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Lightning on a Quiet Night

4.48  ·  Rating Details ·  88 Ratings  ·  40 Reviews
Selah Awards Finalist - Historical Romance

Following a horrific murder, the town of Beneficent, Mississippi, population 479, tries desperately to hold onto its vain self-image. The young veteran Jack Davis holds that idyllic vision of the town and tries to share it with Lisa Kemper, newly arrived from Indiana. But she is repelled by everything in it. While the sheriff trie
Paperback, 314 pages
Published November 3rd 2014 by Lighthouse Publishing
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“It’s the sudden strokes of destruction that let us see the truths our inner darkness has hidden.” – Lightning on a Quiet Night by Donn Taylor, published by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas.

This extraordinary, realistic faith-based murder/mystery/romance is akin to a winter thunderstorm. That which is unexpected and unprecedented often carries the most chilling powerful punch. The initial action/suspense builds slowly – there are quite a few characters and more than one story thread to kee
Julia Wilson
Feb 11, 2015 Julia Wilson rated it it was amazing
Lightning On A Quiet Night by Donn Taylor is one of those books that really gets you thinking about just where you are with your faith. And also how you live out your faith and your attitude to others.
The novel is set in the town of Beneficent in the post World War II years. All the inhabitants are good people, believing that nothing bad has ever, nor will ever happen in their town. The sign on entering the town, even boasts that it is 'as good as it's name'. Newcomer Lisa Kempar arrives with he
Lisa Godfrees
Dec 11, 2014 Lisa Godfrees rated it it was amazing
I spent all day in the town of Beneficent, MS, a small town but one with lots of local flavor. The book sucked me into the 1940's, a time of basketball games, hometown heroes, and flavored drug store soda.

New to town, city-bred Lisa Kemper tries to fit in for her dad's sake. She doesn't buy that the town is "as good as its name," especially when a teenage girl winds up dead. She can't help but suspect one of the town's most eligible bachelors is the killer.

There's enough mystery in the book to k
D.M. Webb
In the town of Beneficent, "A Town As Good As Its Name", a myriad of characters come to life and begin a journey that changes the town's heart and soul.

From the first pages of learning more about Lisa and her unwillingness to give this rural town a chance to the end where Jack learns more about what it means to forgive and trust his faith in the future, the reader is pulled into a story set within rural Mississippi and held there throughout this spellbinding tale.

Lisa is a northerner thrust into
Linda Marie Marsh
Sep 27, 2016 Linda Marie Marsh rated it really liked it
BENEFICENT- doing good; generous; actively kind.
Also, the name of the town WW2 veteran Jack Davis comes home to, and where Lisa Kemper has begrudgingly arrived to help out her dad establish a new career. Beneficent is the word townspeople are proud of, well, till a murder occurs, and then the realization that just MAYBE Mayberry RFD / Utopia / Beneficent is not a realistic ideal?
Does it matter what era it is? I think so. Do town like this truly exist? Perhaps in the midwest somewhere with a min
Lisa Johnson
Feb 21, 2015 Lisa Johnson rated it it was amazing
Title: Lightning on a Quiet Night
Author: Donn Taylor
Pages: 330
Year: 2014
Publisher: Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas
Donn Taylor brings to his audience a captivating mystery set in a small town named Beneficent in the mid-1940s and early 50s. A widower working for a chemical company moves into town with his grown daughter to oversee the building of plant. Stephen and Lisa Kemper feel like outsiders who work hard to be accepted by the small town. Lisa is sti
Aug 13, 2015 Paula rated it it was amazing
I struggled staying focused during the first few chapters of Lightning On A Quiet Night by Donn Taylor. The storyline seemed to “jump” around from one character to the other. I continued to read and began to understand that the background on several characters was presented during these first chapters to help the reader understand them in the midst of the plot. I am so glad that I hung in and continued to read the book. The storyline kept me interested and surprised at some of the twists and ...more
Sep 11, 2015 Nancee rated it it was amazing
The small-town community named Beneficent holds on to their views of a near-perfect community of Christian residents. I found their self-righteous beliefs representative of the community where I grew up, and was able to relate to the mentality that bad things just don't happen in Beneficent. Townspeople are shaken by the murder of a popular teenage girl. Who in their community could possibly commit such a heinous crime, certainly not one of their own? It has to be an outsider!

Lisa Kemper is appa
Janice Garey
Sep 16, 2015 Janice Garey rated it it was amazing
Review Title: New Favorite Author (review of Lightning on a Quiet Night by Donn Taylor)
Reviewer: Janice S. Garey Review
***** 5 Stars

My husband and I read this book aloud and truly enjoyed the setting, character development, mystery progression and resolution, and the humor. As the reader dips into the quiet setting where everything is suppose to be a cut above other places because it keeps up the facade that nothing bad ever happens in the blessed town, a murder of a cheerleader shocks the town
Deana Dick
Sep 10, 2015 Deana Dick rated it it was amazing
I received a copy of this book from book and LightHouse Publishing of the Carolinas for an honest review

From the very first page , I knew this was going to be a book I couldn't put down. The author writes about a small town much like that of Mayberry from the fifties. It's a quiet friendly town, where everyone knows each other. They are neighborly and watch out for each other. One of the main focus of the town is the sports team at the school. It seems like the whole town rallies around
Catherine Castle
Dec 06, 2014 Catherine Castle rated it really liked it
Rich in language and Description

It took me three tries to get into this book, mostly because I was reading late at night and kept falling asleep, accidentally paging forward on my phone’s Kindle app, and then wondering who the characters I kept encountering were (there are quite a few introduced in the beginning) and how they figured into the story.

