An extraordinarily beautiful Amish woman, a dangerous femme fatale, is the central figure in Linda Castillo's Her Last Breath, a story that reveals a dark side of Painter's Mill and its seemingly perfect Amish world.
A rainy night, an Amish father returning home with his three children, a speeding car hurtling toward them out of nowhere.
What at first seems like a tragic, but routine car accident suddenly takes on a more sinister cast as evidence emerges that nothing about the crash is accidental. But who would want to kill an Amish deacon and two of his children? He leaves behind a grieving widow and a young boy who clings to life in the intensive care wing of a hospital, unable to communicate. He may be the only one who knows what happened that night. Desperate to find out who killed her best friend’s husband and why, Kate begins to suspect she is not looking for a reckless drunk, but instead is on the trail of a cold blooded killer amid the residents of Painter's Mill. It is a search that takes her on a chilling journey into the darkest reaches of the human heart and makes her question everything she has ever believed about the Amish culture into which she was born.
©2013 Linda Castillo (P)2013 Macmillan Audio
"Bestseller Castillo’s fifth Amish thriller featuring Painters Mill, Ohio, police chief Katie Burkholder (after 2012’s Gone Missing,/i>) is a stunner.... Castillo once again displays her mastery of edge-of-your seat suspense." (Publishers Weekly)
When a new Linda Castillo audio book comes out, I buy it immediately -- then 'save' it, for some time in the future when I need the distraction of what I know will be a really really good book. This is an awesome series, every one of them a work of art, worthy of listening to again and again.
That Linda Castillo has major talent is proved in the opening scene in "Her Last Breath". It starts with an absolutely horrific incident -- a car slams into an Amish horse-drawn wagon, killing two special needs children and their father. Another child barely clings to life lying in the ditch. It's a terrible scene, agonizing in every respect, exceptionally well told. After I finished the book, I went back and listened to that opening scene again. What I found was Castillo was able to convey the unspeakable horror of the whole thing without a bit of gore, no descriptions of blood or guts, no undue pandering to the more sanguinary aspects of the carnage. Instead, she conveyed what happened with small but meaningful symbols -- a child's shoe, the utter silence. What a talent! Lesser authors would have gone for the quick and easy route of talking about the oceans of blood, the screams of the dying.. that Castillo didn't says an awful lot about her talent.
The characters in the series are especially interesting -- Linda Burckholder, the oft-embattled police chief of tiny Painters Mill, OH, was herself born Amish. Now she comes back to her home town as a secular, single woman, no longer embracing the Amish way of life, and is forced to deal with all of the people who knew her back when, before she left the church. There's resentment, there's some admiration, a smidgen of envy on the part of a younger character or two, but whatever, every situation Burckholder encounters is tinged by the last -- hers, theirs, their old days together. There's the pain of seeing her nephews and nieces, her brother's children, family she hardly knows. Her brother and his wife don't want their children 'damaged' by getting to know their lost aunt. In this book, the wife and mother of those killed was Linda's best friend growing up, a woman who is now also estranged from the secular Linda, so there's tension in that relationship. And Linda -- and her brother and sister -- have a secret all their own, one which nearly comes to a head in this installment. There's tension throughout, well beyond the issue of who it was who rammed into the Amish wagon that night.
Through it all, Castillo manages to treat the Amish as .... as people. People just like everyone else. There's no undue sympathy, no condescension, no holding them to higher (or lower) standards. Different as the Amish way of life is, that's not easy to do, but Castillo brings it off to perfection.
If you aren't reading this series already, you've got a treat ahead. I didn't listen to the first three in order, it doesn't make much difference, so start anywhere. Now I'm waiting for the next book -- again, to save it for when I really need it.
I thoroughly enjoyed "Her Last Breath". What I didn't enjoy was the spoiler in the descriptive! I purchased this audio book because I've listened to the others in the series. I intentionally avoided the synopsis because, too often, too much is revealed. I was halfway through this one - downloading part 2 - so thought it was safe to read the summary. Wrong!Who writes and edits these? I just don't get it. Though I certainly suspected the outcome, I like the "... is this the bad guy/girl...?" "... I think the author is trying to get me to think this.... but, I think...."After reading the summary, there was no thinking anymore, no mystery anymore. It was all right there in the opening line. The big reveal held no surprise.So again, great story, love this series .... I've learned my lesson, but I'd love to be able to read a book summary without worrying about knowing the ending before starting a book.
I love books!
First time author, sort of, saw a TV movie in the last year with the story written by this author, Linda Castillo, and it was interesting enough that I looked her up on audible and this book is the result. The premise is different, almost hokie, but it's of a gal who grew up Amish in western Ohio. She decides the Amish life isn't for her, which the other Amish don't like, and she leaves and becomes a police officer. Then 15 or so years later she gets hired as the police chief of her hometown. So, now, she knows all the Amish but since she left the faith they will talk to her if it's police business but won't if it's of a personal nature. Small town life at it's best, right? But, at its core this is a crime thriller, that's what the series is about, so this book has a brutal crime involving the Amish and Chief Kate has to work to solve it. With all this said, do you know what? The book was really good. The author got you involved in the characters, you empathize, and the investigative work keeps you guessing and involved and, of course, it had a surprising end. I'll get this author again.
I love how Linda Castillo writes murder mysteries & manages to put them into the Amish community. I never figure out who the murderer is. She always surprises me. Unfortunately I do not care for how Kate & Tomasetti's relationship is taking forever to progress. I wish Kate would give him a chance. It's been long enough! But I will continue reading this series. I can never put these books down.
I can't compare the audio of Her Last Breath with the print version because I do not have the print version. The audio as narrated by Kathleen McInerney could not be any better if I had read it myself. She portrays Kate Burkholder exactly as I imagined her.
It's hard to pick the best part of this story because the entire book was spellbinding. It was the most overall best in every category.
Well, of course, I have to say Kate Burkholder was and is my favorite character. She is totally amazing and believable. I also like Thomasetti for Kate. They go together like vinegar and oil but once shaken up they blend beautifully.
I wanted to listen to this book in one sitting but made myself stop and wait. I just did not want it to end. It was so incredibly suspenseful near the end that the hair on my neck literally stood on end.
Just hope this prolific writer keeps them coming. Can't get enough of the Burkholder books.
I have followed the series, so understood the ending, as well as other parts of the book that would appear 'issues' that aren't clearly explained. I recommend reading previous books before this one, so the ending doesn't appear so abrupt and fractured. I LOVED this story and look forward to another saga....There will be one, right?
This is a good enough story until the foulest language is spoken. Not sure why authors feel as though they have to inflect the language into their works. For me, it keeps me from enjoying the book.
I have read many, many Amish fiction stories and there are all rooted in their culture as this ones seems to be.
Just shame about the language which will keep me from reading this author again.
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