Bestselling author, Linda Castillo, released Gone Missing, her fourth crime fiction novel featuring formerly Amish woman, Kate Burkholder, on June 19. Castillo’s trademark talent is exposing the flaws of the often perceived, Simon-pure Amish community.
Kate, 33, is chief of police in the small town of Painters Mill, Ohio. Raised Amish, she left the order at eighteen to live as an Englischer. Fate produced a career in criminal justice, and a return to her hometown, despite being excommunicated from the church.
John Tomasetti, is an agent with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation in Cleveland. He asks Kate to consult on two cases involving missing Amish teenage girls, both from towns within a one hundred mile radius.
Kate seizes the opportunity to expand her professional comfort zone, ultimately anticipating the time she’ll spend with Tomasetti. The two have become part-time lovers; and as a reader, you wonder where their relationship is headed; “The long-distance aspect of our relationship has worked well for us. We’re too independent for anything too cozy. But I know that no matter how hard we try to keep things simple, relationships have a way of becoming complicated.”
The couple met a year-and-a-half ago while working on the Slaughterhouse Murders case, and each bares their own pain. Kate is haunted by the memory of being raped at 14: “I learned at a formative age that even on perfect, sunny days, bad things happen.” Tomasetti is scarred by the murder of his wife and two young daughters three years ago.
Are the Amish teen mysteries somehow connected? Could they be related to rumspringa?
Rumspringa is the time when Amish teens explore English ways of life and adults look the other way, before they join the church. It’s an exciting period of personal discovery and growth. Self-expression includes listening to music and dressing trendy. Some adolescents take it to the extreme, experimenting with alcohol, drugs, and sex. At least eighty percent of Amish teens return to the order and become baptized.
Kate’s fluency in Pennsylvania Dutch is an investigative asset when dealing with the Amish; and most are taken aback when she speaks in their tongue: “Guder mariye,” I say, bowing my head in respect as I bid them good morning.”
Consumed with the missing Amish teens investigation, Kate receives numerous calls from Painters Mill mayor, Augie Brock. His son Bradford, 17, was recently arrested for possession of weed, a meth pipe, and assaulting an officer. The mayor is determined to have Kate drop the charges, insisting Bradford will be ruined if convicted.
Castillo appeared at the Kent State University-Geauga County Campus June 25 during her Gone Missing book tour. She described traveling to Fredericktown, Ohio, her brother-in-law’s birthplace, in 2004. Already an accomplished romance writer, it was there she became inspired to juxtaposition the bucolic lifestyle of the Amish against brutal crime. Because, as she says, “Nobody’s perfect, not even the Amish.”
In Gone Missing, Castillo continues the series’ characters’ self-exploration and growth. If you’ve read Castillo’s previous books featuring Kate Burkholder, you’ve undoubtedly been waiting for her next adventure. If you’re new to Castillo’s narratives, dive in with Gone Missing. Three other entertaining, mysteries await your discovery.
For all things Amish, visit Amish America at: http://amishamerica.com/about.