Book Review: After the Storm by Linda Castillo

After the StormAfter the Storm
A Kate Burkholder Novel #7
Linda Castillo
Minotaur Books, July 2015
ISBN 978-1-250-06156-0

From the publisher—

When a tornado tears through Painters Mill and unearths human remains, Chief of Police Kate Burkholder finds herself tasked with the responsibility of identifying the bones–and notifying the family. Evidence quickly emerges that the death was no accident and Kate finds herself plunged into a thirty year old case that takes her deep into the Amish community to which she once belonged.

Meanwhile, turmoil of an emotional and personal nature strikes at the very heart of Kate’s budding relationship with state agent John Tomasetti. A reality that strains their fragile new love to the breaking point and threatens the refuge they’ve built for themselves–and their future.

Under siege from an unknown assailant–and her own personal demons–Kate digs deep into the case only to discover proof of an unimaginable atrocity, a plethora of family secrets and the lengths to which people will go to protect their own.

Linda Castillo has become one of my favorite crime fiction writers largely because of her ability to so seamlessly blend a police procedural with the softer elements I expect to find in a soothing sort of mystery, not quite the coziest of the cozy but reflective of the gentle world I anticipate with the Amish community. Of course, they don’t live in a bubble, completely protected from bad things, but there’s no question their world is usually kinder than my own.

Kate is a lovely character and very complex with her Amish background and her determination to do right by these people while also upholding the law. She’s an intelligent, compassionate police chief but also a strong woman emotionally, not an easy target for those who oppose her, especially the Amish who believe she betrayed their trust when she left their way of life.

When a tornado touches down in the small town of Painters Mill, it leaves a path of destruction but also reveals a crime from the past, a murder that has been hidden for years. Investigating this cold case opens some old and very painful wounds but it also shows us how Kate’s faith in her department has built a solid team. That cohesiveness certainly works in their favor but can’t entirely prepare Kate and the others for the upheaval that is brought about by the discovery of the bones. At the same time, Kate and her lover, John, have their own issues to deal with, as intense as the homicide case.

I’m so comfortable with Kate and John and their small part of the universe and I love Kate’s interactions with the people she serves. After the Storm is one of the strongest entries in the series and I’m already eagerly looking forward to the next book. I just wish Ms. Castillo would write much faster 😉

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, July 2015.