Since she was a little girl, Marisa Angelo has been haunted by the image of her mother walking away, suitcase in hand, to return to her Amish roots.
Marisa and her "Englischer" father never saw or heard from her again. Now Marisa has received a shocking call from police. Her mother's bloodstained suitcase was found hidden inside the wall of a Pennsylvania Dutch farmhouse.
Desperate for answers, Marisa heads to Lancaster County. But no one--not the police or Marisa's tight-lipped Amish relatives--can explain what happened to her mother.
Only one man is as determined as Marisa to unravel the mystery--Link Morgan, the handsome ex-military loner who found the suitcase in the house he inherited from his uncle. Now both Link's and Marisa's family members are implicated in the decades-old disappearance.
The secret lies somewhere in the quaint Amish settlement. But someone will do anything to ensure the truth remains hidden forever.
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June 01, 2011
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Excerpt from Vanish in Plain Sight by Marta Perry
Link Morgan narrowed his focus to the heavy sledgehammer and the satisfying thwack it made when it broke into the old paneling.
The paneling shattered beneath Link's sledgehammer, its shoddiness a contrast to the solid double-plank construction of the rest of the old farmhouse. Setting the sledgehammer down, he pulled fragments loose with gloved hands, tossing them into a pile in front of the fireplace. The last bit of the section came free, revealing what lay behind it.
He stared, methodically wiping the sweat from his forehead. Shaking off the foreboding that gripped him, he reached into the wall and pulled out the object that lay there. A suitcase. Not empty, by the feel of it.
Carrying it to the makeshift worktable, he set down his find. An inexpensive suitcase, its fabric sides coated in dust and marred by stains. How long had it lain there, inside the wall of Uncle Allen's house? More important, why was it there?
He snapped open the latch and swung back the lid. Women's clothes, by the look of it--slacks, a skirt, several blouses. Beneath them something black. He picked it up, shook it out and recognized it. An Amish woman's black apron. His stomach twisted, rebelling the way it had in Afghanistan when they were coming upon a perfect place for an ambush.
Taking out the apron revealed what lay under it: a white Amish prayer kapp. At the very bottom was a framed photograph. He picked up the picture, bad feelings growing. A woman and a young girl, looking at each other, faces lit with laughter and love. Mother and daughter, he'd guess from the similarities in the faces. The child looked to be about four or five.
He set the picture down gently and took a step away from the table. Something was wrong here. The pair in the photo wore typical, though a little outdated, clothing. So how did that square with the Amish clothing in the suitcase? The pressure that had driven him for months urged him to ignore this, to get on with his plans. Whatever had led to this suitcase being placed inside the wall of the old house his uncle had left him, it was no concern of his.
If he hadn't opened the suitcase, maybe he could have bought that. But the contents raised too many questions. Too late now to take the easy way out. He pulled the cell phone from his pocket and dialed the Spring Township police.
Ten minutes later a police car pulled into the driveway. The occupants got out and headed for the back door, as country people always did, and he walked out to the back porch to meet them. Before he had a chance to speak, his brother Trey's pickup drew to a stop behind the cruiser.
He'd called Trey right after he'd called the police, figuring he would want to know. After all, he was the one who'd been here for the past six years while Link was off at college and then in the army. Maybe he'd be able to shed some light on this, but even if he couldn't, Trey was the kind of person you turned to when there was trouble.
Besides, Trey knew everyone. Adam Byler, now the township police chief, had been friends with Link's big brother since they were kids, running around together, usually trying to brush off Link, the bratty little brother tagging after them and getting into trouble
"Hey, Link." Adam pulled off sunglasses and started toward him, followed by another cop...Dick McCall, fiftyish, balding, with a paunch that strained his uniform shirt a bit more each year. Mac had been a township cop when Link had been soaping windows at ten.
"Sorry to call you out." Link leaned against the porch post, hoping it didn't look as if he needed its support. "It's probably nothing, but I figured you'd want a look at this."