Tag Archives: Linda Castillo

My Musing ~ Among The Wicked by Linda Castillo

Among The Wicked by Linda Castillo is the 8th book in the “Kate Burkholder” thriller series. Publisher: Minotaur Books, July 2016

Among The WickedChief of Police Kate Burkholder is called upon by the sheriff’s department in rural, upstate New York to assist on a developing situation that involves a reclusive Amish settlement and the death of a young girl. Unable to penetrate the wall of silence between the Amish and “English” communities, the sheriff asks Kate to travel to New York, pose as an Amish woman, and infiltrate the community.

Kate’s long time love interest, State Agent John Tomasetti, is dead set against her taking on such an unorthodox assignment, knowing she’ll have limited communication – and even less in the way of backup. But Kate can’t turn her back, especially when the rumor mill boils with disturbing accounts of children in danger. She travels to New York where she’s briefed and assumes her new identity as a lone widow seeking a new life.

Kate infiltrates the community and goes deep under cover. In the coming days, she unearths a world built on secrets, a series of shocking crimes, and herself, alone… trapped in a fight for her life.

All it took was one sitting with a couple of breaks to finished this fast-paced and action-packed drama that had me engrossed in all that was happening from the moment Kate went up North. From the narrative of the author, I could feel the tension and apprehension that Kate felt as she dived into a dangerous situation with some unexpected developments. Who should she trust? Was she truly alone? Who is the mastermind? How will this end? The frenetic pulse of this intensifying and gripping story reached a crescendo that when it was all said and done, everything fell into place and the aftermath was worthy of the outcome. The author knows how to spin a brilliantly-written tale where the dialogue, the character’s role and the setting are pivotal to how well this story is told. This is a one of the best book in this compellingly riveting series and I’m looking forward to more exploits with Kate, John and the gang in Painters Mill, Ohio.

A Day in the Life with Kate Burkholder by Linda Castillo

The Dead Will TellNestled in the heart of Ohio’s Amish Country, Painters Mill reveals its bucolic splendor in soft layers that fall upon the senses in small, breathtaking increments. It’s a rural community teeming with hundred-year-old barns, shimmering cornfields, rolling pastures and lowland ponds alive with the jug-o-rum bellow of bullfrogs. I think of the years I spent in the city, estranged not only from my Amish roots but the pastoral beauty of my homeland, and I’m reminded of yet another reason why I came back.

My name is Kate Burkholder and I’m the chief of police of this pretty town with a population of just over five thousand, a third of which are Amish. Dusk is ushering in the darker shadows of nightfall. I’m in my Explorer idling through the covered bridge spanning Painters Creek when my police radio cracks to life. “Chief, I just took a 911 for a 10-14.”

I pick up my mike. “What kind of suspicious activity?”

“Duffy McGriff says someone’s kicking in the front door of the Paw Prints Vet Clinic.”

“Tell him to stay in his vehicle and lock the doors.” I reach the mouth of the bridge and, glancing in my rearview mirror, I make a U-turn on the gravel turnaround. “I’m 10-76.”

It takes me three minutes to reach the clinic on the edge of town. My strobe lights flash red and blue against the building’s façade as I pull into the parking lot. I spot Duffy’s vintage AMC Javelin a few yards away. He’s a pleasant fellow of about forty who owns an insurance agency down the street from the police station.

I’m getting out of my vehicle when one of my off-duty officers, T.J. Banks, pulls in behind me. “That was quick,” I tell him.

“I was on my way to the grocery and heard the call on the radio,” he says. “Need a hand?”

“You armed?”

“Never leave home without it.”

I motion toward the clinic. “Check the front door while I talk to Duffy.”

“Sure thing, Chief.”

I start toward Duffy. “You okay? What happened?”

“I was on my way home from my car club meeting—and I pulled into the parking lot here to turn around because I forgot ice cream for the kids, and I saw some dude kicking in the door.”

“Did you get a look at him?”

“Too dark to see much. Looked kind of scrawny, I guess.”

That could describe half the men living in Painters Mill, but I appreciate the information nonetheless. “Any idea which way he went?”

“He ran into those woods.” He points toward the wooded area south of the lot. “If he was breaking in, you’d think he’d at least go around back where no one would see him.”

“Probably after drugs,” I mutter. “Those kinds of people aren’t known for their keen intelligence.”

I don’t know for a fact that Doc Williams stores drugs at the clinic, but the possibility makes it an attractive target for someone looking to get high or score some quick cash.