I’m glad I persevered with this story. Once I started reading during the daylight hours (when I wasn’t sleep deprived) I devoured this book in two d
Sep 04, 2015 Mary rated it really liked it
"Lightning on a Quiet Night" starts out slow and gentle, introducing several characters, and some of their history, until a person feels a bit bewildered by it all. And then after a few chapters, it grabs you and doesn't let go until you reach the end!
The story takes place in 1948 in a small town in Mississippi. The people that live here feel that everything is good, that their town is the best thing around, and that nothing bad can ever happen. When a girl is murdered the townsfolk are aston
This was an intriguing romance between two people who seem to want very different things but find themselves drawn to each other anyway. However, the main character in the story is their town, Beneficent, which boasts the motto, “A Town as Good as Its Name” and “the complacency of the townspeople who thought they made it that way.” Its citizens idealized it as “good people in a good town, leading good lives and not wishing anybody any harm”, but under the tranquil surface we find deceit, gossip, ...more
Cindy Huff
Dec 06, 2014 Cindy Huff rated it it was amazing
Lightning on a Quiet Night is a subtle mystery. The characters capture your interest slowly. The story takes place in a small Mississippi town circa 1940s that prides itself in being a place that always does good. Outsider Lisa Kemper is not convinced it’s such a perfect place. While Jack Davis, WWII veteran, couldn’t wait to return to this paradise. These two viewpoints theme the storyline when a murder is committed and clues are confusing. A perfect community apparently isn’t so perfect after ...more
Linda Yezak
Aug 26, 2015 Linda Yezak rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery-suspense
Donn Taylor is one of my favorite mystery writers, and he won me over again with Lightning on a Quiet Night.

In the years following WWII, Lisa Kemper moves to the tiny town of Beneficent, Mississippi with her widower father, but what she really wants to do is go back to college. Nothing in Beneficent pleases her, and she feels trapped.

Veteran Jack Davis sees no wrong with the town that supported him during his military service and the death of his parents. He is working hard to repay a loan on h
Aug 15, 2015 Redeemed rated it it was amazing
This well-done novel by Donn Taylor has a rather formal writing style, but it is still written in a way that draws you in and gives an appropriate and suspenseful feel to the story. Readers are quickly introduced to a cast of characters who were initially a little difficult to keep track of, but there was a very realistic quirkiness to each one. Soon, you just find yourself drawn into a good story that makes you forget it’s just a story. The suspense portion actually keeps you in suspense and ...more
Donna Mcginnis
Oct 06, 2015 Donna Mcginnis rated it it was amazing
Donn Taylor is a talented writer. A Master at story telling. Well defined characters and stories that keep you glued to your seat not wanting to stop before the end of the book. I have read several of Donn's books and love them all.
Lightning on a Quiet Night Takes place after WWII in the small rural town of Beneficent, Mississippi. The citizens are proud of their Christian community and feel that they do good for others and that it is free of crime. That comes to an end when a young teenage gir
Aug 19, 2015 Barbara rated it really liked it
The citizens of the small town of Beneficent, Mississippi will learn the truth in Proverbs 16:18: Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.

