fabric of the town, he knows that murder is lurking close to home. This is clas When a stranger is found dead at the Hidden Springs courthouse, deputy sheriff Michael Keane, back from being a big city beat cop, feels that he must solve the case. Yes, it would be easier to agree with his fellow townsmen and decide that the murder must be a mob hit or something else that has no connection with the quiet town he knows. But he senses something wrong. When he finds a second body, this one part of the fabric of the town, he knows that murder is lurking close to home. This is classified as an "Inspirational" book but--a few pages aside--doesn't come down heavily on the religious side of things.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Wolf (Alpha)

    I didn't like this book as well as I thought I was going to. I didn't like the tow of Hidden Springs and how quiet and unconcerned they were about a murder on the courthouse steps. I don't care for the women in this book because all they do is faint all the time to get attention. I liked Michael and how he was determined to find the killer and end the problems in the town. I like how he takes the sheriffs advice and goes on a hunt finding more than he bargained for. Overall this book was just sl I didn't like this book as well as I thought I was going to. I didn't like the tow of Hidden Springs and how quiet and unconcerned they were about a murder on the courthouse steps. I don't care for the women in this book because all they do is faint all the time to get attention. I liked Michael and how he was determined to find the killer and end the problems in the town. I like how he takes the sheriffs advice and goes on a hunt finding more than he bargained for. Overall this book was just slow and super hard to get into. 3.5 stars.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sharon

    Initially this book seemed to be the old cliche of a law enforcement officer getting fed up with all of the crime in a big city and returning to his small home town where nothing ever happens only to find more crime than he ever expected. And it is that, but so much more. I really enjoyed it. Good characters and an interesting plot.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Judy

    A good, little cozy mystery; set is the town of Hidden Springs where everyone knows everyone and thinks they know all there is to know about one another until a stranger ends up dead on the courthouse steps. The characters are believable and even though I’d figured out the killer there were a couple of loving touches at the end that I really liked.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    This small town mystery is fun and easy to read. Surprisingly, it won me over even though I thought I knew who probably did it fairly early in the plot. A.H. Gabhart is an author I have enjoyed many times before, and I will continue to look for her books.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Phil

    A Friday free nook. Easy and enjoyable. But a who-done-it without much mystery. The 'who' was a very easy call no more than a quarter way thru. A Friday free nook. Easy and enjoyable. But a who-done-it without much mystery. The 'who' was a very easy call no more than a quarter way thru.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Tracie

    I was pleasantly surprised that I liked this book so much. I wasn't sure since it was a NOOK freebie. The description on Goodreads says former Chicago cop Michael Keane but it's actually former Columbus cop returns to his hometown of Hidden Springs. Although I was able to figure out the killer it still had me second guessing myself at times. I loved the way the author took different incidents and intertwined them all to connect. It definitely has peaked my interest to continue the series. I was pleasantly surprised that I liked this book so much. I wasn't sure since it was a NOOK freebie. The description on Goodreads says former Chicago cop Michael Keane but it's actually former Columbus cop returns to his hometown of Hidden Springs. Although I was able to figure out the killer it still had me second guessing myself at times. I loved the way the author took different incidents and intertwined them all to connect. It definitely has peaked my interest to continue the series.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Deb Haggerty