“You mind if I take off?” Duffy asks. “I’d like to get that ice cream before the carry-out closes.”

“I’ll call you if I need anything else.” I extend my hand and we shake. “Thanks for calling us.”

“Any time, Chief.”

I check the front door and then go around to the back to find T.J. standing on the porch, the beam of his flashlight trained on the door. He looks up when I approach and shakes his head. “Looks like he tried the back door first and couldn’t get in, so he went around to the front.”

Kneeling, I look at the trim near the knob where deep gouges mar the wood. “Looks like he took a screwdriver to it.”

“If Duffy hadn’t pulled up when he did, he would have gained entry.”

“Pretty determined guy.” The hairs on my arms prickle as I scan the wooded area behind the building. “Lots of places to hide.”

“Too bad we don’t have a K-9 unit.”

“Let’s split up and have a look,” I tell him. “Keep your radio handy.”

Giving me a mock salute, T.J. starts toward the tree line to my left.

I go right. I’ve only gone a few yards when I’m startled by movement in the trees. At first I think it’s a deer, then I discern a human silhouette and the pale oval of a face peering out at me.

“Police Department!” I call out. “Do not move!”

I didn’t expect compliance, but I’m disappointed nonetheless when my suspect spins and disappears into the shadows.

I launch myself into a dead run, hitting my lapel mike. “Ten eighty! Suspect heading south! In pursuit!”

Then I’m in the woods, crashing through brush, running full out. My suspect is ten yards ahead, weaving through the trees like a black phantom. My arms pump in perfect time with the pound of my boots against the ground. “Police!” I shout. “Stop! Now!”

Abruptly, the woods open to a field. My quarry stops as if surprised by the sudden lack of cover and turns to look at me. In the dim light of the street lamp beyond, I get my first good look. Surprise rattles through me at the sight of a gray dress, sneakers and a gauzy white kapp. My suspect, I realize, is not only female, but Amish.

As she takes off across the field, all I can think is that she runs like damn cheetah . . .


You can read more about Kate in The Dead Will Tell, the sixth book in the “Kate Burkholder” mystery series, published by Minotaur. The first book in the series is Sworn To Silence. Books are available at retail and online booksellers.

GIVEAWAY
Comment on this post by 6 p.m. EST on July 17, and you will be entered for a chance to win a copy of THE DEAD WILL TELL. Two (2) lucky winners will be chosen at random. Unless specified, U.S. entries only.

Meet the author
Linda Castillo is the New York Times bestselling author of the Kate Burkholder novels, including Sworn to Silence, which was recently was adapted into a Lifetime Original Movie titled “An Amish Murder” starring Neve Campbell as Kate Burkholder. Castillo is the recipient of numerous industry awards including the Daphne du Maurier Award of Excellence, the Holt Medallion and a nomination for the RITA. In addition to writing, Castillo’s other passion is horses. She lives in Texas with her husband and is currently at work on her next novel.

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My Musing ~ The Dead Will Tell by Linda Castillo

The Dead Will TellThe Dead Will Tell by Linda Castillo is the sixth book in the Kate Burkholder thriller series. Publisher: Minotaur, July 2014

Everyone in Painters Mill knows the abandoned Hochstetler farm is haunted. But only a handful of the residents remember the terrible secrets lost in the muted/hushed whispers of time—and now death is stalking them, seemingly from the grave.

On a late-night shift, Chief of Police Kate Burkholder is called to the scene of an apparent suicide—an old man found hanging from the rafters in his dilapidated barn. But evidence quickly points to murder and Kate finds herself chasing a singularly difficult and elusive trail of evidence that somehow points back to the tragedy of that long ago incident. Meanwhile, Kate has moved in with state agent John Tomasetti and for the first time in so long, they’re both happy; a bliss quickly shattered when one of the men responsible for the murders of Tomasetti’s family four years ago is found not guilty, and walks away a free man. Will Tomasetti be pulled back to his own haunted past?

When a second man is found dead—also seemingly by his own hand—Kate discovers a link in the case that sends the investigation in a direction no one could imagine and revealing the horrifying truth of what really happened that terrible night thirty-five years ago, when an Amish father and his four children perished—and his young wife disappeared without a trace.

