Castillo has created a gripping series about police chief Kate Burkholder, who was raised in an Amish community but left during her teens, which creates a constant tension between herself and the community but also an understanding of the people involved. Life in the farming area is vividly portrayed and both the sociological background and the physical setting add greatly to the mystery. The mystery is complicated but clearly plotted with a heart-stopping ending.
Called to an Amish farm in the middle of the night, Kate finds three adults dead. They appear to have fallen in a manure pit where they were quickly overcome by the gases. They leave four children behind, and at first it is considered a terrible accident, complicated only by the fact that the children’s uncle, the legal guardian, is no longer Amish so the community does not wish him to raise them. But soon a series of hate crimes targeting the Amish break out. Beatings, fires and deaths follow in quick succession and Kate has to ask herself if the family was killed by an accident after all. At the same time, her romance with John Tomasetti bumps along as they begin to share deep personal secrets with each other. (MINOTAUR, Jun., 336 pp., $14.00)