Review: Gone Missing – Linda Castillo

4

gone-missing-linda-castillo-cover

Kate Burkholder #4

SYNOPSIS: 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?  – via Goodreads

GRADE 8Well, well, well. This was probably the first Kate Burkholder book that I enjoyed, for a multitude of reasons. For one, Burkholder herself was far less grating in this one, and less liquor and “poor me” helped immensely. Then there was the fact that there was actually some change and development in the relationship between her and Tomasetti. I also enjoyed the fact that, while she spoke for ages about the Amish again, it wasn’t nearly as bad in the other books, because they were not these amazingly perfect beings or anything like that. The story was also extremely interesting, a mystery I wanted to know more of, to figure out, and instead of wasting forever and six days going around in circles in the case as usual, Castillo lines this one up perfectly, and it keeps you hooked and engaged throughout. Man, it’s actually a really good story. Not too many bells and whistles, but it’s a goodie. I think another relief for me was that technically all this drama concerning the Amish was not taking place in Painter’s Mill for a change, because I maintain that, while Burkholder has been chief of police there for three years, for a small, idyllic little town, there is a lot of murder and mayhem concerning the Amish, which makes it unbelievable. Burkholder didn’t moan nearly as much as usual, and I only had flickerings of annoyance with her this time around, and it made for an overall better experience. As you can tell, I was more impressed with this book than I thought I would be. Picked it up because I was bored and just wanted something quick, and instead I found something quick and interesting, something I did not expect from Castillo’s Burkholder series. You can also read this out of sequence – might be better all round for a look at everything, but the book gives you enough information that if you don’t know (or have forgotten a lot, like me), you will still follow without issues. Worth a look see (just don’t judge it by the cover – gosh, that is bad).

Review: Breaking Silence – Linda Castillo

11

breaking silence cover

Kate Burkholder #3

SYNOPSIS: Police Chief Kate Burkholder is called to the scene of a horrific tragedy on a peaceful Amish farm.

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. – via Goodreads

GRADE 5So here I am. Back reading about this ex-Amish cop and all, and I was frustrated again. I understand she loves the Amish and their way of life and all, but a sick crime is a sick crime, not made worse because they are Amish, or that the case should affect her more because they are Amish, or because they are Amish that they are above other rules of the universe, or exempt from crime and pain and suffering, or that because they are people assholes will leave them alone. That has never applied to anyone. Also, Castillo’s writing style is still not something I enjoy, and I find it jarring, when she flips from writing about something happening with someone else, how it is described and all, and then it flips to Chief Burkholder, then it is first person, present tense. Disconcerting. Not only that, Kate Burkholder can manage to get sloshed on three shots of vodka and a beer. That must be great, imagine the money that could be saved! Anyhow, there were aspects of this book that were overly melodramatic, making it an absolute favourite of mine. Meh, as if I needed more of that. As I complained about for the last novel as well, the Amish community was milked dry for this. It is so annoying. Really. Plus dealing with the relationship with Tomasetti? Fine, but it is getting really old now. I maintain that Kate Burkholder is not a pleasant character, and being unable to identify with any aspect of her just makes this so much more a difficult read, and truly gets in the way of me caring about how she feels and what she is doing. There is also the problem that Painters Mill is a really small town but seems to be inundated with Amish hate crimes and murders. Seriously, how long can she keep this up and still call it a peaceful town? How did it all seem to happen now that she is police chief? I just don’t get it. Her work is really repetitive.

Completed Book Challenge 2014

11

completed book challenge

Another year, done and dusted! Here are the new books that I have made it through this year. I managed some rereads in between, but I cannot count those again. It was most enjoyable. Thanks to all who gave me recommendations that I got to, it was lovely!