And, as Kate knows—the past never truly dies . . . in The Dead Will Tell by Linda Castillo

Wow and I’ll say it again, Wow! Linda delivered a fast-paced and action-filled drama that was both riveting and heart breaking as the story unfolded in front of my eyes. The author has a way with describing a scene with visual effects and dialogues that put me right there in the middle of all the action, rooting for the killer to be exposed. Linda did a great job in keeping me on my toes as to who was behind it all, but then that twist…oh so brilliant, and boy did I totally get immersed in everything that was happening. The side snippets of Kate’s personal life added to the enjoyment of this wonderfully executed tome. This is by far, the best book in this fabulously terrific series and I’m so happy to hear that the author is working on the next book because I can’t wait for my next trip to Painters Mill.

My Musing ~ Her Last Breath by Linda Castillo

Her Last BreathHer Last Breath by Linda Castillo is the fifth book in the “Kate Burkholder” thriller series. Publisher: Minotaur Books, June 2013

An extraordinarily beautiful Amish woman, a dangerous femme fatale, is the central figure in a story that reveals a dark side of Painters Mill and its seemingly perfect Amish world

A rainy night, an Amish father returning home with his three children, a speeding car hurtling toward them out of nowhere.

What at first seems like a tragic, but routine car accident suddenly takes on a more sinister cast as evidence emerges that nothing about the crash is accidental. But who would want to kill an Amish deacon and two of his children? He leaves behind a grieving widow and a young boy who clings to life in the intensive care wing of a hospital, unable to communicate. He may be the only one who knows what happened that night. Desperate to find out who killed her best friend’s husband and why, Kate begins to suspect she is not looking for a reckless drunk, but instead is on the trail of a cold blooded killer amid the residents of Painter’s Mill. It is a search that takes her on a chilling journey into the darkest reaches of the human heart and makes her question everything she has ever believed about the Amish culture into which she was born.

Strong, vulnerable and determined Kate is called to a devastating scene. Someone from the past; a best friend and turmoil enters their lives when Kate has to tell her the news, her husband and two children are dead. Meanwhile bones have been found and the past keeps haunting Kate as she hunts for a devious killer.

All I can say is “wow” at the emotions that was rolling throughout this killer of a thriller. This well-written drama captured my attention immediately as it quickly became a page-turner that was hard to put down. This was a non-stop and action-filled mystery which ratcheted the suspenseful nature to the hilt as I followed the clues along with Kate. The author did a good job in keeping me busy with all the clues and suspect with a few surprises, one of which I did not see coming and boy did it intensify when it was all played out. This is the best book in a series that gets better and better each year and I can’t wait to see what adventure awaits Kate and Tomasetti.

My Musing ~ Long Lost by Linda Castillo

Long LostLong Lost by Linda Castillo is a short story based on the “Kate Burkholder” thriller series. Publisher: Minotaur Books, May 2013

It’s autumn in Painters Mill, and Chief of Police Kate Burkholder and John Tomasetti are taking a much-needed vacation at a small bed and breakfast an hour outside of town. After closing a difficult case, they’re looking forward to some down time, but their relaxation is cut short by rumors that the old house where they’re staying is haunted by a girl who disappeared twenty years earlier, leaving nothing behind but some bloody clothes by the river and rumors of a volatile relationship. Swept up in the girl’s story, and a need for justice, Kate and John begin looking into the mysterious disappearance of Angela Blaine. They discover long-buried secrets—and unravel a mystery with an unexpected outcome.

Linda has done it again. She’s written a riveting story that had me quickly turning the pages as I had to know what happens next. Kate and John are at their best as they tackle a twenty-year mystery with surprising results. This was a great read with two of the strongest and intense characters I know and I eagerly await the next book after having read a sneak peek.

My Musing ~ Gone Missing by Linda Castillo

Gone Missing by Linda Castillo is the fourth book in the “Kate Burkholder” thriller series. Publisher: Minotaur Books, June 2012

Rumspringa is the time when Amish teens are allowed to experience life without the rules. It’s an exciting time of personal discovery and growth before committing to the church. But when a young teen disappears without a trace, the carefree fun comes to an abrupt and sinister end, and fear spreads through the community like a contagion.

A missing child is a nightmare to all parents, and never more so than in the Amish community, where family ties run deep. When the search for the presumed runaway turns up a dead body, the case quickly becomes a murder investigation. And Chief of Police Kate Burkholder knows that in order to solve this case, she will have to call upon everything she has to give not only as a cop, but as a woman whose own Amish roots run deep.

Kate and State Agent John Tomasetti delve into the lives of the missing teen and discover links to cold cases that may go back years. But will Kate piece together all the parts of this ominous puzzle in time to save the missing teen and the Amish community from a devastating fate? Or will she find herself locked in a fight to the death with a merciless killer?

