A Gathering of Secrets (Kate Burkholder #10) by Linda Castillo (5 out of 5)

This is Linda Castillo’s 10th Kate Burkholder book. I hadn’t even heard of Linda Castillo until I started working at Barbara’s. My previous decade-long book gig was at a corporation that found its bread, butter, and mayonnaise in a Paula Deen cookbook, Bible happy, Joyce Meyer loving clientele. AKA The South. They leaned on The New York Times quite a bit as well, come to think of it. New, debut authors and their works were not fostered in those walls. As a result, I spent many years discovering NYT authors, genre mysteries, and paperback Victorian romances. When in Alabama, read Alabaman (????). Starting at Barbara’s was a huge shock! Here was a family owned business where you could read whatever you liked, write reviews and feature them on a permanent fixture, and actually recommend them to customers! What a new concept for Corporate Bookstore Girl! One of the first books I came upon was the paperback of the first book in this series, Sworn To Silence. My best way of describing it was to tell the customers that it was a realistic mystery series set in Amish country. Not a cutesy pie series, but one marked with a tough, formerly Amish, female cop who knows the often secreted warts in the Amish community that sadly, often end, in tragedy. I would still describe it that way, although Burkholder and her partner John Tomasetti have both mellowed somewhat. Still a great series. The latest installment is no slouch in the whodunit department.

Kate Burkholder’s newest case is a true tragedy. 18-year old Daniel Gingerich is a well-liked young man in the community. Burkholder is called in to investigate a historic barn burning down in the middle of the night. Inside the barn is the body of the young man. Subsequent investigations show that the fire was set, and not only that, but it appears that it was rigged so he was trapped against his will. Kate, being a former Amish herself, is deeply troubled that someone sent this young man to his death. The investigation wields a path of revelations that point fingers in multiple directions, and the reveal that Daniel was not the saint most thought of him. The themes of sexual assault, the conspiracy of silence that blankets the Amish community, friendship and the paths it takes us down, and the dynamics of the mother-daughter relationship are paramount in this story. I liked what I always like, and that is the realistic chief of police Burkholder. But there’s the added bonus of new themes addressed in this book, the supporting cast, and more Tomasetti! It’s a heartbreaking story on many fronts, but the end makes sense and doesn’t wuss out. Linda Castillo writes novels that pull no punches, break hearts, but end up with a lot of heart. A surefire (puns not intended, I promise!) winner.

~ by generationgbooks on July 14, 2018.

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