A Day in the Life with Kate Burkholder by Linda Castillo

The Dead Will TellNestled in the heart of Ohio’s Amish Country, Painters Mill reveals its bucolic splendor in soft layers that fall upon the senses in small, breathtaking increments. It’s a rural community teeming with hundred-year-old barns, shimmering cornfields, rolling pastures and lowland ponds alive with the jug-o-rum bellow of bullfrogs. I think of the years I spent in the city, estranged not only from my Amish roots but the pastoral beauty of my homeland, and I’m reminded of yet another reason why I came back.

My name is Kate Burkholder and I’m the chief of police of this pretty town with a population of just over five thousand, a third of which are Amish. Dusk is ushering in the darker shadows of nightfall. I’m in my Explorer idling through the covered bridge spanning Painters Creek when my police radio cracks to life. “Chief, I just took a 911 for a 10-14.”

I pick up my mike. “What kind of suspicious activity?”

“Duffy McGriff says someone’s kicking in the front door of the Paw Prints Vet Clinic.”

“Tell him to stay in his vehicle and lock the doors.” I reach the mouth of the bridge and, glancing in my rearview mirror, I make a U-turn on the gravel turnaround. “I’m 10-76.”

It takes me three minutes to reach the clinic on the edge of town. My strobe lights flash red and blue against the building’s façade as I pull into the parking lot. I spot Duffy’s vintage AMC Javelin a few yards away. He’s a pleasant fellow of about forty who owns an insurance agency down the street from the police station.

I’m getting out of my vehicle when one of my off-duty officers, T.J. Banks, pulls in behind me. “That was quick,” I tell him.

“I was on my way to the grocery and heard the call on the radio,” he says. “Need a hand?”

“You armed?”

“Never leave home without it.”

I motion toward the clinic. “Check the front door while I talk to Duffy.”

“Sure thing, Chief.”

I start toward Duffy. “You okay? What happened?”

“I was on my way home from my car club meeting—and I pulled into the parking lot here to turn around because I forgot ice cream for the kids, and I saw some dude kicking in the door.”

“Did you get a look at him?”

“Too dark to see much. Looked kind of scrawny, I guess.”

That could describe half the men living in Painters Mill, but I appreciate the information nonetheless. “Any idea which way he went?”

“He ran into those woods.” He points toward the wooded area south of the lot. “If he was breaking in, you’d think he’d at least go around back where no one would see him.”

“Probably after drugs,” I mutter. “Those kinds of people aren’t known for their keen intelligence.”

I don’t know for a fact that Doc Williams stores drugs at the clinic, but the possibility makes it an attractive target for someone looking to get high or score some quick cash.

“You mind if I take off?” Duffy asks. “I’d like to get that ice cream before the carry-out closes.”

“I’ll call you if I need anything else.” I extend my hand and we shake. “Thanks for calling us.”

“Any time, Chief.”

I check the front door and then go around to the back to find T.J. standing on the porch, the beam of his flashlight trained on the door. He looks up when I approach and shakes his head. “Looks like he tried the back door first and couldn’t get in, so he went around to the front.”

Kneeling, I look at the trim near the knob where deep gouges mar the wood. “Looks like he took a screwdriver to it.”

“If Duffy hadn’t pulled up when he did, he would have gained entry.”

“Pretty determined guy.” The hairs on my arms prickle as I scan the wooded area behind the building. “Lots of places to hide.”

“Too bad we don’t have a K-9 unit.”

“Let’s split up and have a look,” I tell him. “Keep your radio handy.”

Giving me a mock salute, T.J. starts toward the tree line to my left.

I go right. I’ve only gone a few yards when I’m startled by movement in the trees. At first I think it’s a deer, then I discern a human silhouette and the pale oval of a face peering out at me.

“Police Department!” I call out. “Do not move!”

I didn’t expect compliance, but I’m disappointed nonetheless when my suspect spins and disappears into the shadows.

I launch myself into a dead run, hitting my lapel mike. “Ten eighty! Suspect heading south! In pursuit!”

Then I’m in the woods, crashing through brush, running full out. My suspect is ten yards ahead, weaving through the trees like a black phantom. My arms pump in perfect time with the pound of my boots against the ground. “Police!” I shout. “Stop! Now!”

Abruptly, the woods open to a field. My quarry stops as if surprised by the sudden lack of cover and turns to look at me. In the dim light of the street lamp beyond, I get my first good look. Surprise rattles through me at the sight of a gray dress, sneakers and a gauzy white kapp. My suspect, I realize, is not only female, but Amish.

As she takes off across the field, all I can think is that she runs like damn cheetah . . .

You can read more about Kate in The Dead Will Tell, the sixth book in the “Kate Burkholder” mystery series, published by Minotaur. The first book in the series is Sworn To Silence. Books are available at retail and online booksellers.

