The peaceful town of Painters Mill is shattered when an Amish grandmother is brutally murdered on an abandoned farm. When Chief of Police Kate Burkholder arrives on the scene, she learns that the woman’s seven-year-old granddaughter is gone, abducted in plain sight. Kate knows time is against her—the longer the girl is missing, the less likely her safe return becomes. The girl’s family is a pillar of the Amish community, well-respected by all. But Kate soon realizes they’re keeping secrets—and the sins of their past may be coming back to haunt them. What are they hiding and why?
Kate’s investigation brings her to an isolated Old Order Amish settlement along the river, a community where family is everything and tradition is upheld with an iron fist. But the killer is close behind, drawing more victims into a twisted game of revenge. Left behind at each new crime scene are cryptic notes that lead Kate to a haunting and tragic secret. What she uncovers threatens to change everything she thought she knew about the family she’s fighting for, the Amish community as a whole—and her own beliefs.
As time to find the missing girl runs out, Kate faces a harrowing choice that will test her convictions and leave one family forever changed.
In the sleepy rural town of Painters Mill, Ohio, the Amish and "English" residents have lived side by side for two centuries. But sixteen years ago, a series of brutal murders shattered the peaceful farming community. In the aftermath of the violence, the town was left with a sense of fragility, a loss of innocence. Kate Burkholder, a young Amish girl, survived the terror of the Slaughterhouse Killer but came away from its brutality with the realization that she no longer belonged with the Amish.
Now, a wealth of experience later, Kate has been asked to return to Painters Mill as Chief of Police. Her Amish roots and big city law enforcement background make her the perfect candidate. She's certain she's come to terms with her past—until the first body is discovered in a snowy field. Kate vows to stop the killer before he strikes again. But to do so, she must betray both her family and her Amish past—and expose a dark secret that could destroy her.
It's autumn in Painters Mill, and Chief of Police Kate Burkholder and John Tomasetti are taking a much-needed vacation at a small bed and breakfast an hour outside of town. After closing a difficult case, they're looking forward to some down time, but their relaxation is cut short by rumors that the old house where they're staying is haunted by a girl who disappeared twenty years earlier, leaving nothing behind but some bloody clothes by the river and rumors of a volatile relationship. Swept up in the girl's story, and a need for justice, Kate and John begin looking into the mysterious disappearance of Angela Blaine. They discover long-buried secrets—and unravel a mystery with an unexpected outcome.
The little girl seems healthy and whole; but who would abandon her and why? Though the quilt and rattle could be purchased, Kate suspects the mother is Amish, possibly young and unmarried, both of which would be powerful motives for such a desperate act. With the rattle and the baby quilt as the only clues, Kate must call upon her own Amish roots, and with the help of state agent John Tomasetti, search the Amish and "English" communities of Painters Mill for clues to unravel the poignant, puzzling mystery.
After closing a difficult case, Kate Burkholder and John Tomasetti look forward to some down time, but their relaxation is cut short by rumors that the old house where they're staying is haunted by a girl who disappeared twenty years earlier, leaving nothing behind but some bloody clothes by the river and rumors of a volatile relationship. Swept up in the girl's story, and a need for justice, Kate and John begin looking into the mysterious disappearance.
A Hidden Secret
When a baby—only hours old—is discovered on the Amish bishop's front porch in Painter's Mill, Ohio, Chief of Police Kate Burkholder is called in to investigate. The newborn is swaddled in an Amish crib quilt, and the only other item found with the child is a hand-carved wood rattle, which Kate also recognizes as Amish. With the rattle and quilt as the only clues, Kate must call upon her own Amish roots, and with the help of state agent John Tomasetti, search the Amish and "English" communities of Painters Mill for clues to unravel the poignant, puzzling mystery.
Seeds of Deception
Readers get a glimpse into Chief of Police Kate Burkholder's past and her Amish roots: Fourteen year old Katie Burkholder has been tasked with picking apples in Zimmerman’s Orchard with her best friend Mattie when a group of older “English” boys, known troublemakers, interrupt. Mattie, no stranger to trouble herself, disappears into the old barn with one of the boys, and moments after they both run out, the Zimmerman’s barn is consumed by fire. Katie suspects the boy had something to do with the blaze, but he denies it. When the facts don’t add up, Katie begins her own investigation—and she doesn’t like what she finds. Will her friendship with Mattie survive the truth?
In Down a Dark Road, the electrifying new thriller in Linda Castillo's New York Times bestselling series, a convicted murderer is on the run and Chief of Police Kate Burkholder must catch him before he strikes again.
"Murder in Amish country has a certain added frisson, and Castillo’s the master of the genre.” —People magazine
“Castillo weaves the particularities of the Amish mindset into a complex mystery that will leave you crying with pity or seething with rage.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred)
Two years ago, Joseph King was convicted of murdering his wife and sentenced to life in prison. He was a “fallen” Amish man and a known drug user with a violent temper. Now King has escaped, and he’s headed for Painters Mill.
News of a murderer on the loose travels like wildfire, putting Chief of Police Kate Burkholder and her team of officers on edge. But this is personal for Kate. She grew up with Joseph King. As a thirteen year old Amish girl, she’d worshipped the ground he walked on. She never could have imagined the nightmare scenario that becomes reality when King shows up with a gun and takes his five children hostage at their Amish uncle’s farm. Armed and desperate, he has nothing left to lose.
Fearing for the safety of the children, Kate makes contact with King only to find herself trapped with a killer. Or is he? All King asks of her is to help him prove his innocence—and he releases her unharmed. Kate is skeptical, but when the facts and the evidence don’t align, she begins to wonder who she should trust. Spurned by some of her fellow cops, she embarks on her own investigation only to unearth an unspeakable secret—and someone who is willing to commit murder to keep it buried.
Moments later, the Zimmerman’s barn is consumed by fire. Katie suspects Billy had something to do with the blaze, but he denies it. When the facts don’t add up, Katie begins her own investigation—and she doesn’t like what she finds. Will her friendship with Mattie survive the truth?
Everyone in Painters Mill knows the abandoned Hochstetler farm is haunted. But only a handful of the residents remember the terrible secrets lost in the muted/hushed whispers of time—and now death is stalking them, seemingly from the grave.
On a late-night shift, Chief of Police Kate Burkholder is called to the scene of an apparent suicide—an old man found hanging from the rafters in his dilapidated barn. But evidence quickly points to murder and Kate finds herself chasing a singularly difficult and elusive trail of evidence that somehow points back to the tragedy of that long ago incident. Meanwhile, Kate has moved in with state agent John Tomasetti and for the first time in so long, they're both happy; a bliss quickly shattered when one of the men responsible for the murders of Tomasetti's family four years ago is found not guilty, and walks away a free man. Will Tomasetti be pulled back to his own haunted past?
When a second man is found dead—also seemingly by his own hand—Kate discovers a link in the case that sends the investigation in a direction no one could imagine and revealing the horrifying truth of what really happened that terrible night thirty-five years ago, when an Amish father and his four children perished—and his young wife disappeared without a trace.
And, as Kate knows—the past never truly dies . . . in The Dead Will Tell by Linda Castillo