You know when you read a good thriller and it wraps you into its world…well that is what Gone Missing has done for me. The intensity of this riveting story drew me in immediately and every adrenaline-rushing moment propelled me towards this suspenseful trek as the monster reared its ugly head. This drama was fast-moving as I could not put this book down. The writing is superb, making me one with Kate as she analyzed all the clues that were presented. The author did a tremendous in pulling in me and never letting me go until I turned that last page, wishing for more to come. Oh man, what a ride I had and I can’t wait for the next book in this fantastically awesome series.

Author Showcase ~ Gone Missing by Linda Castillo

Linda Castillo’s bestselling series has been called “gripping” [People] and “impossible to put down” [Bookpage] and the “teeth chattering suspense” [USA Today] continues with GONE MISSING—a deeply chilling novel about a rite of passage gone horribly wrong.

Rumspringa is the time when Amish teens are allowed to experience life without the rules. It’s an exciting time of personal discovery and growth before committing to the church. But when a young teen disappears without a trace, the carefree fun comes to an abrupt and sinister end, and fear spreads through the community like a contagion.

A missing child is a nightmare to all parents, and never more so than in the Amish community, where family ties run deep. When the search for the presumed runaway turns up a dead body, the case quickly becomes a murder investigation. And chief of Police Kate Burkholder knows that in order to solve this case she will have to call upon everything she has to give not only as a cop, but as a woman whose own Amish roots run deep.

Kate and state agent, John Tomasetti, delve into the lives of the missing teen and discover links to cold cases that may go back years. But will Kate piece together all the parts of this sinister puzzle in time to save the missing teen and the Amish community from a devastating fate? Or will she find herself locked in a fight to the death with a merciless killer?

Series: Kate Burkholder (Volume 4)
Publisher: Minotaur Books

** Thanks to St. Martin’s Press, I have two (2) copies of GONE MISSING to give away. Contest open to residents of the US only. Contest ends July 12. Leave a valid-email address with your comment. The book will be shipped directly from the publisher. **

About the author
New York Times bestselling author LINDA CASTILLO lives in Texas with her husband and is currently at work on her next book in this series, also set in Amish Country and featuring Chief of Police Kate Burkholder. Visit Linda at her www.lindacastillo.com to learn more.

You can also find Linda on Facebook and at MacMillan.

A Day In The Life Of Kate Burkholder by Linda Castillo

One might assume the crime rate in Ohio’s Amish Country is non-existent. Ninety nine percent of the time, that assumption would be correct. Most calls that come in to the Painters Mill police department consist of small infractions, like loose livestock or the occasional domestic dispute. Every now and then, the unfortunate serious crime occurs and it is then that all hell breaks loose.

On this particular day, chief of police Kate Burkholder’s day begins at midnight. With her department perpetually understaffed, she’s filling in for one of her officers and her shift might go something like this . . .

It’s a week before Christmas, and I’m sitting in my city-issue Explorer, looking out at the empty parking spaces along Main Street. Outside my window, giant red and white candy canes hang from the dozen or so lampposts that line both sides of the street. Farther down, tiny white lights blink in the darkened window of the Butterhorn Bakery. Some enterprising individual has wrapped the telephone pole with green and silver garland where dozens of letters to Santa from the elementary school kids flutter in the breeze. Cheesy, but I’ve got a soft spot for cheesy Christmas decorations.

My name is Kate Burkholder, and I’ve been the chief of police in Painters Mill for four years now—a first not only because I’m the first female chief, but because I was born Amish. When the previous chief retired, the town council approached me, believing I was the perfect candidate. Not only did I bring seven years of big city law enforcement experience to the table, but I’m intimately acquainted with the Amish culture, something they hoped would build a new level of trust between the Amish residents and “English” police. I’ve made progress, but it’s an ongoing process. The jury is still out on whether the six member council still believes I’m the perfect candidate. But then that’s small town politics for you.

My dispatcher’s voice crackles over the radio, pulling me from my reverie. Mona Kurtz is the second female to grace the male-dominated ranks of the department. She’s twenty-four-years old with a quirky personality and a wardrobe that’s almost as madcap as her hair. But she’s an asset to the department and damn good at what she does.

I hit my radio. “Hey, Mona. What’s up?”

“I just took a 911 from Lucy Mariposa out on Township Road 3. Says there’s a guy out there with an axe, chopping up her chickens.”
“He wearing boxer shorts and a hockey mask this time, too?”