1. The Fault In Our Stars – John Green

2. The Perfect Husband (FBI Profiler Series – Quincy #1) – Lisa Gardner

3. Sworn to Silence (Kate Burkholder #1) – Linda Castillo

4. One False Move – Alex Kava

5. Windmills of the Gods – Sidney Sheldon

6. Night Shift – Stephen King

7. The Third Victim (FBI Profiler Series – Quincy #2) – Lisa Gardner

8. The Goldfinch – Donna Tartt

9. Unseen (Georgia #5) – Karin Slaughter

10. Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn

11. Pray for Silence (Kate Burkholder #2) – Linda Castillo

12. The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower #1) – Stephen King

13. Horns – Joe Hill

14. The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky

15. An Abundance of Katherines – John Green

16. Mailman: A Novel – J Robert Lennon

17. Whitewash – Alex Kava

18. Shutter Island – Dennis Lehane

19. The Rolling Stones: 50 – Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts, and Ronnie Wood

20. Fight Club – Chuck Palahniuk

21. Will Grayson, Will Grayson – John Green & David Levithan

22. Drive – James Sallis

23. Looking for Alaska – John Green

24. Are You Afraid of the Dark? – Sidney Sheldon

25. The Silence of the Lambs (Hannibal Lecter #2) – Thomas Harris

26. Under the Knife – Tess Gerritsen

27. A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire #1) – George R.R. Martin

28. Dracula – Bram Stoker

29. Dead Until Dark (The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #1) – Charlaine Harris

30. Tell Me Your Dreams – Sidney Sheldon

 


 

That was the original challenge. I finished all of those and then decided to up it to fifty.

31. Living Dead in Dallas (The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #2) – Charlaine Harris

32. Paper Towns – John Green

33. Club Dead (The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #3) – Charlaine Harris

34. One Scream Away (Sheridan #1) – Kate Brady

35. Dead to the World (The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #4) – Charlaine Harris

36. Warm Bodies (Warm Bodies #1) – Isaac Marion

37. Dead as a Doornail (The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #5) – Charlaine Harris

38. Heart-Shaped Box – Joe Hill

39. Definitely Dead (The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #6) – Charlaine Harris

40. To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee

41. All Together Dead (The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #7) – Charlaine Harris

42. Cop Town – Karin Slaughter

43. From Dead to Worse (The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #8) – Charlaine Harris

44. The Bad Place – Dean Koontz

45. Dead and Gone (The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #9) – Charlaine Harris

46. A Drink Before The War (Kenzie & Gennaro #1) – Dennis Lehane

47. Dead in the Family (The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #10) – Charlaine Harris

48. The Villa – Nora Roberts

49. Dead Reckoning (The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #11) – Charlaine Harris

50. Darkness, Take My Hand (Kenzie & Gennaro #1) – Dennis Lehane

Well, there we have it folks. I know I have some recommendations that were given to me, they are on my list, they will most likely make the new year’s challenge 🙂 Thanks so much to everyone who read, commented and recommended, it is much appreciated!

Review: Pray for Silence – Linda Castillo

12

pray for silence cover

Kate Burkholder #2

SYNOPSIS: The Plank family moved from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, to join the small Amish community of Painters Mill less than a year ago and seemed the model of the Plain Life—until on a cold October night, the entire family of seven was found slaughtered on their farm. Police Chief Kate Burkholder and her small force have few clues, no motive, and no suspect. Formerly Amish herself, Kate is no stranger to the secrets the Amish keep from the English—and each other—but this crime is horribly out of the ordinary.

State agent John Tomasetti arrives on the scene to assist. He and Kate worked together on a previous case during which they began a volatile relationship. They soon realize the disturbing details of this case will test their emotional limits and force them to face demons from their own troubled pasts—and for Kate, a personal connection that is particularly hard to bear.

