• Abandoned Prayers

  • An Incredible True Story of Murder, Obsession, and Amish Secrets (St. Martin's True Crime Library)
  • By: Gregg Olsen
  • Narrated by: Kevin Pierce
  • Length: 10 hrs and 38 mins
  • 4.2 out of 5 stars (360 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

On Christmas Eve in 1985, a hunter found a young boy's body along an icy corn field in Nebraska. The residents of Chester, Nebraska buried him as "Little Boy Blue", unclaimed and unidentified - until a phone call from Ohio two years later led authorities to Eli Stutzman, the boy's father.

Eli Stutzman, the son of an Amish bishop, was by all appearances a dedicated farmer and family man in the country's strictest religious sect. But behind his quiet façade was a man involved with pornography, sadomasochism, and drugs. After the suspicious death of his pregnant wife, Stutzman took his preschool-age son, Danny, and hit the road on a sexual odyssey ending with his conviction for murder. But the mystery of Eli Stutzman and the fate of his son didn't end on the barren Nebraska plains. It was just beginning....

Gregg Olsen's Abandoned Prayers is an incredible true story of murder and Amish secrets.

©1990, 2021 Gregg Olsen (P)2021 Gregg Olen

What listeners say about Abandoned Prayers

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great book

I love Gregg Olsen, never disappointed. I could listen to Kevin Pierce narrate the dictionary. Even reading the most horrible crimes, his voice is soothing.

15 people found this helpful

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  • BG
  • 08-22-21

Gregg Olsen at his worst

Ive been very impressed with Olsen's previous works, but sadly no writer can hit the jackpot with EVERY book. Once you get past the novelty of livin' la vida loca Amish style in the first half, it turns into a quite ordinary murder mystery in the 2nd half, and a very boring one at that.

Kevin Pierce gets five stars because he's Kevin Pierce, but even he couldnt do anything with this story. Skip this one if you're a true crime fan.

7 people found this helpful

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well written

narrator was consistently well spoken and maintained the same tempo when reading which made it easier to follow. the story was steep in facts for all of the major subjects in the story. the ending is truthfully rather sad and disappointing especially for the expectation of justice but overall well.written.

4 people found this helpful

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Dissappointed

I understand the background needed to be told but it was all about homosexuals too very descriptive. Very disappointed I could not finish the book.

3 people found this helpful

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Too graphic!

I love both author and narrator so thought this would be a great story. Unfortunately it was way too detailed about the sexual escapades and homosexuality. The story itself was lost in all of the confusing characters and dates. This literally could have been 10 chapters of succinct writing and would have been much better.

2 people found this helpful

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Disappointed

I love Kevin Pierce but he couldn’t save this one from being boring, repetitive and disappointing. I sometimes I feel this author, in this book and others he has written, is “uncomfortable” writing about homosexuality or minorities and uses old tropes and ignorant comments made by law enforcement that are not necessary to the story. It’s cringe worthy.

2 people found this helpful

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Skip this one

Eli Stutzman’s crimes would have made great material for a true crime novel, with his Amish upbringing and the queer counterculture of the 1980s providing a rich backdrop, but Olsen wastes this opportunity. He spends too much time on details of people and places that aren’t really central to the story. It’s an attempt to shock the reader by way of equating Stutzman’s gayness with the severity of his crimes—“Look how gay this f*cker is, of course he killed people!”—when the exploration of Stutzman’s very real depravity could have been much more nuanced, robust, and compelling. The quotes from homophobic law enforcement officers—whom Olsen somehow thinks are quotable in the 21st century—just drive home the author’s discomfort with the subject matter. At best, a scatterbrained book; I am an addict of true crime novels but I gave up rewinding this one trying to keep all the inconsequential names and dates straight. Skip it!

1 person found this helpful

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Not my favorite

I have read all of Greg Olsen's books.
This was not his best. Felt scattered. I don't think this was the best subject for a true crime book and it really had very little to do with the Amish community because it mentions the subject's upbringing only briefly.
I just wasn't awed by how this was written.
I wish now I had skipped it.

1 person found this helpful

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it's a shame

in reading this, it breaks my heart.. so many do so little to help a child. if only one person didn't think about themselves first , things could have been different. I learned a lot.

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May be too many details

A great book that I would recommend to anyone with the warning of the details of Stutzman's homosexual escapades. I realize it had to be included to understand the full story & his tale, but I just wasn't prepared for what I heard. Nonetheless, a good book. I could listen to Kevin Pierce read the dictionary. His voice is so easy to follow & listen along. Stutzman's trail of lies & deceit are hard to believe. His trail of deception finally caught up with him, but sure disappointed with the ending to his story. At least his evil mind was put to rest 15 yrs ago, but wondering what awful things people were subjected to after his release from prison.

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  • Melmo25
  • 12-06-21

As always , brilliant

Anything by this author is fantastic. Anything by the narrator, is sublime. These 2 are the best combination ever
Sad story, lots of unresolved issues. A true sociapath

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-27-22

I am not really sure that this story was about "murder" or "obsession".

3 stars

The first half of this book was really interesting. I enjoyed reading about the Amish life and how they tried to keep troubled youth in the nest. I really feel for the family of Eli Stultzman and his late wife. They were honestly good people who didn't know how to deal with a troubled man. I wonder what would have happened to Eli if he was able to express his sexuality. Would he still have left a trail of destruction and bodies in his wake?

I feel terribly for Danny, Eli's family and his late wife's family were desperate to give Danny a happy life. Instead he ends up alone in a frozen ditch. There were so many people who would have loved and taken Danny, instead he died cold and alone. If he was murdered or died of neglect, doesn't really matter at this point, if he was not with Eli Stutzman he would still be alive.

I listened to this book on Audible, and I did struggle to keep al of the different people straight. Particularly all of the Eli's.

1 person found this helpful

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