Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Review: Gone Missing

Gone Missing
By Linda Castillo
Minotaur Books 2012
277 pages
Won from Nise of Under the Boardwalk

Gone Missing (Kate Burkholder, #4)

Kate Burkholder is the chief of police in a small town in Ohio. She works in two very different worlds - the modern town of Painter's Mill and the traditional Amish community that dwells within it. Kate grew up Amish, but left her church as a teenager, which gives her unique insight into the lives of both the Amish and the Englishers. When State Agent John Tomasetti asks her to assist on a case involving a missing Amish girl, Kate wonders if it is connected to the cold cases of other missing Amish teens. Are Amish teens enjoying rumspringa and then choosing a modern life or is something more sinister at work in this close community?

Gone Missing is the fourth novel by Castillo with Kate Burkholder as the protagonist. But this doesn't mean that it can't be read as a standalone. We get just enough information about Kate to understand how she works as a police officer, her history with the Amish people, and her growing relationship with Agent Tomasetti. As a character, Kate is very engaging. She is strong and self-assured, but has doubts too. She regrets the distance she has from her family, who are still Amish. She is invested in her relationship with Tomasetti, but unsure where it will go with two officers working difficult jobs in different towns. Her moments of hesitation with the people she loves balance out the tough demeanor necessary for her to succeed as a female police chief.

The mystery speeds along with a lot of tension and perfect pacing. The actual plot is interesting, but I wonder how plausible it is. Kate and John discover a dark side to the seemingly simple Amish life. When young people go through their rumspringa, they are allowed to partake in English life and experience the things that normal teens take for granted - blue jeans, driving, cell phones, cigarettes and drinking. Their choices lead to problems between the extremely conservative, religious, Amish people and their teenagers as they engage in behavior that is seen as a sin. This is a dark and very violent story. While I was very engaged, I have to wonder how many stories Castillo can come up with portraying the Amish people as villains.

Gone Missing is a fascinating mix between a gritty mystery novel and the stories of the Amish people that are so popular these days. Kate Burkholder is a great character and I am interested to see what else Castillo has in store for her. I am willing to overlook my skepticism about the amount of crime stories in an Amish community in order to enjoy an excellently paced mystery with a wonderful protagonist. 


  1. I'm sure I read one of the books in this series but I couldn't tell you which one! I wasn't a big fan but this isn't my normal genre.

    Hey, just saw your 24 hour read-a-thon button, yay!!

    1. I don't read a ton of mystery, but I find them good once in a while to mix things up. :)

      Yes, I am psyched for the readathon but I keep forgetting it is this weekend! Yikes!