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on 24 June 2013
Kate Burkholder series
* Sworn to Silence, Minotaur Books, 2009
* Pray for Silence, Minotaur Books, 2010
* Breaking Silence, Minotaur Books, 2011
* Gone Missing, Minotaur Books, 2012
* Her Last Breath, Minotaur Books, 2013
I have been following this series since book 1 and I think that this is the best one yet. While this book can be read as a standalone, I DO recommend that you eventually read the others, just to fill in some of the blanks you may encounter. Ms Castillo is such a wonderful author and understands the importance of back-story so well that you will have no problems understanding who is who and what is what in this series.

This book starts out with a horrific buggy crash - a car or truck coming out of nowhere plows into a buggy carrying most of an Amish family (three children and the father) all but one die at the scene. The author paints such a vivid word picture that I found myself getting sick to my stomach during some parts of this scene. This was a horrific hit-and-run accident...or was it really?

Along with this story, there is a second story going on that deals with Kate's childhood, a murder that occurred when Kate was 14 and some of the reasons she may have left the Amish faith. Her lover, John Tomasetti becomes more involved in this secondary plot and that may not bode well for them as a couple in coming books, but I have faith in Ms. Castillo's vision for this series.

This exceptional mystery had me guessing right until the last. I think my jaw actually dropped open and hit my chest when things were eventually revealed and circumstances are played out.
The characters each have their own voice, are multi-dimensional (even tertiary characters) and complex. Kate is a wonderful character that makes mistakes and is still paying for past ones, she is strong and kick-butt, but is not afraid to ask for help. She has flaws and that is such a relief to read. I am so tired of the `perfect star' of so many series.

The plot is complex yet when you get to the denouement, you find yourself wondering just how you missed so many clues. It will prove to you just how complicated and difficult a police officers' job really is. Everything is written so very realistically.

This book was a true page-turner and this series is one that you will most likely find yourself re-reading a few times.
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on 23 June 2013
... since her first book about Chief Kate Burkholder I am really a big fan of Linda Castillo. But yet in the 4.th book Gone Missing (Kate Burkholder 4) I missed something... I couldn't put my finger on it...
The Amish "magic" had lost a bit its spell - so I hoped for something better this time. But the outstanding qualities of the first books are fading a bit out...
OK, later more to this.

One rainy night, an Amish deacon with his three children is driving his buggy home from an appointment at the local clinic. All the children are suffering from a - in normal circumstances very rare - but in Amish communities more often found, genetic illness. They have special needs. From the right comes a car at very high speed and bangs the horse, the buggy and its passenger into oblivion. Paul Borntrager and two of his children remain dead on the tarmac. David, the eldest son, is speeded to the hospital for an emergency operation.
What at first seems like a tragic, but routine car/buggy accident was a coldly planned and executed killing, as the emerging evidence is showing. But who would want to kill an Amish deacon his children? Someone obviously did!

Kate is Chief of Police of Painters Mill where she grew up Amish, but has left the faith, so many people she once knew well avoid her now. The most interesting about those books was always the view into a life that not too many people can understand - the Amish Way. Now this sinister "non-accident" involves Kate's best childhood girlfriend, Mattie. Who is griefing and keeps herself upright only with the help of other Amish women - who almost all hate Kate, who "will burn in hell"!

Now Kate has to put the parts of the puzzle together, which isn't easy. As she struggles with the case, Kate is also troubled by her relationship with John Tomasetti, an other law enforcement officer. Kate is finding herself falling in love with him while resisting it at the same time. And when decade-old bones are found in a deserted property, a crime from Katie's past starts to emerge. And she has to fight about her professional integrity, too...

This was a very interesting thriller. I simply couldn't put it down and so I read it in one night. It is full of suspense and it was a bit of a surprise how the story evolves. The only two things which disturbed the pleasure were:
a.) that Kate has to take more hits and fight more fights and has to save herself out of almost impossible situations in the progression of the case than Superwoman
b.) the whining about the troubled pasts of her and John - those "I want You, but... - no, let's leave it how it is..." thing was a bit stressing for me.

For those reasons - my pesonal objections - I gave only a 4 Stars-Rating, but tenting to 5... :)
For You, who see it maybe in an other way - this may be a plain 5-Star thriller.
I am yet awaiting the next Kate-Burkholder-Thiller!
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on 6 September 2013
After the disappointment of her last book in this series, I was wary about buying another but it this was unfounded, back to her usual brilliant self. This book engages you from page one, right through to the very last page. A brilliant and gripping read with an unexpected ending !!
Recommended
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This series is set in the Amish community and features Kate Burkholder who is the ex-Amish Chief of Police. It makes for interesting reading for those of us who know little about this way of life and how it interacts with the mainstream but the author never forgets that she is writing crime and suspense fiction and so the story is very much plot based. This is not the first of these books and if you haven't read the others in teh series I advise you to do so but I think that you could read this as a stand alone.