When she discovers a diary that belonged to one of the teenaged daughters, Kate is shocked to learn the girl kept some very dark secrets and may have been living a lurid double life. Who is the charismatic stranger who stole the young Amish girl’s heart? Could the brother—a man with a violent past, rejected and shunned by his family and the Amish community, have come to seek out revenge? As Kate’s outrage grows so does her resolve to find the killer and bring him to justice—even if it means putting herself in the line of fire. – via Goodreads

GRADE 4I just want to put it out there how absolutely this book grated on my nerves. So now that that is off my chest, I will begin. This is the second book in the Kate Burkholder series, and the last one, while not brilliant, was an alright read with a decent concept. I liked that Kate was excommunicated from the Amish society but still identified, etc. That was fine. The relationship that came up between her and Tomasetti didn’t irritate me, either, even though it was abrupt. It was fine. But then Pray For Silence happened. Castillo milked the Amish community for all they were worth and she made it extremely biased. I liked the Amish aspect in the Sworn To Silence, it was different for a change. But this time she harped on the community, no criticisms against them really and just continued about how it is the chosen way and all. I felt like I was reading a sermon written by a rebel at times. Bad things happen to everyone, it cannot just be worse because the victims are Amish, no matter how evil that statement makes me look, bad things happening to people are dreadful everywhere. Then there was her and Tomasetti. Which was fine the first time around, now it was forced and everything had to be so damn sexual and so much innuendo everywhere, it was highly annoying and worked on my nerves. Skid permanently seems to be the one destined to find the bad things. I must admit that I am not overly keen on her writing style. This book again felt like it was meandering about and not really progressing to anything at all but running in circles. Again her perpetrators were extremely obvious. Another thing that annoyed me was how there was permanently something that is vaguely bothering her but that she can never put her finger on. I mean seriously, not every break in a case is made like that. Tomasetti is again the hero… I must say, this was very much the same recipe as the last book but with a lot more irritation sown into it. Kate Burkholder is not a character that I can identify with and is rather unlikable, making it difficult to identify with her. She is nowhere near as complicated as she thinks, either, and I find her to be exceptionally weak and predictable, which is never a good sign for me. Overall I must say that I did not enjoy this read at all and I was just so happy when it was finally over. Makes me dread going on to the next book in the series…

Review: Sworn to Silence – Linda Castillo

11

sworn_to_silence linda castillo cover

Kate Burkholder #1

 

SYNOPSIS: When a serial killer strikes bucolic Painters Mill, Ohio, the killer’s signature -—Roman numerals ritualistically carved into each victim’s abdomen- —matches the MO of four unsolved murders from 16 years earlier. Police chief Kate Burkholder, who’s reluctant to dredge up the past, must keep secret that she knows why the old murders stopped. Not satisfied with the case’s progress, local politicos set up a multijurisdictional task force to assist, including a law-enforcement agent battling his own demons. The added scrutiny and the rising body count threaten to push the chief over the edge. Adept at creating characters with depth and nuance, Castillo smoothly integrates their backstories into a well-paced plot that illuminates the divide between the Amish and English worlds. – via Goodreads

GRADE 7I must say that I enjoyed this one quite a bit. It was nothing revolutionary, and it was disjointed in places, but not enough to throw you from the story. Sometimes it got a little like a dog chasing a tail, things being repeated over and over again, but at the same time there was a lot of interesting stuff going on. I liked that Kate Burkholder is ex-Amish (is that how you would put that?!) as well as a police chief, much more human and imperfect. She has quite a rough back story, though it annoyed me somewhat how Castillo carried on bringing it up, and eventually it wasn’t titillating reveals all over the show, but repetitive and slightly annoying sections mentioning the same thing that had been read a few times already. However, the story was pretty good, the crime scenes were brutal, there was not really much character development but they carried the story just fine. But never mind all that, from about halfway in, suddenly the book just catches you – much more tightly written, more comprehensive, not so much lull but a lot of punches being packed… definitely worth checking into for that. It was a pity I worked out rather quickly who the murderer was, though that didn’t really detract from seeing where the story would go. I liked this book and will definitely continue with the series, see how it progresses. This is definitely not a bad book or an author to try out if you are looking for something new!