Title: After the Storm Author: Linda Castillo Published: July 14th 2015 by Minotaur Books Format: Hardcover, Pgs 320 Genre: Fiction Series: Kate Burkholder #7
What started with a cordial luncheon with her brother and sister ends with a F3 tornado hitting the surrounding area and Chief Kate Burkholder springing into action with John Tomasetti at her side. Kate was excommunicate from her Amish family and her remaining siblings have a hard time with her decisions to live with John with no plans of a wedding in sight. They only slightly accept the fact that she is the police chief of Painters Mill, but living in sin is harder to tolerate, that goes against all that they believe in.
Right now that has to take a backseat as Kate rushes to aid the people of her community. A local trailer park has been decimated and in a split second decision, Kate rushes to the aid of a baby only to later question her actions. She loves her job, but days like this she second-guesses herself and wonders if there is something better out there that doesn’t hurt as much.
This tornado has not only destroyed lives it has also unearthed a skeleton. Since the bones had been disposed in a garbage bag and found in what was once a crawl space, Kate is unsure of the cause and/or manner of death. She now has a mystery on her hands. A mystery where she knows that if she cannot name the victim, finding his killer will be next to impossible. The forensic anthropologist has given her a few clues including a surgical implant and a diamond ring that ties in with the book’s prologue. What Kate was not prepared for was the autopsy findings that showed that both the hands and feet are missing and not just carted off by wildlife. The markings show that they had been chewed off. Is she now looking at a homicide or an accident that was covered up anywhere between ten and thirty years ago?
As Kate searches through the missing persons database from Holmes County that fits the vague perimeters that she has been given, two names jump out at her. They are of Amish families that have remained in the area. As she digs, Kate’s life is at risk. What was once covered up now will have a bright light shown on it and Kate is going to be paying a heavy price when all is said and done.
Years have passed, and when a life has been based on deceit, secrets and sins, the powder keg will blow and everyone standing in the way will eventually pay for the decisions that they had made. Each person has their breaking point, that one moment where they will right the past. That they will have to amend for their sins. It is at this point that Kate finally sees the full and clear picture of what a family has done to protect a loved one and to save their sole.
By the end, three cases were closed and none entailed a happy ending for anyone. Linda Castillo wove a tight story that kept the reader on the edge of their seat. From the beginning, the reader might have been able to guess at how one would end, but the depth of all was so intertwined that the full outcome was volatile. If you have a queasy stomach, I might veer away from this one, but if you can handle it, this is one of the best books that the author has written.