Book Review: Among The Wicked by Linda Castillo

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RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

I am never disappointed when I get my hands on a Kate Burkholder story by Linda Castillo. Among The Wicked is the eighth book and there are three novellas. It is as strong as the first in the series! Ms. Castillo’s writing style pulls me in and keeps me reading as Kate suffers the trials and tribulations of solving another crime involving the Amish. The climax had me stunned with a great plot twist!

Police Chief Kate Burkholder is asked to go on leave in Painters Mill, OH and go undercover as a plain widow in an Amish community in upstate New York to discover what happened to a young Amish girl found frozen to death and the possible abuse of children. As Kate becomes familiar with the Amish of this community, she is puzzled by the extreme reverence and/or real fear of the families towards their Bishop. She becomes aware of disappearances, physical punishments and strange youth counselling by or with the blessing of Bishop Schrock which would never happen in any other Amish community.

Kate’s questions not only focus on the possible crimes in the community, but are self-directed as well. She and BCI Agent Frank Tomasetti’s personal lives are moving along well, but she misses the sense of community the Amish women experience. She has to deal with her feelings about her Amish roots, which need to be made without blinders to keep herself safe and alive in the present. The evil in this Amish community is more than anyone was expecting.

Thank you very much to St. Martin’s Press and Net Galley for giving me a free eARC in exchange for an honest review. I love Kate Burkholder!

Book Review: The Short Drop by Matthew FitzSimmons

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RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

The Short Drop by Matthew FitzSimmons has to be one of the best debut mystery/thrillers I have read in a very long time. Great suspense, a rapid pace and bad people who will send chills up your spine. I found it very difficult to put this story down to go to work!

The book starts on the ten year anniversary of the disappearance of at the time Senator Lombard’s daughter. He has risen to Vice President and is now running for his party’s nomination for President. Growing up, Gibson Vaughn was the son the Senator’s chief advisor and best friend with his daughter, Suzanne, whom he called ‘Bear’. Gibson’s life at the time of Suzanne’s disappearance was a disaster and he still blames himself for not being there for her. When a picture of Suzanne’s backpack appears, it sets into motion all the moving pieces of this plot into several explosive revelations and dead bodies.

The characters in this story are all extremely well developed, good and bad. The ‘short drop’ scene is intense.  The plot is tightly woven with several subplots that do not confuse the reader and are all answered by the end. I cannot recommend this book enough!

I want to thank Thomas & Mercer and Net Galley for allowing me to read for free the uncorrected proof of this debut novel in exchange for an honest review. I hope there are many more to come from this author!

 

Book Review: Things In Ditches by Jimmy Olsen

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RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

THINGS IN DITCHES by Jimmy Olsen is a murder mystery that had me savoring every quirky and eccentric small town character, feeling the cold of a Minnesota blizzard and sympathizing with the murder suspect. I thoroughly enjoyed Mr. Olsen’s writing style and the surprising twist at the end.

Philip “Dutch” Cleland is Willow River’s butcher and self-confessed murderer of the beautiful and naked corpse found in a ditch. Turn himself in, commit suicide or flee? I loved reading his decision making process and subsequent actions that follow.

Meanwhile, the very colorful cast of characters that are draw into the mystery had me turning the pages with a laugh or for worry about violence against them. You never knew what these characters had in store for them and it made reading this story so compelling. All of the characters are three dimensional and you could visualize them being truly alive and interacting in this small town.

This book has a plot that is full of twists and had me guessing throughout. The true ending in the epilogue was brilliant.

I highly recommend this book for anyone, not just mystery readers. I cannot thank Mr. Olsen enough for gifting me a copy of his book in exchange for an honest review. It was truly a book that I enjoyed on so many levels.