The Burning by Linda Castillo

The Burning Book Cover The Burning
Kate Burkholder
Linda Castillo
Minotaur Books
09 Jul 2024

Linda Castillo delivers another gripping installment in the Kate Burkholder series with this chilling mystery! We find Kate, newly a Chief of Police, pulled into a horrific case – a brutal murder with a disturbingly symbolic twist.

The victim, Amish man Milan Swanz, is found chained and burned alive. The close-lipped Amish community offers little help, forcing Kate to navigate a complex web of secrets and simmering tensions. As she investigates Swanz's troubled past and recent excommunication, a crucial question arises: Why are the Amish so reluctant to speak about him?

The case takes a personal turn when Kate's own brother becomes implicated, throwing her loyalties into question. But the danger doesn't stop there – a mysterious threat emerges, targeting Kate herself.

Castillo masterfully weaves suspense with cultural exploration. We delve into the often-unseen depths of Amish life, uncovering a hidden history that challenges everything Kate thought she knew about her community and her own roots.

This is a must-read for fans of the series and anyone who enjoys a well-crafted mystery with a unique setting. Buckle up for a thrilling ride as Kate races to uncover the truth before it's too late

I have received a free copy of the book for the purpose of this review from NetGalley. The links in this post contain affiliate code.

Pitch Dark by Paul Doiron

Pitch Dark Book Cover Pitch Dark
Mike Bowditch
Paul Doiron
25 Jun 202

Fans of the Warden Mike Bowditch series won't be disappointed with this one. We're back in the heart of the Maine woods, this time facing a chilling mystery and a whole lot of danger.

Newcomer Mark Redmond and his young daughter raise red flags for Bowditch. He decides to investigate, but a shocking murder throws everything into chaos. Now, Bowditch finds himself alone and unarmed in the wilderness, playing a deadly game of cat and mouse with a cunning fugitive.

The suspense is killer (pun intended!), and Doiron's writing makes you feel like you're right there with Bowditch. You'll be battling the harsh Maine elements and trying to stay one step ahead of his enemy. Bowditch is his usual resourceful and determined self, but the stakes are high. He needs to quickly sort friend from foe, even when alliances shift on a dime.

If you're looking for a thrilling read that will keep you guessing until the very end, Pitch Dark is a must-grab. Doiron delivers another winner, and I can't wait to see what Bowditch gets up to next!

I have received a free copy of the book for the purpose of this review from NetGalley. The links in this post contain affiliate code.

Locked room mystery, Agatha Christie style

Murder at Black Oaks Book Cover Murder at Black Oaks
Robin Lockwood
Philip Margolin
Minotaur Books
November 8, 2022

The author herself summarizes the story the best in the words of one of her characters: "Spooky mansion, escaped madman and locked room mystery". And for Robin Lockwood fans, this newest novel delivers all of those, and more, in a story full of twists and turns. Robin is invited to a dinner to remote mansion of an eccentric retired district attorney. The night is stormy, and Oregon-style mud slide makes return to civilization impossible. In that time, three people are murdered. How are those murders connected to each other and what they have to do with the curse hunting of the mansion? Or do they? You will have to find out for yourself.

I have received a free copy of the book for the purpose of this review from NetGalley. The links in this post contain affiliate code.

Murder in Amish county

The hidden one Book Cover The hidden one
Katie Burkholder
Linda Castillo
Macmillan Audio
05 Jul 2022

In "The Hidden One", the newest mystery by Linda Castillo, Chief of Police Katie Burkholder takes a trip to Pennsylvania’s Kishacoquillas Valley. Katie is asked by community elders to help prove innocence Jonas Bowman, who just happens to be her first teenage love. Jonas is accused of killing beloved bishop, whose remains were just found after over decade of being missing.

But who really was Ananias Stoltzfus?

I have received a free copy of the book for the purpose of this review from NetGalley. The links in this post contain affiliate code.

“Watcher in the Woods” by Kelley Armstrong

Watcher in the Woods Book Cover Watcher in the Woods
A Rockton Novel (Casey Duncan Novels Book 4)
Kelley Armstrong
Mystery, Thriller & Suspense
Minotaur Books
February 5, 2019

Kelly Armstrong is a Canadian writer, known for her series of fantasy and paranormal books.
"Watcher in the woods" is, however, not one of those. The Rocton series, with "Watcher in the woods" being fourth in the series, is a more reality-based suspense novel. No werewolves here.

The story happens in a small village in the middle of Canadian nowhere. There is an eerie atmosphere in the book, with hostiles and overall feeling of isolation, albeit on purpose. The story shows a couple serving as a police force for the outlaws' community pulled me in. The appearance and murder of US Marshall reveal plenty of secrets hidden by the community members, even if each one of them had to undergo careful screening before being brought to Rockton. The main characters have to sort it all out, meantime dealing with other communal issues and personal lives.

"Watcher in the woods" is a page turner, although at times I was getting lost among all the characters used to build the story. I enjoyed the unexpected bursts of humor in characters dialogs, a big plus for me. I was happy I reached for the book, even of the author outside my usual reading list.

I have received a free copy of the book for the purpose of this review from NetGalley. The links in this post contain affiliate code.

“Last Stop in Brooklyn” by Lawrence H. Levy

Last stop in Brooklyn Book Cover Last stop in Brooklyn
Mary Handley
Lawrence H. Levy
Mystery & Suspense
Broadway Books
January 9, 2018

It is hard to say "no" to a good mystery. While I am not a big fan, I have been known to read Anne Perry, so just the thought of picking up a period mystery was not discouraging. I went for "Last stop in Brooklyn".

The book tells a story of female private detective, Mary Handley. In this story, she works on two cases, one what looks like a marital infidelity and another, of an unfairly convicted immigrant. The world of New York richess like Rockefellers and Carnegies meets dark alleys of night and day entertainment of Coney Island. Terrorist attacks and ideology and serial killer, murdering prostitutes. With a dose of corrupted police and justice system. Really, an interesting combination of current social issues, set over 100 years ago. I guess some things are universal to humanity thought a history - and this was one of the messages you can take from the book.

Really, my only complaint about the "Last stop in Brooklyn" is that, while set in 1894, the story does not have the real feel of period novel. The language, the characters, it all feels too contemporary. Sure, if you doubt the authenticity of the facts, there is an "Author Note" at the end, explaining which facts were historical. And yes, you can imagine the Coney Island over 100 years ago, with non-existing buildings and atmosphere. Again, the characters, how they act and how they speak falls short.

I have received a free copy of the book for the purpose of this review from Blogging for books. The links in this post may contain affiliate codes.