Book Reviews: The Dead Will Tell by Linda Castillo and In the Blood by Lisa Unger—and a Giveaway!

The Dead Will TellThe Dead Will Tell
A Kate Burkholder Novel #6
Linda Castillo
Minotaur Books, July 2014
ISBN 978-1-250-02957-7

From the publisher—

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

An unsolved horrific crime from years ago seems to be connected to a new series of deaths but why? And is it possible the only surviving victim of that long-ago home invasion could be behind the current crimes?

Painters Mill certainly isn’t the kind of town where you’d normally come across crimes as dark as these but Kate Burkholder is determined to bring peace back to the small yet diverse community. If that means stirring up old emotions, so be it; vengeance may be at the heart of everything that’s happening but 35 years is a very long time to wait, isn’t it? Kate’s investigation begins to reveal  more than she could ever have anticipated and, in the end, she’ll be confronted with a murderer who’s as cold-blooded and twisted as she’s ever met.

Kate is a cop I’ve grown to admire more and more mostly because of her intelligence and her compassion but also because her Amish background colors her personality and her ability to do her job. Being police chief is never an easy position to be in but Kate takes it in stride and has truly earned the respect and devotion of her team. The job isn’t everything, though, and her relationship with John Tomasetti keeps her going in those inevitable dark moments.

Tomasetti has his own issues in The Dead Will Tell when he learns that one of the men who allegedly killed his own family has escaped the justice he so richly deserved and watching him and Kate struggle with this was as elemental to the story as Kate’s current investigation. Ms. Castillo is great at coming up with a plot that keeps the reader on edge but it’s her character development that really shines throughout each book. These two have become old friends I want to spend time with and I’ll be looking forward to our next encounter.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, July 2014.

Click here to listen to the first chapter of The Dead Will Tell.


In the Blood UngerIn the Blood
Lisa Unger
Pocket Books, July 2014
ISBN 978-1-4767-0823-2
Mass Market Paperback

From the publisher—

Someone knows Lana’s secret—and he’s dying to tell.

Lana Granger lives a life of lies. She has told so many lies about where she comes from and who she is that the truth is like a cloudy nightmare she can’t quite recall. About to graduate from college and with her trust fund almost tapped out, she takes a job babysitting a troubled boy named Luke. Expelled from schools all over the country, the manipulative young Luke is accustomed to controlling the people in his life. But, in Lana, he may have met his match. Or has Lana met hers?

When Lana’s closest friend, Beck, mysteriously disappears, Lana resumes her lying ways—to friends, to the police, to herself. The police have a lot of questions for Lana when the story about her where-abouts the night Beck disappeared doesn’t jibe with eyewitness accounts. Lana will do anything to hide the truth, but it might not be enough to keep her ominous secrets buried: someone else knows about Lana’s lies. And he’s dying to tell.

The trouble with lies is that they grow exponentially, seeming to take on a life of their own. Lana has lied so much and for so long that getting to the truth might be something like finding one’s way through a maze but the real question must be “Why?” Why does Lana lie and why does she continue to do so when finding her missing friend should make her want to be honest?

The manipulative Luke is one of the more disturbing children I’ve come across, probably because we don’t want to believe that our young can be evil. They can, of course—Ted Bundy and John Wayne Gacy were seemingly innocent boys at one time—and watching Luke in his determination to know Lana’s secrets is, for lack of a better word, creepy. The true creepiness, though, comes from the anonymous voice we hear alternating with Lana’s.

The unknown can be a truly frightening thing and Lisa Unger is a writer who turns simple thoughts and events into riveting psychological terror. In the Blood is one of her most intense studies of the human mind yet and, as a really good thriller writer will do, she kept me up at night, unable to sleep until that next page was turned…and the next and the next.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, July 2014.


To enter the drawing for a hardcover copy of
The Dead Will Tell by Linda Castillo and a mass
market paperback of In the Blood by Lisa Unger,
leave a comment below. The winning name will
be drawn Tuesday evening, July 8th.
This drawing is open to residents of
the US and Canada.




45 thoughts on “Book Reviews: The Dead Will Tell by Linda Castillo and In the Blood by Lisa Unger—and a Giveaway!

  1. I love a good mystery and the storyline of these books are telling me Read Me.
    Excellent reviews, thanks for the chance to win.

  2. We always enjoy reading Linda’s books and look forward to reading about Kate again. Thanks for the opportunity to win these books.

  3. Both of these books sound like amazing reads! Great reviews always get me excited to crack open a new book!

  4. I’ve read all of Linda’s books and enjoyed every one. This latest book is on my wish list. The Lisa Unger book sounds excellent. Looks like an author that I need to read. I see a comment from Sandra Parshall and she is a writer that I really enjoy and I read all of her books.

  5. Can’t wait to read the newest addition to the Kate Burkholder series! I plan on checking out Lisa Unger too! I just love summer reading! 🙂

  6. Already pre-ordered Lindas book – love them! May need to check out In The Blood as well, it sounds like a winner! Thanks!

  7. I love the combo of the thriller love story in the Kate Burkholder series. It is a wonderfully spicy mix. I am drawn to these types of books and will be adding Lisa Unger to my list. I look forward to reading these two books this summer.

  8. I can’t wait for The Dead Will Tell to come out. I have all the others in that series and they are on the top of my list for the best books written. Thanks Linda. Keep on writing.

  9. Thank you for the opportunity to obtain books from two wonderful authors, I’ve been enjoying Linda Castillo’s books since she started the Kate Burkholder series. Good luck !

  10. Wow! Sounds scary. . Particularly having a child sociopath spying on you. But a good counter perhaps to the lying that seemed a part of R. L. STEIN’S main characters psyche years ago, seeing how lying comes back to bite you. And the first storyline is really intriguing. Would love to win both books to get introduced to these two authors. Thanks for the chance!

  11. I can not wait to read The Dead Will Tell. I love the series . Being a Buckeye, I enjoy the Ohio setting since I live close to Amish Country. and go through there going to see my son in college in Cleveland. I have not read any of Lisa Unger’s books but it’s always nice to try a new author. Thanks for the chance.

  12. Castillo and Unger are two of my favorite writers—thanks for the opportunity to win a copy of their books!

  13. Absolutely love Kate Burkholder series by Linda Castillo. I am definitely going to have to try Lisa Unger’s book.

  14. Kate Burkhder is one of my favorite female characters. I have loved the entire Amish series, and eagerly look forward to this latest installment.
    Lisa Unger is a new author to me, and I’m looking forward to diving into a new set of books 🙂

  15. Both books sound like a must-read. The reviews make me want to go out and buy them. But the chance to win both books and become familiar with two writers new to me–on my birthday no less–sounds too good to pass up.

  16. Both of these books sound like ones I would really enjoy! I haven’t read either of these authors yet and would love to start with these two books! Thank you for the giveaway!!

  17. Linda Castillo’s books,especially Kate Burkholder series can not wait for the next book. I wood love to read one of Lisa Unger’s books

  18. They both sound excellent. Can one jump into the Castillo book without having read the others in this series?
    Thank you so much for getting the word out about these books and for making copies available to one lucky person.

  19. I’ve not had the opportunity to read either of these authors but they look like they are “my type” of writer. Thanks for the chance to sample their wares.

  20. Linda Castillo’s writing inspired me when I discovered romantic suspense well before her Amish mysteries. She gave me the incentive to pursue a writing career.

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