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Kate Burkholder #9

Down a Dark Road

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Two years ago, Joseph King was convicted of murdering his wife and sentenced to life in prison. He was a “fallen” Amish man and a known drug user with a violent temper. Now King has escaped, and he’s headed for Painters Mill.

News of a murderer on the loose travels like wildfire, putting Chief of Police Kate Burkholder and her team of officers on edge. But this is personal for Kate. She grew up with Joseph King. As a thirteen year old Amish girl, she’d worshipped the ground he walked on. She never could have imagined the nightmare scenario that becomes reality when King shows up with a gun and takes his five children hostage at their Amish uncle’s farm. Armed and desperate, he has nothing left to lose.

Fearing for the safety of the children, Kate makes contact with King only to find herself trapped with a killer. Or is he? All King asks of her is to help him prove his innocence—and he releases her unharmed. Kate is skeptical, but when the facts and the evidence don’t align, she begins to wonder who she should trust. Spurned by some of her fellow cops, she embarks on her own investigation only to unearth an unspeakable secret—and someone who is willing to commit murder to keep it buried.

320 pages, Hardcover

First published July 11, 2017

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About the author

Linda Castillo

88 books4,841 followers
Linda Castillo is the author of the New York Times and USA Today bestselling Kate Burkholder mystery series, set in the world of the Amish. The first book, Sworn to Silence, 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 a nomination by the International Thriller Writers for Best Hardcover, a nomination for the Mystery Writers of America’s Sue Grafton Memorial Award, and a nomination for an “Audie Award” for best mystery audiobook. Her work has appeared on numerous bestseller lists and earned a spot on the Boston Globe’s shortlist for best crime novel.

In addition to writing, Castillo’s other passion is horses. She lives on a ranch in Texas with her husband, three Appaloosas, and two feisty, but loveable Blue Heelers.

She loves hearing from readers. Contact her at books@lindacastillo.com.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,242 reviews
Profile Image for Kaceey.
1,003 reviews3,516 followers
August 25, 2017
A fantastic addition to one of my absolute favorite series.

Joseph, an Amish father of five, is sent to prison for the murder of his wife. One year later he makes a daring escape to reunite with his children. Soon he crosses paths with his neighbor and childhood friend Kate Burkholder, now the police chief of Painters Mill. He desperately claims his innocence and pleads with her to look into the case and clear his name.

A very fast paced book that balances a great police procedural with a behind the scenes look at the Amish culture. The focus is on Kate's pursuit of finding the truth behind the murder. Even if that points back to Joseph! But there is also a revealing glimpse into Kate's childhood, growing up in an Amish family. Through flashbacks, we see her relationship with her siblings as well as her first crush on the boy next door!

I love this series, and this book was no exception. Unfortunately, I guessed most of it early on, but still enjoyed the entire story-line. I did find some of Kate's thinking and behavior a bit naive. After all, she’s the chief of police. Oh well, sometimes you just have to go with it and enjoy the ride!!

Looking forward to the next in the series! Definitely recommend for all fans of this series.

Copy received through Goodreads giveaway and Minotaur Books.
Profile Image for Mary Beth .
377 reviews1,593 followers
June 5, 2017


This is one of my favorite series! It is the nineth book in the Kate Burkholder Series. I have read every book in this series. This book was outstanding! Linda Castillo has done it again! Her ability to weave together the Amish life and "Englischers" into an interesting story and then throw a murder mystery in the midst is superb.

I love the characters in this series, especially Kate Burkholder. In this book the characters come to life, you actually care what happens to them. The author evokes different emotions and I just adored Sadie, the five year old. She was so mature for her age and was so smart. I really got emotional for the children.


In this, her ninth book in this series, we are introduced to Joe King who used to be a childhood friend and first crush. Eight years ago he was charged with killing his wife, Naomi, and sentenced to prison. However, at the start of the novel, he breaks free and is holed up in his relatives' house with his five children. As all hell breaks lose, Kate tries to use her personal connection with him to solve the issues without any fatalities. He insists he did not kill his wife and begs her to help uncover the truth. But what really is the truth?

The book has insight on Kate's past that helped the reader understand just a bit more about this complex character. As each book is written another layer unravels and at the same time the characters are developing a more detailed and robust storyline. I can't wait till the next one. I love how the author uses twists and suspense, which makes it a page turner and hard to put down!

I recommend this series highly.