    Deb’s Dozen: Who-dun-it? Murder at the Courthouse, a Hidden Springs Mystery by Ann Gabhart. Michael Keane has come home to Hidden Springs, Kentucky, after a stint as a police officer in Chicago. He left the big city action because he didn’t feel he made a difference in Chicago. In his hometown, where he knows everyone and everyone knows him, he has carved out a comfortable niche and routine. Comfortable, that is, until the day “Miss Willadean Dearmon found the body on the courthouse steps at exact Deb’s Dozen: Who-dun-it? Murder at the Courthouse, a Hidden Springs Mystery by Ann Gabhart. Michael Keane has come home to Hidden Springs, Kentucky, after a stint as a police officer in Chicago. He left the big city action because he didn’t feel he made a difference in Chicago. In his hometown, where he knows everyone and everyone knows him, he has carved out a comfortable niche and routine. Comfortable, that is, until the day “Miss Willadean Dearmon found the body on the courthouse steps at exactly 8:59 a.m.” Assuming the man was drunk, she marched into Michael’s office to complain. Miss Willadean sputtered and fumed the man was so drunk he didn’t even acknowledge her! What poor manners—and he was a stranger too— she certainly didn’t know him! To stem the flow of complaints, Michael went out to investigate. He immediately knew the man was more than drunk; he was dead. So starts the investigation of the death of printer salesman, Jay Rayburn, and a wonderful study of the characters who comprise small town America. You’ll come to know and love Reece Sheridan, the old attorney who loves fishing more than his job; Joe Jamison, the barber, and his cat, Two Bits; Betty Jean Atkins, who works in the sheriff’s office; Aunt Malinda, who looked after Michael when his parents were killed in an auto accident and he was not expected to live; Reece’s niece, Alex, who Michael had known and cared for since they were teens. I felt right at home in Hidden Springs—the town reminded me of my hometown. I wondered how folks there would have reacted in similar circumstances. Gabhart has written a great who-dun-it peopled with winsome characters you will thoroughly enjoy reading about. She manages to provide many twists and turns and red herrings and more bodies throughout the book. Although the story bogged down occasionally, I still find Murder at the Courthouse: A Hidden Springs Mystery worthy of four stars! A.H. Gabhart is Ann H. Gabhart, bestselling author of many novels. The popular Shaker novels The Outsider, The Believer, and The Innocent are hers as well as Angel Sister, Small Town Girl, and Love Comes Home. Ann and her husband live on a farm near the small town in Kentucky where she grew up. She does say no one was every murdered on her town’s courthouse steps, however. For fun, Ann says, “I love to play with my grandkids. I like meeting people. I like going for walks with my dog. I like to talk to people about my books and writing. I love to read and wish I had more reading time. I enjoy church and all the “eating meetings” our little church has. I like to write in my journal. I enjoy getting to know my reading friends on my Facebook page.” (Ann H Gabhart)

  24. 5 out of 5

    Joan

    I downloaded this straight from KU and hadn't realised it was a Religious and Inspirational novel - which I usually avoid. But the 'religion' aspect was low-key for the most part and the story and characters held my attention throughout. I am not familiar with the procedures in small-town America regarding dealing with a murder (to be honest, some of the procedures horrified me !) but this is a fun book to read and I enjoyed the author's style. I downloaded this straight from KU and hadn't realised it was a Religious and Inspirational novel - which I usually avoid. But the 'religion' aspect was low-key for the most part and the story and characters held my attention throughout. I am not familiar with the procedures in small-town America regarding dealing with a murder (to be honest, some of the procedures horrified me !) but this is a fun book to read and I enjoyed the author's style.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Janet Sketchley

    Michael Keane took the deputy sheriff position in small-town Hidden Springs to get away from the ugliness of big-city crime. He wants to help people, not get hardened like his former partner. When a stranger is found dead on the courthouse steps, Michael will only solve the mystery if he can see the truth about his fellow citizens – and about himself. Murder at the Courthouse is a gently-paced cozy mystery with quirky characters and a heaping helping of heart. I enjoyed the small-town feel, and it Michael Keane took the deputy sheriff position in small-town Hidden Springs to get away from the ugliness of big-city crime. He wants to help people, not get hardened like his former partner. When a stranger is found dead on the courthouse steps, Michael will only solve the mystery if he can see the truth about his fellow citizens – and about himself. Murder at the Courthouse is a gently-paced cozy mystery with quirky characters and a heaping helping of heart. I enjoyed the small-town feel, and it was easy to care about Michael, his aunt Lindy, and Anthony, the teenager who Michael's trying to keep out of trouble. Most of the story is told from Michael's point of view, with a few snippets from his aunt. My favourite line: ...sometimes worry for his safety perched on her shoulder, digging its talons down all the way into her heart. [Aunt Lindy, about Michael's police work, p. 43] I did guess the killer's identity, but that was only part of the mystery, and it didn't affect my appreciation of the story. I'll definitely be on the lookout for the next Hidden Springs Mystery. Ann H. Gabhart is a bestselling author of novels for adults and young adults. You can find her and her books at annhgabhart.com, and you can also read a sample chapter of Murder at the Courthouse. [Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.]

