Review of Gone Missing by Linda Castillo
In a thrilling suspense set in the innocence of Amish country, Kate Burkholder will prove why she’s perfect for her position as Chief of Police in a small Ohio town. John Tomasetti, a State Agent, is the strength Kate will need, personally and professionally, as they work together to find Amish teenagers who have GONE MISSING.
Kate Burkholder was raised by Amish parents in northeast Ohio. Her family is still part of the Amish community, but Kate took a different path after learning some hard lessons during the inexperience of her youth. She is now the police chief in the small Ohio town of Painters Mill. Her background aids her work in Amish country, and it is the exact reason she has been called in to assist on this new investigation outside her county.
John Tomasetti, also involved in law enforcement as a State Agent, has become more than a friend since they worked together on a murder case a little over a year ago. They never let their attraction for one another interfere with that case, but eventually their friendship went from agitated acquaintances to just friends or co-workers to lovers. Tomasetti was recovering from the loss of his wife and his children when they first met, and if truth be told, it may be a long time before he gets over the murder of his family.
Having both experienced tragedy and facing it often in their careers, Kate and John make a good team, both on and off the job. It still surprises Kate when John requests that she join the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation (BCI) in Cleveland as a consultant on his latest case. It’s unusual for a small town chief to consult, but her background as Amish-raised, and her ability to speak Pennsylvania Dutch, will be a huge asset when Amish teenagers go missing. Did they run off on their own, or is there a more sinister reason for their disappearance?
For those who love sweet Amish love stories, this isn’t one of them. The Amish life is well-depicted, but this book concentrates on what happens when the worst of human nature is set loose in a community that bases its lifestyle on faith and love. Your heart will break for the families of the missing, and you’ll fear for the teenagers who don’t realize that sowing their wild oats during “rumspringa” may be the last thing they’ll do.
I haven’t read the previous books in author Linda Castillo’s AMISH OHIO SERIES, but if GONE MISSING is an example of what they’re like, I’ll be reading the three I missed. Kate Burkholder is believable as a police chief and John Tomasetti is uber-sexy as a lover for Kate, but he’s also a strong back-up when she needs one. In truth, it feels very much like they draw strength from one another, personally and on the job. I’ve read several Amish mysteries, but this novel is rawer than I expected even though the language fits well with the harsh reality of the story. Kate’s co-workers are interesting, as well as eclectic, and Kate’s impressions of them add some fun to the narrative. I especially enjoyed Kate’s quirky dispatcher, Mona Kurtz, who epitomizes peculiar self-expression, as well as Officer Glock, who blazes across the page like a linebacker.
Linda Castillo is a master at doling out tidbits in small increments to snag your attention. This is the type of book you’ll want to gobble-up in one sitting. GONE MISSING is an excellent police detective story containing a thrilling suspense that’s gritty and unexpected. There’s passion between Kate and John, enough to interest romance lovers, but it’s the evil that will keep you turning the pages, hoping beyond hope someone can stop this madness affecting the purity of Amish life. This novel isn’t for the faint of heart ‒ its realism can make your skin crawl and it may not be the best book for a stormy night, unless you love the edgy suspense of a well-drawn thriller. The villain is despicable and unforeseen. Linda Castillo brilliantly led this reader down the path of shock and surprise. In the end, I’m definitely anxious for more of Kate Burkholder’s crime-solving, hopefully assisted by John Tomasetti. Top-notch suspense!
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