I want to thank Netgalley, the publisher and Linda Castillo for a copy of this book in exchange for a honest review.
Profile Image for MarilynW.
1,032 reviews2,564 followers
January 5, 2022
Down a Dark Road (Kate Burkholder #9)
by Linda Castillo (Author), Kathleen McInerney (Narrator)

Fallen Amish man, Joseph King, in prison for murdering his wife, has escaped and Kate might be the only person who can convince him to turn himself in before he and others come to harm. Joseph was the Burkholder family's neighbor and Kate's first crush but after his dad died, his family moved away and Kate couldn't believe the boy she knew could be a murderer. Now Joseph has taken his five children hostage and this is when Kate makes the first of her many mistakes.

Kate Burkholder has managed to make the same rookie mistakes through nine books now. Going into dangerous situations without backup is one of her perpetual mistakes. She'll even berate herself for doing so when she ends up in messes that appear impossible to live through. But never fear, Kate could be run over by a steamroller, which then rolls back and forth over her a dozen times, and she would still be having a nice meal (or bedroom time) with her boyfriend later that night. Kate is going to do the same thing over and over and I need to accept that fact after nine books of her repeating senseless actions.
Profile Image for Sheri.
1,087 reviews34 followers
March 17, 2021
Another great book in the Kate Burkholder series. I enjoy this series for many reasons but a primary reason is that the author always keeps the action going, even in the paperwork parts of the investigation, the forward momentum is still there. I don't feel like I have to slog through lengthy descriptions to get back to the action. The characters and setting are developed in a succinct and relevant manner. Not much of the supporting characters in this installment, but that is okay as this is very much Kate's case to solve. I enjoyed the glimpses into her childhood and I'm already looking forward to the next book and learning more about Kate's Amish past.
November 3, 2017
EXCERPT: I haven’t seen or heard from Joseph King in twenty years, but I heard the stories. Not only from the Amish, but from law enforcement as well. Evidently, King was a troubled man with a marriage on the rocks, a litter of kids he didn’t want, and a loose interpretation of his marital vows.

I vividly recall the day I learned his wife had been found dead—and Joseph was arrested and charged with first-degree murder. I couldn’t believe the kid I’d known—the one with the toothy grin and big laugh—could do something so horrific. But no one knows better than me how profoundly life can change people—and that too often those changes are not for the best.

I’d wanted to talk to him, ask him myself if he’d done it. But I knew it was only that tiny part of my heart that remembered what it was like to be thirteen years old and in the throes of my first crush. The part of me that was loyal to a fault and still believed people were fundamentally good. I never went to see him.

I did, however, follow the investigation and trial. Joseph King, his wife, and their five children lived on a small farm near Middlefield, Ohio, which is about two hours northeast of Painters Mill. The night of the murder, King claimed to have gone fishing on Lake Erie. Since his destination was too far to travel via buggy, he’d paid a local Yoder toter to drive him to a cabin. During the night, someone walked into his unlocked home, picked up his shotgun, and shot his wife in her bed while their five children slept across the hall. Come morning, the children discovered their mother’s body. Two days later, Joseph was arrested and charged with murder.

THE BLURB: In this electrifying new thriller in the New York Times bestselling series, a convicted murderer is on the run and Chief of Police Kate Burkholder must catch him before he strikes again.

Eight years ago Joseph King was convicted of murdering his wife and sentenced to life in prison. He was a "fallen" Amish man and, according to local law enforcement, a known drug user with a violent temper. Now King has escaped, and he’s headed for Painters Mill.

News of a murderer on the loose travels like wildfire and putting Chief of Police Kate Burkholder and her team of officers on edge. A nightmare scenario becomes reality when King shows up with a gun and kidnaps his five children from their Amish uncle’s house. He’s armed and desperate with nothing left to lose.

Fearing for the safety of the children, Kate leaps into action, but her frantic search for a killer leads her into an ambush. When King releases her unharmed, asking her to prove his innocence, she begins to wonder whether the police are hiding something, and she embarks on her own investigation to discover the truth.

MY THOUGHTS: I hadn't read a Linda Castillo book in a while, so I was excited to find Down a Dark Road in the audio section of my library service. Her books, and I admit to only having read some of her Kate Burkholder series and out of order at that, are fast paced, gripping and realistic.

There is a great blend of police procedure with Kate's personal life. I particularly like the way she still has respect for the Amish way of life, although she has left it behind, and the conflict she feels about the lack of relationship with her brother and sister and their families, who have remained in the Amish community.