Mona snorts. “She said he was nude, actually.”

“Nude, huh? I guess he’d better be careful with the axe.”

Lucy is our resident 911 “regular.” She calls like clockwork three times a week. “I’ll go check on her.” I sigh. “Kind of quiet tonight anyway.”

“T.J.’s already been out there twice this week.”

T.J. Banks is my usual graveyard shift officer, and the one I’m filling in for tonight. “I read his reports.”

“He thinks Lucy is going senile.”
“Happens to the best of us.”

Another snort. “Last time he was out there, she’d baked him a cake. German chocolate. How sweet is that?”

I smile. T.J. hadn’t included that in his report. “I’ll take a look around, make sure everyone’s okay.”

“Roger that.”

I rack the mike and put the Explorer in gear. I’m midway to the old Mariposa farm when Mona’s voice crackles over the radio. “Chief, I’ve got a 10-10 out at Miller’s Pond.”

A 10-10 is the code for a fight in progress. I snatch up the mike. “Copy that.”

“Two males. Teenagers. RP says they’re going at it like a couple of pitbulls, and it’s getting ugly.”

RP is copspeak for ‘reporting party.’ “Weapon?”

“No info on that, Chief.”
“You get names?”
“Cody Jackson. And James Haufmiller.”

The names aren’t familiar. “Run them through LEADS, will you?” LEADS is an acronym for the Law Enforcement Database System and will tell me if either party has a warrant or previous conviction.

“Sure thing.”

I hang a U-turn and hit the gas. “I’m 10-76. Will you give the sheriff’s office a call? See if they can send someone out there.”

“Roger that.”
“And let Lucy know I’m going to be a while.”
“I doubt she’ll mind, Chief.”


You can read more about Kate in BREAKING SILENCE, the third book in the “Kate Burkholder” thriller series.

Linda Castillo’s debut thriller, SWORN TO SILENCE, garnered starred reviews from Library Journal, Publisher’s Weekly, and Booklist—and spent four weeks on the extended New York Times bestseller list. The following books in the series, PRAY FOR SILENCE and BREAKING SILENCE, also hit the NYT list and became international bestsellers.

The Lifetime Movie Network has greenlighted the script for the SWORN TO SILENCE movie, which will feature actress Neve Campbell. The next book in her Kate Burkholder series, GONE MISSING, will be released in June 2012.

In her spare time, Linda enjoys trail riding, and dabbles in barrel racing. She resides in the Texas Panhandle with her husband, three dogs, a barn cat, and two Appaloosa horses. She’s currently at work on her next book, a thriller set in Amish Country and featuring Chief of Police Kate Burkholder and John Tomasetti. Visit Linda at www.lindacastillo.com.

** Thanks to the author, I have three (3) copies of SWORN TO SILENCE to give away. Contest open to residents of the US only. Contest ends December 21st. Leave a valid e-mail address with your comment. Book will be shipped directly from the author. **

Books are available at retail and online booksellers.

My Musing ~ Breaking Silence by Linda Castillo

Breaking Silence by Linda Castillo is the third book in the “Kate Burkholder” thriller series. Publisher: Minotaur Books, June 2011

The Slabaugh family are model Amish farmers, prosperous and hardworking, with four children and a happy extended family. When the parents and an uncle are found dead in their barn, it appears to be a gruesome accident: methane gas asphyxiation caused by a poorly ventilated cesspit. But in the course of a routine autopsy, the coroner discovers that one of the victims suffered a head wound before death—clearly, foul play was involved. But who would want to make orphans of the Slabaughs’ children? And is this murder somehow related to a recent string of shocking hate crimes against the Amish?

Having grown up Amish, Kate is determined to bring the killer to justice. Because the other series of attacks are designated hate crimes, the state sends in agent John Tomasetti, with whom Kate has a long and complex relationship. Together, they search for the link between the crimes—and uncover a dark secret at work beneath the placid surface of this idyllic Amish community.

Oh My! When Kate is called upon a gruesome scene, she feels connected to the children left behind. When it appears that the parents were murdered, Kate vows to find their murderer, this while dealing with a rash of hate crimes towards the Amish. I was fully immersed in this fast-action, page-turning and suspenseful drama that was hard to put down. A strong and conflicted heroine and riveting plot kept me guessing in this spine-tingling murder mystery and I blown away when the killer was revealed, especially since I did not see this one coming. This was an excellent thriller.