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K.P. Cecala
Hard Cider Abbey
K.P. Cecala, author
Deep in the heart of West Virginia’s Appalachians, a tiny monastic community with medieval French roots is known locally for the deliciously fermented cider it produces. But when a beloved older member is found dead in nearby Heart-Break Forest, the abbey’s youngest and lowliest monks—Brothers Emerick and Odo—find themselves unraveling an ugly secret that could impact not only their lives, but the future of their abbey. Hard Cider Abbey is a classic who-dun-it in a contemporary setting, suitable for both believers and non-believers alike.
Gentle humor and restrained prose lift Cecala’s series launch. Odo LeRoi, a young monk, is transferred from an abbey in Quebec to Holy Face Abbey in Appalachian West Virginia, where he encounters an eclectic cast of hard cider–brewing monks. He also stumbles on a corpse in the woods—that of the abbey’s esteemed librarian, Fr. Lucian Powers, whose death is initially thought to be a suicide. Odo himself is an enigmatic addition to the abbey: while considered mute since birth, the truth is that “he could speak. He simply chose not to.” Brother Emerick Ottlesby, a straight-talking veteran born and raised in the hardened community surrounding the abbey, takes Odo under his wing. Emerick, who’s certain that the good-natured Lucian would never have taken his own life and was instead murdered by a monk at the abbey, and Odo work together to track down the killer. Cecala crafts a quirky mystery with two unlikely sleuths and an exceptionally appealing setting. Readers will be eager for more adventures from the endearing duo. (BookLife)