In Down A Dark Road, Kate follows her heart rather than her head, putting her position as Chief of Police in jeopardy. We get to take a look at her childhood through flashbacks, and we learn a lot more about what makes Kate the woman she is.

An extremely satisfying reading/listening experience.

I listened to the audio version of Down a Dark Road by Linda Castillo, narrated by Kathleen McInerney, via OverDrive. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the 'about'page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my blog sandysbookaday.wordpress.com https://wordpress.com/page/sandysbook...
Profile Image for Diane S ☔.
4,686 reviews14k followers
May 18, 2017
This author does such a great job of blending the Amish culture with that of our own, or as the Amish say, English. Burkholder, now sheriff, was one Amish, and her family, brother and sister, still belong. This case will take Katie back to her childhood, a time filled with chores, but also a great deal of fun. A man, who she last saw as a boy, will be the focus.

I love how this book goes back and forth in time, learning a little more about her past, small glimpses and insights into the Amish way of living. Secrets, held both by the Amish and people in authority, will turn out to be key. I actually figured out some of the answers quite early in the book, but still enjoyed the process and the journey of watching Katie get there. There were still a few surprises. A good and thoughtfully put together series.

ARC by netgalley,
Publishes July 11th by Minataur



Profile Image for Julie .
3,989 reviews58.9k followers
August 4, 2017
Down a Dark Road by Linda Castillo is a 2017 Minotaur Books publication.

Another solid addition to this outstanding series!!

Do you ever really forget your first crush?

For Kate, Joseph King was the first boy she ever had tender feelings for. But, eight years ago, he was convicted of murdering his wife and sent to prison. However, he has managed to escape, and although it’s foolhardy, the first thought in his mind is his children.

Apprised of the situation, Kate isn’t convinced Joseph would come back home, but when he ambushes her, a standoff ensues, with tragic results. But, Kate soon comes to believe Joseph might not be the person who killed his wife.

Compelled to investigate the matter out of respect for her old friend, Kate manages to stir up a hornet’s nest, putting her career on the line and maybe even her life.

I love cold cases and this storyline fits neatly into that category. The author once again does a terrific job of portraying the Amish community and how is contrasted with the ‘Enlischers’. Kate, of course, understands bother sides of the equation, which is a big help in many ways, but also works against her in some cases.

Her past friendship with Joseph complicates things for Kate. Not only are her loyalties questioned, but she is also in danger of losing her hard won battle for respect in the law enforcement community. It looks like the odds are against her, but Kate is determined to get to the truth. In the meantime, some shocking revelations spill out, with repercussions, no one could have seen coming.

I will admit I was onto parts of the game, early on in the story, but the well -placed revelations and twists still kept me on my toes.

As always, the characterizations are stellar, and my familiarity with the cast only makes that even more impressive. The story is well constructed, deeply absorbing, with just the right blend of emotion, action and suspense, with the added personal touches capping everything off.

This is one of the best mystery series out there right now. Kate is a balanced character that makes her identifiable and likeable, but her background and the darker aspects of her life, also makes her a complex character with many layers.

The roadblocks and difficulties of communicating with the Amish, takes away the usual avenues of investigation at times, and the team must resort to old fashioned leg work to solve the case, while working around some deep -rooted suspicions and peculiarities of the residents.

This setup never fails to fascinate me, with the only drawback being I finish the book too fast and have to wait too long for the next one!


Overall, this was a very satisfying installment in this superb series!!
Profile Image for Thomas.
689 reviews165 followers
July 1, 2018
4 stars
Last year I won Among the Wicked, book 8 in the series, in a Goodreads giveaway. The publisher, Minotaur Books, sent me this book instead. I contacted them and asked if they would send me Among the Wicked. They apologized for the mistake and sent me Among the Wicked. They also said I did not have to worry about reading or reviewing Down a Dark Road.
This is book 9 in the series, and I recommend reading them in order, although I started with book 8 because of the giveaway. I have since read books 1 and 2 in the series. Kate Burkholder is the police chief in a fictional small Ohio town with a substantial Amish population.
The prologue sets the scene with the murder of an Amish woman.
Then the main part of the book opens with a lyrical description of the fictional Tuscarawas covered bridge in Painters Mill. I know it is fictional because my wife and I have visited 575 covered bridges with the help of her World Guide to Covered Bridges. This one is not listed in her WGCB. However, many of the cbs that we have visited are about 150 years old.
This book has Kate taken hostage by an escaped convicted murderer, Joseph King, who was her
first teenage crush. He insists that he is innocent. She agrees to look into his case. I won't go into spoiler territory, but it is an absorbing read.
Thanks again to Minotaur books.
Profile Image for Susanne.
1,153 reviews36.2k followers
May 24, 2020
4.25 Stars!

