Series: Kate Burkholder #9
Published by Minotaur Books on July 11th 2017
FINAL DECISION: A strong mystery made important by the personal emotional journey of Kate makes this book compelling. The force of the book comes not only from the twisty mystery but also the strength of Kate’s emotional involvement. Plus some sweet time with John.
THE STORY: As this story begins, the series heroine Kate Burkholder is still the chief of police of her small town in Amish country. She receives notification that a man, Joseph King as escaped from prison. An Amish man convicted of murdering his wife, police believe there is possibility he will come for his five children who are living in Kate’s jurisdiction. Kate knows Joseph King. He was her first crush when the two were children but they haven’t seen one another since Kate was fourteen. When she is ambushed by King, who has taken his children hostage, she hears a tale of a man who claims he did not murder his wife but was framed. At first, Kate doesn’t believe anything King says until things begin to seem strange in the supposedly straightforward story.
OPINION: This book proves what I believe about this series — the best stories are ones where Kate is personally connected and invested in the outcome. While the mystery is good on any level, her personal connection, the struggles the investigation causes for her are what kept me reading this book.
This case tests Kate on both a personal and a professional level. Kate has so little space for innocence in her life that the corruption of one of her sweet childhood memories challenges her. Her adult cop skepticism and her belief in her childhood friend clash dramatically as she struggles to reconcile what she knows the truth is and what her intuition tells her. The complication here is that her police intuition keeps taking her in different directions.
The fascinating thing here is that this book is also a journey of innocence, loss of innocence and holding on to something pure in the past. Although the lives of all those children have become more complicated, more nuanced and less pure and innocent, something of those people still remains in the adults they have become.
I don’t want to discuss any of the particulars of the mystery since that is the central part of the story, but I really enjoyed the interaction between Kate and the Amish community here as she navigates her investigation. This book relies less on the Amish customs as a hook in the story. Indeed, this book is of the Amish community without being about the community. The story could have taken place anywhere with anyone.
There is a common theme of the dark underbelly of what appears innocent and good. This series often uses this in terms of the Amish community. The same appears here, but there is another twist that I really enjoyed.
This series continues to be a compelling read for me and I highly recommend it for those who love mystery with some romance on the side.
WORTH MENTIONING: Although this book isn’t classified as a romance, I’m still compelled by the romance between Kate and BCI State agent John Tomasetti continues to pull me in although there is little drama between them and thus less “screen time”.
CONNECTED BOOKS: DOWN A DARK ROAD is the ninth book in the Kate Burkholder series. This is a self-contained mystery novel but, of course, there are recurring characters and relationships secondary to the mystery. This book can be read as a standalone although it is better to be immersed in the overarching personal story as well.
STAR RATING: I give this book 4.5 stars.
NOTE: I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in order to provide a review. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.