  26. 4 out of 5

    Christian Fiction Addiction

    Fans of novels by Gabhart are in for a treat as she pens something a little different with "Murder at the Courthouse". The author has created a whole cast of colourful, quirky characters who so intrigued me that I found myself thinking about them long after I had finished the novel. As a male reader, I always enjoy books with a male lead character, and Michael is a likeable man of integrity that both female and male readers alike will appreciate getting to know over the course of the story. Alth Fans of novels by Gabhart are in for a treat as she pens something a little different with "Murder at the Courthouse". The author has created a whole cast of colourful, quirky characters who so intrigued me that I found myself thinking about them long after I had finished the novel. As a male reader, I always enjoy books with a male lead character, and Michael is a likeable man of integrity that both female and male readers alike will appreciate getting to know over the course of the story. Although I enjoyed the hint of romance in the story, I think my favourite interactions are actually between Michael and his Aunt Lindy, a no-nonsense woman who reminded me of my own aunt in many ways. After the initial reveal of the body at the beginning of the story (which was done with a nice touch of humour), I found that things progressed a bit slowly for me as the stage was set. But I was definitely intrigued enough to keep reading, and I'm so glad I did because suddenly another body turned up and a number of different twists and turns were thrown in until I simply had to ignore real life around me to see how things would resolve. I did figure out who was behind the murders well before the end of the story, but it was an utterly enjoyable ride to see how things would play out. I came to the the final page disappointed that I had to leave the town of Hidden Springs so soon, because the cast of characters had become friends, and so I am glad that this is only the first book in the series, with more to come!. "Murder at the Courthouse" will not only delight Gabhart's usual fans, but will surely pick up a new flock of followers as well. I enjoyed this satisfying mystery and award it 4.0 out of 5 stars. Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Carla Johnson-Hicks

    Hidden Springs is a quiet little town that is about to have a shake up. When Miss Willadean, the town busy body comes across a passed out drunk stranger on the courthouse steps, she lets the Sherriff's office hear about it. When Michael, the deputy heads out to check it out, he finds out that it is not a drunk, but a dead man. The mystery begins. The characters in this new series are introduced in this story and they are extremely likeable. Michael's story of his parents being killed in a terrib Hidden Springs is a quiet little town that is about to have a shake up. When Miss Willadean, the town busy body comes across a passed out drunk stranger on the courthouse steps, she lets the Sherriff's office hear about it. When Michael, the deputy heads out to check it out, he finds out that it is not a drunk, but a dead man. The mystery begins. The characters in this new series are introduced in this story and they are extremely likeable. Michael's story of his parents being killed in a terrible accident when he was only 15 was heart breaking, especially that he was in the car and almost died himself. His spunky Aunt Malinda (Lindy) stayed by his side, praying and talking to him and nursed him back to health. She raised him with the help of the judge next door who became a sort of surrogate father. Michael takes an interest in troubled teenagers and has tried to keep Anthony out of trouble. Anthony's story of being abandoned by his mother at the age of 5 and raised by his aunt hits home with Michael. The rest of the Sherriff's office staff all have quirks of their own and Lester is a hoot. The newspaper man, Hank, is always in the way but gets his story. There are a couple of love interests for Michael, but that is not the main part of the story, just an interesting aside, which will probably develop more in future books. As more bodies show up, Michael is in a race to find the killer and protect Anthony, who he thinks knows more about the murders than he is telling. A good read. I did figure out the killer about 2/3 of the way in, but it was still a great mystery. I am looking forward to the next in this series. I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    A.H. Gabhart is Ann Gabhart. I have read one book by her which was a Christmas novel about the Shakers. To my knowledge, she has never written suspense, which might be the reason she used her initials for this first time suspense novel. Her debut suspense/mystery novel is one she can be proud of. The novel is somewhat of a "cozy" mystery, if murders can be cozy..... but at least the setting and people fall into that description. Hidden Springs is a small town where not much exciting ever happen A.H. Gabhart is Ann Gabhart. I have read one book by her which was a Christmas novel about the Shakers. To my knowledge, she has never written suspense, which might be the reason she used her initials for this first time suspense novel. Her debut suspense/mystery novel is one she can be proud of. The novel is somewhat of a "cozy" mystery, if murders can be cozy..... but at least the setting and people fall into that description. Hidden Springs is a small town where not much exciting ever happens, and life is predictable. It is one of those towns that make you wish you lived there. It is the perfect setting for this series of mysteries, and the author came up with a great cast of characters that fit in the story and town just perfectly. The main character, a young deputy sheriff Michael Keane is a very likable character, made all the more likable once his back story is given. He is the one who the main responsibility of solving the crimes falls to, and Gabhart does an excellent job of describing his and the other lawmen's detecting and crime solving. This is a "whodunit" type of book. I had my suspicions partway through the book which turned out to be correct, but I still enjoyed the reading journey until it was revealed for sure and finding the why's. Although this isn't a fast paced suspense/mystery novel, it is an exciting and interesting read that I didn't put down until I finished it, except for breaks to eat, etc. It came to a great conclusion, and though I hated to see it end, I was left with that feeling of satisfaction one gets upon finishing a great book. I very much recommend this one. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and am looking forward to the next book in the series.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Julie Graves