Comment on this post by 6 p.m. EST on July 17, and you will be entered for a chance to win a copy of THE DEAD WILL TELL. Two (2) lucky winners will be chosen at random. Unless specified, U.S. entries only.

Meet the author
Linda Castillo is the New York Times bestselling author of the Kate Burkholder novels, including Sworn to Silence, which was recently was adapted into a Lifetime Original Movie titled “An Amish Murder” starring Neve Campbell as Kate Burkholder. Castillo is the recipient of numerous industry awards including the Daphne du Maurier Award of Excellence, the Holt Medallion and a nomination for the RITA. In addition to writing, Castillo’s other passion is horses. She lives in Texas with her husband and is currently at work on her next novel.

Website | Twitter | Facebook

Follow dru’s book musing on Facebook for posting about discounted books, giveaways and some of my reading musings.

77 responses to “A Day in the Life with Kate Burkholder by Linda Castillo

  1. I would love to win and read an Amish mystery. Didn’t see it coming. An Amish woman is the perp. I’ll bet she lived in that house at some point. If she lived there, why would she need a screwdriver to gouge the door open?? Something is going on. This one caught my interest immediately. Thanks for entering me.

  2. I love Castillo’s writing—thanks for the opportunity to win her latest book!

  3. Debbie Carnes

    I love Amish books and I’ve never seen one as a mystery, Would love to read this , mysteries are my favorite kind of books

  4. Sounds good to me!

  5. Becky Prazak

    Wow. How did I miss this series? But now that I found I will definitely be adding it to my collection.

  6. Well. An Amish woman trying to break into the vet’s? That’s intriguing.

  7. Jeannette T.

    One of my favorite authors.

  8. I’ve read all of this series and thoroughly enjoyed it. Looking forward to the next book.

  9. Tammy Courts

    I love your books! Wish I could have met you when you were in Kentucky! Thanks for the chance to win The Dead Will Tell!

  10. I love all your books. I’ve started tThe Sead will tell and can’t put it down. Keep up the great work!!!!!

  11. I love the character Kate Burkholder!!

  12. Diane Blaser

    Your books are on my Must read list…

  13. Count me in.

  14. Lisa Garrett

    I would love to read an Amish mystery!

  15. Karen Montijo

    Love the Kate Burkholder series!

  16. I have followed this series from the beginning. I love that Kate is so flawed, but keeps putting one foot in front of the other, and always tries to do the right thing, whatever it might cost her personally. I’m also fascinated by the cultural divide and by Kate’s coping with being an outsider.

  17. Linda’s books are amazing! I think what I like about them the most, is the setting is so close to home. She makes them sound so real. Once the books in hand I can not put it down, when finished can not wait for the next one. 🙂 happy reader here.

  18. Can’t wait to read this new book! Really hooked on your books!!

  19. I love this series…a little on the dark side, but great! Can’t wait to read this one.

  20. I can’t wait!!! One of my favorite book series!

  21. Awesome book. I can’t wait until #7 comes out. This is a great series with good character development through the series! Great job!

  22. Chris Bateman

    Wish I was in Painterd MIll shopping for a quilt.

  23. Holly Lindsay

    I just started The Dead Will Tell. So excited!!

  24. Can’t wait to read it!

  25. HUGE Linda Castillo fan! I love Kate Burkholder, such a wonderful, complicated character ❤

  26. I love this series! Finished the new one last night. Is this a teaser for the next one? I can’t wait!

  27. I’m from Ohio and interested in learning more about the Amish.

  28. This sounds like a great story and of course we already know it’s an excellent series. Please enter my name in the draw for the chance to win a copy.

  29. While driving through upstate NY this weekend, we passed many Amish businesses–including a Yoder’s Sheds. Then I read this book last night/this morning, and was amused by the mentions of the Yoder family in upstate NY. Love this series.

  30. Teresa Samples

    I had the pleasure of meeting you at the Grant County Public library and you have now got me hooked on your books. I am an OTR Truck Driver and I get audio when possible. I can’t wait too read the other books. I would love to win a copy of the book. Thanks again!

  31. One of my new favorite authors. Looking forward to her latest book!!

  32. this looks great. another of her books that will increase my reading speed~ i can’t read fast enough. gmg

  33. Silvia Feder

    “Teufliches Spiel” (Her last breath) is just in Germany. Always a pleasure to recommend and sell Lindas books at my shop! Looking forward to new adventures of Kate Buckholder

  34. So-o excited for the new book! Can’t wait to read it! 😀

  35. Regina Moore

    Love the Kate Burkeholder series

  36. I am always drawn so deeply into the books in this series. Living in an area with a large Amish population I am amazed at how little is known about the culture. The idea of a crime series overlapping the Amish and English worlds seems unbelievably interesting and a unique approach to Crime fiction. The way Chief Burkholder works within the Amish community on investigations keeps my interest piqued through the entire story. The books always seem to end too soon (Due to my inability to put them down once I start) and I anxiously await the next novel. Please keep them coming!!