The murder of teenaged Callie Rakestraw and a second murder of Vesta Childress were a tremendous shock to the citizens of Beneficent who believed for years that their town truly deserved it’s name; they did not believe it possible that anyone in their community could commit such terrible crimes.
But as an investigation into Callie’s mu
Carol McClain
Nov 20, 2014 Carol McClain rated it it was amazing
I've read most of Donn Taylor's books, and this one is, I believe one of his best. Set in 1948, he creates a memorable world when life was simpler and recovery from the war hard. Lightning is a serious book, but Taylor has a subtle humor that will leave you laughing out loud from ironic names like Mrs. Telebit,the town gossip, to character descriptions. Mr. Hahn was 4-E during the war. The proof was in the size of his family because the only thing a Mississippi farmer can plant in January is ...more
Cathy Elliott
Jan 01, 2015 Cathy Elliott rated it it was amazing
I'm a big fan of Donn Taylor's work and praise his books often. With LIGHTNING ON A QUIET NIGHT, he's produced another powerful read. While it nails the murder mystery category at a comfortable pace, the book has other traits to recommend it - an engaging love story with very real and flawed characters and a historical setting that gave this reader a nostalgic tug on the heart. I loved visiting life in Beneficent with neighbors nosy (Mrs. Telebits) and nice, where heroes joined in the community, ...more
Sharon Paavola
Dec 27, 2014 Sharon Paavola rated it it was amazing
Another great book that was so hard to put down! The characters are rich, real, and memorable. As a newcomer to Beneficent, Mississippi, Lisa Kemper seeks to find the good in the citizens who claim to be according to their town's name. The story unfolds and Lisa isn't the only one wondering. The sheriff is questioning the same thing. This quiet, small community is challenged as never before when tragedy hits one of their own. Unusual happenings lead Lisa and her new friend Jack Davis to fear for ...more
Aug 18, 2015 Rachael rated it liked it
This was a good read. It took me a few chapters to get into the read, and the suspense didn't build as much as some other recent books I've read in that genre. However, this was much more than just a suspense read. This was about a group of people who took too much pride in their own good works and learn some valuable lessons. The faith thread wasn't a redemption one, and I found that I enjoyed that as it has been a theme in most books this year. This book had a different feel and writing style ...more
Katy Kauffman
Dec 22, 2014 Katy Kauffman rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
After the shock wore off of who was murdered in this little town, I realized the book was more charming romance and intriguing drama than murder mystery. (I'm not a big mystery reader.)

Donn Taylor builds a town bent on being good and righteous, so they say. Then he dismantles the town and its characters, showing their underlying nature. The reality that evil is present anywhere, despite good intentions, reminds me of M. Night Shyamalan's The Village.

Although the first third of the book was a b
Nov 07, 2015 Kimberly rated it really liked it
I am not sure why I chose this book. It is not quite the type that I would usually choose, however, it is good to step out of your comfort zone once in a while. The story is set following World War II in a small town that has discovered its first murder. A veteran is trying to open up the charms of the town to another, however, she is not sure.

As the relationship develops and as the murder is being solved there are secrets about the town that come to light.

This book was given to me by bookfun.or
Lynn Hobbs
Jan 14, 2015 Lynn Hobbs rated it it was amazing
Occasionally, I discover a book that is impossible to stop reading. Such is the case of Donn Taylor's remarkable book, Lightning on a Quiet Night. I began reading it late one afternoon...stayed up extremely late...and finished it the following day.
Mr. Taylor is a master of weaving a story!
Was I pulled into the story? Oh, yes.
With just the right amount of intrigue, spot-on characters, and a touch of humor; this book also gives one a learning experience.
I highly recommend "Lightning on a Quiet Nig
Donna Crow
Dec 01, 2014 Donna Crow rated it it was amazing
Lightning on a Quiet Night is an engaging story told in Donn Taylor's poetic, clever prose. Set in a small southern town shortly after World War II. Beneficent is a perfect town, yet rocked by murder and riddled with gossip. This is a story of despair and complacency, of violence and peace, of resentment and forgiveness. A story of people. Thoroughly enjoyable read with a theme as enduring as Mark Twain's "The Man Who Corrupted Hadleyburg."
Donna Fletcher Crow, A Newly Crimsoned Reliquary, The M
Cheri Swalwell
Sep 18, 2015 Cheri Swalwell rated it it was amazing
Lightning on a Quiet Night was a great book. I couldn’t put it down. Every spare minute I had to read, I wanted to see what was going to happen next. I’m going to read all the books by this author because it was a really good book.

I received this book for free from the author and The Book Club Network in exchange for my honest review. I have posted my review on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads, and Deeper Shopping (if it is there).

Joan Arning
Sep 10, 2015 Joan Arning rated it liked it
Lightning on a Quiet Night is the story of a small town in Mississippi following World War II. The story was interesting but it was difficult to keep all of the characters in town straight. It seemed to move a little slow although there was plenty of action. Following two murders, the townspeople learn that you have to rely on God and not yourself.

I received this book from in exchange for my honest opinion.
Ane Mulligan
Dec 27, 2014 Ane Mulligan rated it really liked it
1948 and the boys were home from the war. It was an era of innocence, where people only saw the good. A good, nostalgic time for this book to be set. It is somewhat different from Taylor's other books. Those who know me know I shy away from thrillers and suspense, but this story is so compelling, I had to keep reading. With characters you'll care about and snippets of Taylor's tongue-in-cheek humor, it's a book I highly recommend.
Jan 16, 2015 Kathrese rated it it was amazing
Lightning on a Quiet Night is just the right blend of murder mystery, tale of the South, nostalgia, and romance. And I love Donn Taylor’s way with words. I would insert a quote here except I absolutely don’t want to spoil anything for the next reader. Pick this book up, and you’ll have a hard time putting it down.
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I'm working now as a novelist and poet, also teaching at writers' groups and conferences. In a prior incarnation I served in two wars with the U.S. Army. Afterwards, I taught English literature at two liberal arts colleges. The World's Perfect Woman consented to honor me in marriage, and we enjoyed six decades together until the Lord needed another alto for His heavenly choir. I live in the woods ...more
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