    I always seem to be starting a series in the middle or at least one book in. Murder at the Courthouse is the first book in the Hidden Springs series. I read the 2nd book 1st. Murder Comes by Mail and then I was able to get an ARC copy of the 3rd book that hasn't come out yet, Murder is no Accident. And then I finally read book number 1! I don't know why or how I manage to do that, but it just seems to happen. Anyway, here are my thoughts on Murder at the Courthouse, book 1 in the Hidden Springs I always seem to be starting a series in the middle or at least one book in. Murder at the Courthouse is the first book in the Hidden Springs series. I read the 2nd book 1st. Murder Comes by Mail and then I was able to get an ARC copy of the 3rd book that hasn't come out yet, Murder is no Accident. And then I finally read book number 1! I don't know why or how I manage to do that, but it just seems to happen. Anyway, here are my thoughts on Murder at the Courthouse, book 1 in the Hidden Springs Mysteries: When a body turns up on the courthouse steps Deputy Sheriff Michael Keane must find out who killed the poor man and why. During the course of his investigation we are introduced to many eccentric characters that belong to Hidden Springs. Michael has his hands full when another murder occurs. Not only is Michael trying to find a murderer, but he is also trying to keep track of juvenile delinquent Anthony who's mother left years before. Add to that his possible relationship with pastor Karen and also his affection for his childhood friend Alexandria and Michael is one busy Deputy Sheriff. As Michael plods along solving the mystery we get a picture of how this small town has woven Michael into the man he is today. Will Michael be able to find the murderer before he/she commits another? I really enjoyed going back to the beginning of the series and finding out more about Michael's life and reading more about the accident that caused him to lose his parents and his memory. I have to admit I figured out "who done it" pretty early on, it was kind of obvious, but I still enjoyed following Michael in solving the crime. I think the Hidden Spring Mystery series is a pretty solid series and I hope there will be plenty more installments to the series.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Dawn

    After spending a few years as a detective in Columbus, Michael Keane is glad to return to his hometown of Hidden Springs as a deputy sheriff. The job is way less stressful and he's able to relax a bit more because nothing ever happens in Hidden Springs. Well nothing except for the dead body on the courthouse steps. The sight of the body makes the town uneasy, but only slightly. After all, the man was a stranger. But Michael senses that there's more to the murder than what is on the surface. His After spending a few years as a detective in Columbus, Michael Keane is glad to return to his hometown of Hidden Springs as a deputy sheriff. The job is way less stressful and he's able to relax a bit more because nothing ever happens in Hidden Springs. Well nothing except for the dead body on the courthouse steps. The sight of the body makes the town uneasy, but only slightly. After all, the man was a stranger. But Michael senses that there's more to the murder than what is on the surface. His suspicions come to fruition when a respected citizen is murdered right on Main Street. Michael knows the cases are connected, he just has to figure out how. As he investigates, he finds himself led on a chase that questions all he's believed about his hometown. I really enjoyed this book. It's what is classified as a true cozy mystery. The small town is filled with characters that are a hoot. I did find the book to be one of those that was very easy to put down and come back to later. Sometimes days later. But I wanted to know how the puzzle pieces were all going to fit together and I kept on. Of all of the list of suspects, the author did a good job in having the culprit be one I wasn't expecting. I enjoyed meeting Michael and Aunt Lindy. I look forward to more of them in the next book. I received this book for free from Revell via NetGalley for the purpose of reviewing. My thoughts and opinions are my own. Recommended to fans of cozy mysteries, Lorena McCourtney, Jan Karon, Mindy Starns Clark Rating - 4 stars

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