Book Reviews

Book Review: A Simple Murder: A Kate Burkholder Short Story Collection

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New York Times bestselling author Linda Castillo is known as a “master of the genre” (People) for her pulse-pounding mystery series set in Amish country. Now, together for the first time in print, A Simple Murder features six original short stories starring whip-smart chief of police, Kate Burkholder.

While on vacation with her partner John Tomasetti in LONG LOST, Kate discovers that the old house where they’re staying is haunted by a girl who disappeared decades before…

An abandoned baby is discovered on the Amish bishop’s front porch in A HIDDEN SECRET, and Kate is called in to investigate.

SEEDS OF DECEPTION unearths the secrets of Kate Burkholder’s own Amish past―and lays the groundwork for her future career in law enforcement.

In the midst of a power outage in Painters Mill, a teenage girl is attacked at an Amish party in ONLY THE LUCKY.

IN DARK COMPANY is the story of an injured woman with amnesia who seeks Kate’s help in trying to remember her attacker’s identity…and her own.

IN PLAIN SIGHT leads Kate to what she believes is a straightforward hit-and-run accident―but she soon uncovers a story of teenage passion that may have led to attempted murder.

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My Thoughts

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To be honest, I was disappointed the story ended so suddenly. I was starting to form an attachment to the Bed and Breakfast and the story of what happened to the missing girl. Despite the story ending so soon, I was still enthralled by the story, the characters, and Castillo is really skilled at painting a really vivid image of the character’s surroundings. I also enjoyed finding the banter and relationship between the cops to be playful, growing, and the way they worked together showed respect.

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The more I read Linda Castillo, the more I want to check out what else she has written. I think I’ll be adding her to my authors to watch list. The second story was heartfelt and sad. Kate is called to investigate a baby abandoned on the bishop’s doorstep. The story was full of sadness, fear, and caused Kate to do some thinking of her own. What I love about Kate is that she’s level-headed, smart, and she is in tune with her emotions. I’m really enjoying learning more about Kate and John and how well they work together. And I’m wishing the best for the child abandoned and her family deeply affected.

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It was interesting to see Kate as a young girl still living with her family in an Amish community. I think this case especially probably developed Kate’s sense of right and wrong. Having to question your own friend and her actions wasn’t easy for her. I found that I was interested in what was going to happen, how she would side, and how her family would react. I was surprised by her decision.

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Alma is attacked at a party thrown by the Amish with English invited as well. As the power outage caused by a truck striking the tower causes a blackout, Kate has to navigate the dark while investigating the party. Without knowing about the girl, she’s worried that teenagers and alcohol will cause a big stir on top of the power outage. Let me tell you this story was messed up. I won’t give anything away other than to say, be careful who you trust. Dang. I really enjoy Kate and John’s fun banter.

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This short story had me on the edge of my seat. I really wanted to know what happened to this woman. The more I wanted to know, the more confused the story sounded from the woman. Kate did an amazing job and went out of her way to find out what happened to the woman who couldn’t remember who she was. I was a little shocked by the reveal. This one, I wanted to go on much longer. Though, I’m glad that I got to read it. I love when short stories leave you wanting a full-length novel.

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The last short story was full of excitement and intrigue. I found myself wondering what intentions people have in this world. Crazy to find that a situation like this brought out the truth in the wrong timing. Noah and Ashley have a crazy journey ahead and I like to think that Kate taught her a valuable lesson. I’m sad that the collection was over and I’ll be looking for more Linda Castillo books in the future.

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This was my first time reading Linda Castillo and I thoroughly enjoyed her writing style. I love Kate and John. I enjoyed these short stories and I’ll be adding Linda to my, Author to Watch list.

Until next time,


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