Linda Castillo's novel is a hard-boiled detective book through and through. Kate Burkholder is a small-town police chief in a part of Ohio where there is a large Amish population. In fact, Kate grew up Amish. She decided not to continue that way of life when she turned 18. She was put under the bann and has had little contact with her family or Amish acquaintences since. She moved to Columbus and eventually found her way to the police academy. After several years, she ends up taking the police chief position in her home town. In the course of just a few days, three dead bodies have surfaced all indicating a serial murderer is on the loose. And it may just be a serial killer who preyed on the town 16 years ago. Secrets from Kate's past threaten to come to the surface as she fights to keep her job and figure out who the killer is.
I received this book from the LibraryThing Early Reviewer program. After completing it in nearly one day, I can see why I was matched to it. Not only have I read two mystery/fiction books with Amish culture at its core (Plain Truth/Jodi Picoult and Bubbles in Troube/Sarah Strohmeyer), but I have several detective novels in my library. This book was very reminiscent of Chelsea Cain's Heart Sick and Sweetheart books. So funny, I thought that to myself and when I was finished reading I took a look at the back cover of the book and their was a quote from Chelsea Cain about this book! :-)
I liked Castillo's descriptive writing, although there are some graphic scenes and the victims are all women who are very violently killed. If you do not like to read this sort of thing, then this may not be the book for you. The violence is not too overwhelming as the core of the book is about Kate. Her depiction is very interesting. Her struggle with coming to terms with her Amish background, her current English way of life and what happened to her as a teenager all make her a well-rounded intense character. She is also thrown into the investigation with John Tomasetti who is battling his own demons and the two make a good team. A little romance is thrown in there too. This appears to be the first in a planned series with Kate as the main character. I will definitely pick up any future books in this series.
If you like Chelsea Cain or hardcore detective novels, I highly recommend this one. It will be released June 23, 2009.