  37. I would love to win this book. Is not my usual cozy but I grown to really like everyone in the series. I know there will be a big change in their life now.

  38. can’t wait to read it! one of the best running series out there.

  39. I love the idea of this series. The relationship between the Amish, former Amish and Englishers really adds another level of action to this suspenseful series. Will be looking for the movie version too. Of corse, I always think that the book is better than the movie version!! Would love to win this book!!

  40. Sherry Starr

    I would love to win this book! I have read every one of them.

  41. Donna Taylor

    Love this series. Can’t wait to read the book. Thanks for chance to win.

  42. donnactaylor

    Love this series. Can’t wait to read the book. Thanks for the chance to win.

  43. Sandy Larivee

    Love Linda’s books the stories are so suspenseful I can’t put the book down once I’ve started reading it.

  44. I hope more of your books are made into Lifetime Original Movies!

  45. Finishing today and it’s awesome. More Lifetime movies would be great

  46. Love this series! I usually devour these books in one sitting.

  47. Nancy Younger

    Can’t wait to read this!

  48. Love her writing and the series.

  49. Susan Green

    I love the Amish series. This series is especially good considering the locations are actually in the area that I live. This makes this series seem more real and captivating I would love to win one your books.

  50. Cynthia E. Blain

    Unfortunately, I don’t believe that I have read any of the first books in this series, but it does sound inviting.

  51. Allyssa Cusimano

    Love this series. Favorite author and series lately. Can’t get enough of the books….unfortunately for me the waiting list at the library has grown quite long. Anxious to read this!

  52. Stephanie Austin

    I love Linda’s Books about Kate Burkholder! Once I start reading, I can’t put it down and wait for the next one to come out! I am so excited to read The Dead Will Tell!

  53. Sounds like a great book, would love to read, good luck to all

  54. Can’t wait to read this book, I love her writing!!

  55. Love her books can’t wait to read this one too

  56. Debbie Martin

    Love Linda’s books…they are complex and the characters are believable!

  57. I loaded “Gone Missing” and “Her Last Breath” on my kindle for our road trip to Houston and Austin and finished both!!!! I love love Kate Burkholder and can’t wait to read about her next adventure!!!!

  58. LOVE! LOVE! LOVE! Linda Castillo and her Kate Burkholder Mystery Series!

  59. Sandy Fenwick

    I cant wait to read this book, love the kate burkholder series, Linda is such a great author, keep the books coming

  60. Love Kate Burkholder! Can’t wait to read this new one!!

  61. I love reading about amish mysteries. Looking forward to reading Linda’s books. I will add her other to my TBR list. elisanabby at gmail dot com

  62. Barbara Tobey

    I am intrigued and eager to read this one.

  63. Andrea Olson

    I love this series and how Kate gaps the bridge between the Amish and Englishers.

  64. I can’t wait to read another of Her books. They are a great weekend read. You won’t be able to put it down until you get to the end…and then you can’t wait until the next book in the series is published.

  65. Judy DeShaney

    There is no, “just another day”, in Painters Mill. Everyday is exciting, titillating, provocative, an amazing mystery! And I love everyday!

  66. love these books and this author..I especially enjoy the great bookmarks she sends out before new books. They are well used 🙂

  67. I find these mysteries with Amish ties to be interesting and have become hooked on them.

  68. This one sounds very interesting and I am looking forward to reading it. Thanks for the chance to win.

  69. Thank you so much for this giveaway!! Being disabled, money is extra tight, so if I could win this book instead of buying it, that would be amazing! (For financial reasons and the fact that I own way too many books already, I’m a huge library user. I only buy books I’ve either read before and loved so much I know I’ll re-read them multiple times, or books by authors whose entire body of work so far I’ve loved. Linda Castillo definitely falls into the latter category.)

  70. Thank you so much for this giveaway!! Being disabled, money is extra tight, so if I could win this book instead of buying it, that would be amazing! (For financial reasons and the fact that I own way too many books already, I’m a huge library user. I only buy books I’ve either read before and loved so much I know I’ll re-read them multiple times, or books by authors whose entire body of work so far I’ve loved. Linda Castillo definitely falls into the latter category.)

  71. thank you for the giveaway! my whole family loves linda castillo’s amish mystery series.

  72. Thank you so much for the giveaway!!! This would be the perfect beach read for my upcoming vacation. 🙂 🙂 🙂

  73. Hope I win.

  74. Anita Yancey

    It sounds like a really great book and I enjoy reading about the Amish. I am a big fan of Linda’s. Thanks for this chance to win it.

  75. I just recently found this author through my local library so I have a lot of reading to catch up on!This new book sounds fantastic.

  76. contest is closed.