Wowza!

Way to tug at the heartstrings Kate Burkholder (and Linda Castillo!)!

Joseph King is an Amish Man and an Escaped Convict who went to went to prison for the murder of his wife.

On the off chance that Joseph King decides to return to claim his family, Chief of Police Kate Burkholder stakes out the family’s home, in order to protect them. Joe King, of course, returns and takes Kate Burkholder and his children hostage. To Kate, his former childhood friend, he claims his innocence and says that he was framed. Then he asks her to reopen the investigation into who killed his wife, Naomi.

In “Down a Dark Road,” we get a glimpse into Kate’s past as we explore her friendship with Joe King and we see how that relationship shaped her life. In this novel, her credibility is also called into question, which admirably doesn’t stop Kate from doing her job. Burkholder’s relationship with Tomasetti is also front and center.

This novel is filled with twists and turns that kept me glued to the storyline, filled with trepidation about what might happen next. Let me just say that the ending had me in knots, stomach churning.

Of all of the books in the series, this one might just be one of my favorites, as I loved how personal it was for Kate, and I love how the story is progressing for Kate and Tomasetti.

Well done Linda Castillo!

Thanks to my local library for loaning me a copy of the audiobook.

Published on Goodreads on 5.24.20.
Profile Image for Jonetta.
2,164 reviews879 followers
January 31, 2022
It’s been two years since Joseph King was accused and convicted of murdering his wife, leaving their five children to be raised by their aunt and uncle. Now Joseph has escaped and Police Chief Kate Burkholder is certain that the Amish man will return to find his children. She’s got unique insight into the man as she grew up with him when she was Amish and he was her first crush. But, the man he grew into bears little resemblance to the boy she remembers.

This was an exciting though tragic story as Joseph strongly asserts his innocence, even after he ambushes Kate and holds her hostage. I’ve repeatedly lamented how Kate goes into situations without backup and gets into trouble. It happens again here but what is different this time is how she receives the scorn of her fellow members within law enforcement. It stung and felt realistic, including her reaction. Despite all this, Joseph’s denials have a ring of truth and Kate decides to do her own investigation of the murder and things got interesting and exciting.

The story deviated from the normal patterns I’ve experienced with the earlier books and I was all set to give this my highest rating until the final culmination of the investigation. Still, this was a great listening experience, one where I couldn’t put the book away. I continue to love everything about the narrator’s performance. Kate used her team effectively, using caution when needed and adeptly managing the politics. I think there’s hope for her yet! 4.5 stars

Posted on Blue Mood Café
Profile Image for Phrynne.
3,111 reviews1,976 followers
January 21, 2022
I think this is my favourite book in this series so far!

Down a Dark Road takes Kate on a mental journey into her Amish childhood when someone she once knew returns in a shocking way. Joseph King was a boy she once loved but now he is a convicted murderer and a prison escapee. Events cause Kate to believe he has been wrongly convicted and she sets out to find the real murderer.

I enjoyed the stories of Amish life which contributed much to our knowledge of Kate's background. It was nice too to see Tomasetti really helping out this time and Kate responding to this. At last their relationship seems to be moving forward! The response of Kate's team and work mates to her difficulties was heart warming.

The book was really well paced and absorbing. I read it all in one sitting. Of course Kate went off on her own and got into trouble but at least her reasons for doing so were better explained than usual and they led to a very tense and exciting finale. I am looking forward to the next book already.
Profile Image for Liz.
1,914 reviews2,350 followers
June 22, 2017
3.5 stars, rounded up to 4

This is a well done, solid mystery. Kate Burkholder is lapsed Amish, chief of police for a small Ohio town. In this book, a childhood friend who had been convicted of murdering his wife escapes from prison and returns for his children. Kate has gone to the house where the children are and ends up losing her gun and being taken hostage by the man. He later releases her when she promises to investigate his claim of innocence.