The story commences with a terrible accident involving an Amish buggy and nearly wiping out a whole family. Investigation shows that this may not be as much of an accident as it first appears. The book treats the incident as the centre of the novel and we follow the investigation all the way through as the police begin to piece together what has happened. An incident from Kate's childhood also becomes important - it has been referred to before but here it appears that things are starting to come to light which may endanger her in the future. The other strand of the book is the continuing development of the relationship between Kate and her lover John Tomasetti - both of them are very damaged people who find it difficult to trust.

The investigation is interesting and there is lots of action in this book. There is one moment where Kate does some investigation on her own where you want to scream at her for doing something so risky and cliched but otherwise this is a very engaging story. The conclusion to the main mystery may surprise you but actually makes perfect sense when it is explained. Some parts of the story remain unfinished and I assume that there will be further books in the series to continue these threads.

This is intelligent and interesting crime writing set in an unusual community which the author explores well and which really adds to the enjoyment.
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on 26 June 2013
When Kate Burkenholder is called to a traffic accident, the last thing she expects is for it to bring her back to her past as it involves the family of her childhood friend Mattie who she's not seen since she left the Amish community.

Mattie's husband Paul had been driving their horse and buggy when he was run off the road by a hit and run drive which killed him and two of his children but a third child miraculously survives. But the more that Kate and her police force look into the crash, the more it's looking likely that this was no accident. But why would someone want to kill them?

In this book we also see Kate struggling with the developments in her relationship with fellow law officer John Tomasetti, as well as her having to deal with evidence from a horrific event in her past that threatens her whole livelihood.

Despite Her Last Breath being the fifth book in the Kate Burkholder series from Linda Castillo, it can be read on its own as I've not read the other books beforehand. But saying that there were a few mentions to an event which I assume was in a previous book so it certainly wouldn't hurt to read them first to know what it was about.

I loved this book from start to finish and if I hadn't had to go out to work, I'm sure I would have devoured it in one sitting. And although I had partially figured out the ending this was not till almost at the end so was suspenseful until that time, and even then I didn't get it completely right!

I think one of the reasons I enjoyed this book so much, and will enjoy the rest of the books in the series as I've now bought the previous four of them, is because I have had a fascination with the Amish community ever since I saw a documentary on them once. I can't believe they manage to exist without the modern day technology that we all take for granted!
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on 23 November 2013
This book is centred on the American town of Painters Mill with its a sizeable Amish Community. Sheriff, Kate Burkholder, a former Amish, has to deal with what seems like a routine but tragic accident - a speeding car hitting an Amish buggy, killing a deacon and his children. The investigation reveals that this isn't a drunken hit and run and to make things even more complicated, a hidden episode from Burkholder's past comes to light, threatening the life she has built for herself since leaving the Amish many years ago. I felt there was so much that was genuinely appealing about this novel; the small community setting, the Amish angle and that the motive for the crime turns out to be the one of the oldest ones of all
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on 10 August 2015
Katie Burkholder is Painters Mill's chief of police and, is investigating a hit and run accident that killed a father and two of the three children that were travelling with him.It soon becomes evident that it was no accident, but who would want to kill an innocent Amish family?
I love this series of books by Linda Castillo.What makes Katie different from all the other fictional detectives is her Amish background. The plain life that the Amish residents of Painters Mill choose to live makes the crimes Katie solves stand out from the rest. They can be read as stand alone's, but I highly recommend reading them in order to understand Katie's story.
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on 1 July 2013
From the first page you are transported into the world of Kate Burkholder. It becomes impossible to put this book down as the story unfolds and once again Linda Castillo has you hooked. I have read all of the Burkholder books and this has to be one of my favourites because we finally get a look at the true Kate. I love the way she and Tomisetti's relationship takes a good part of the book, along with the gripping storyline. I hope we see more of Kate Burkholder but I wonder if Linda Castillo has seen this as an opportunity to close the book on her. I so hope not I for one can't wait for number 6 ..............
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on 2 June 2014
Very, very repetitive style. The phrase 'I feel too much for these people, because I was one too...' every 3 minutes fills out the thin plot. Here is a much better ending, if you've finished the book:-

* * * Plot spoiler * * * better ending!

The doctor persuades the Amish wife to get pregnant by him to avoid having more children with the genetic disorder. He becomes obsessed with her and did the crime.

Revealing the woman as a psychopath is such a lazy ending.
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on 25 November 2013
Not sure if I'm really into these books now.Its feels like the characters have run out of steam,and the stories are tired.
Linda Castillo is a good writer,and the writing quality is good,it's just the content of the story that needs refreshing.
I got bored with the whole romantic relationship between the main characters,and I kept wondering how unlucky this Amish community was,to have so much crime,and so many lunatics in its midst.
But in saying that,I've read worse
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