When an Amish teenager disappears, it’s only the beginning . . .
‘Becca slogged through a deep drift and stumbled toward the front of the shanty. A padlock hung from the hasp, but it wasn’t engaged. Shaking with cold, she shoved open the door. The interior was dark and hushed. The air smelled of kerosene and fish. Out of the wind, it was so quiet she could hear the ice creaking beneath her feet.
Her breath puffing out in clouds of white vapour, she pulled out the candle and matches she’d brought from home and lit the wick. The light revealed a small interior with plywood walls and a shelf covered with fish blood and a smattering of silver scales. A lantern sat on the shelf. A coil of rope hung on the wall . . .’
Three teenagers have vanished from Ohio’s Amish country. The only thing they have in common, other than their religion, is they are keen to leave the Plain Life. Chief of Police Kate Burkholder is called in to consult by Agent John Tomasetti as her Amish roots will be invaluable in an investigation involving this sectarian society.
They travel to the small town of Monongahela Falls to investigate the latest disappearance – that of seventeen-year-old Annie King. The only evidence left behind is a satchel – and a pool of blood. The case moves closer to home for Kate when a young relative, Sadie Miller, vanishes. With her own past resonating, Kate delves into the lives of the missing teens. Soon, a sinister pattern emerges along with a vital clue that changes everything. While following up on a lead, Kate makes an appalling discovery and unearths a secret no one could have imagined—thrusting her into a fight to the death with a merciless killer.
Kate Burkholder's Amish heritage plays a huge role in bestseller Castillo's exciting fourth thriller featuring the Painters Mill, Ohio, police chief (after 2011's Breaking Silence). John Tomasetti of the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation, with whom Kate became intimate while working together on a previous case, asks her to consult on a statewide case involving missing Amish teens because of her knowledge of Amish language and customs. Soon after Kate hits the road, Tomasetti calls to alert her that 15-year-old Annie King of Buck Creek never returned home from a trip to the local vegetable stand. Kate joins investigators as they retrace Annie's route and find evidence of a crime scene. Kate starts to interview Amish families, while the National Crime Information Center and Violent Criminal Apprehension Program provide links to more possible cases. As relations between Kate and Tomasetti heat up, the investigation takes some bizarre turns. Castillo ratchets up the tension nicely before the disconcerting ending. Author tour.