Second Look: Linda Castillo’s GONE MISSING (Kate Burkholder #4)

Let me just say that I’ve been a huge fan of Castillo’s since her first Kate Burkholder novel, SWORN TO SILENCE was released in 2009.  I’ve always been a fan of mysteries, but adding the Amish lifestyle into the mix?  Well, how can you go wrong?  (A lot of ways, probably…but Castillo doesn’t!)

Title: Gone Missing
Author: Linda Castillo
Series: Kate Burkholder, #4
Release Date: June 2012
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
Age: Adult (17+)
Warnings: Does deal with some pretty harsh issues like torture.

Synopsis (MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS)
Chief of Police (and former Amish), Kate Burkholder travels from her home of Painters Mill, OH, to help Agent John Tomasetti and the BCI (That is, Bureau of Criminal Investigation) find missing Amish girls.  She’s called to BCI as a liason to help on the case.

Kate and Tomasetti travel in a 100-mile radius to local Amish towns to find out about the missing teen girls.  One thing is clear:  All the girls have something in common, they’re rebelling against the strict Amish lifestyle.  Could they simply be runaways?  Or has something else happened?

While investigating the disappearances, Kate (again) comes to terms with her own Amish background and the reasons she left the lifestyle.  This seems to be a prevailing theme in the books (but it’s helpful that she just didn’t brush it under the rug – so to speak – after SWORN TO SILENCE.  It gives the character more depth and consistency.)  Tomasetti also deals with his own demons of the murders of his two daughters and wife three years prior.  This case, more than any other, seems to hit him hard because of the age of the missing girls.

They have a few suspects: a church that openly declares their hatred of the Amish lifestyle, with a Reverend that attempts to convert Amish teens; a photographer who was up on criminal charges for taking pornographic images of Amish girls (without their consent); an ex-communicated Amish man who now helps those who wish to leave the Amish life.

Thoughts
I loved it.  I read it in two days.  (I know, I read fast to begin with.)  I couldn’t put it down.  The mystery gripped me immediately.  And Castillo’s writing is so clear and engaging.  I’m always immediately plunged into the middle of her novels.  I don’t want to wait to find out what happens!

The characters are fully realized.  Although it’s a series, each book gives us a little more about the main characters Kate and Tomasetti.  They have such tortured pasts, so it’s nice that we get a little bit of information with each book instead of having it piled on at once.  The novel focuses on the plot, moving it forward quickly and bring several twists and turns along the way.  In fact, even after you find out who’s responsible for the kidnappings and murders, you’re not done.  There’s ANOTHER twist that happens.  (I won’t tell you!)  I will say that this makes me want her next book, like, yesterday.

A definite summer read!  Especially for the beach or vacation.  While it’s a mystery/crime/thriller, it’s not extremely hard to follow as Castillo keeps her writing clear and fluid.

Rating… 9/10 stars.

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