There is a nice balance between story and character development. We are given glimpses into Kate’s childhood and her thoughts on those episodes. I like that Kate is psychologically healthy, not struggling with drink or pills or damaged in any way.

I have only read one other of the series, which was the first. It works well as a stand alone, I didn't have issues with not having read books 2-8.

I wouldn't call this a fast paced book. But it moved along at a steady clip and kept my interest throughout. The victims are well done, with a variety of strengths and weaknesses. I particularly liked the way Castillo juxtaposed the Joseph of Kate’s youth with the adult he became.

One key plot element doesn't bear looking at too closely as it won't hang together upon close examination.

My thanks to netgalley and Minotaur Books for an advance copy of this book.

Profile Image for Brenda.
3,972 reviews2,585 followers
August 8, 2017
When Chief of Police Kate Burkholder was informed that Joseph King had escaped from prison, she wasn't sure he'd return to Painters Mill. Joe's Amish lifestyle had fallen apart when his Datt was killed while he was just a teen...

After Joe's conviction for murdering his wife, his five children were taken in by his wife's sister and her husband. They now lived on a farm outside of town. But taking his children hostage and then capturing Kate as well, had the police from around the countryside surrounding the farm. Joseph begged Kate to investigate his case, steadfast in his denial of guilt. He then released her unharmed.

Kate's confusion and uncertainty had her conducting an investigation on the quiet. And she wasn't sure who she could trust after what she started to unearth. Was she putting herself in danger?

Down a Dark Road is #9 in the Kate Burkholder series by Linda Castillo and another brilliant episode. I love this series and always wait keenly for the next installment. The twists, intrigue and suspense have me on the edge of my seat, and this one was no different. Kate's police team are great to catch up with each read; supportive of Kate and a great crew, while the relationship between Tomasetti and Kate is getting stronger. Down a Dark Road is one I have no hesitation in recommending highly.
Profile Image for John Culuris.
173 reviews63 followers
May 13, 2022
Disclaimer and an Apology: This book was awarded free through a Goodreads giveaway and due to unforeseen circumstances I’m only getting back to the novel now, over three months later. I will not abuse the privilege again.
★ ★ ★ 1/2

When I was a vendor and travelled the country as part of a group of five or six people, two my colleagues enjoyed romance novels. When one would finish a new book, she would grade it for the other. The scholastic letter grades they used were not much more then the Star system we use here, and for the most part it is sufficient. Look at almost any Goodreads profile and you’ll find more books rated than reviewed. Reviews usually serve to reinforce or reiterate recommendations or warnings. Except when they don’t. Sometime your purpose is to clear the minefields so others can have a more enjoyable trip.

Well, “minefields” is a little strong in regards to Down a Dark Road. There’s a lot to like here, starting with the protagonist, Kate Burkholder, the sheriff of Painters Mill, a small northeastern Ohio town. Each time we watch her interact with someone in her life, we get an excellent sense of who they are and of Kate’s relationship with each of them. The first time she enters her police station, we’re as comfortable in the place as she is. And that’s the key to enjoying this work. Accept everything at face value and you’ll be rewarded for following Kate through this particularly interesting and stressful portion of her life.

Joe King, Kate’s childhood crush, escapes prison. Two years earlier he had been convicted of the vicious murder of his wife in a county about two hours away. The five children, now orphans, are adopted by the family of King’s sister-in-law and live on a farm just outside of Painters Mill. Cruising the farm that night in cooperation with the neighboring sheriff and strictly as a precautionary measure--most believe King will head to Canada--Kate is ambushed by King through no fault of her own. A full-blown hostage situation ensues.

These are the most interesting moments of the novel: two people, both raised Amish but having also left the religion for different reasons, find themselves under intense pressure, each with their own agenda, each trying to understand the other while constantly fluctuating between who they were and who they are. Flashbacks throughout the novel to Kate’s childhood memories involving King also add greatly to this dynamic.

You must accept all of this at face value for the novel to work. It’s allowable for you to do this because Down a Dark Road is not a mystery. There are no hidden clues, no twists, no surprises. Straight investigation, moving from point A to point B and eventually to point Z, is how Kate arrives at the solution.

A good thing, too. There are some serious structural problems with the beginning of this book. In essence, Kate--a trained investigator--and Linda Castillo--veteran of eight previous Kate Burkholder novels--fail to ask obvious questions. Such as:

1) Kate is ambushed by King. Why? Why was he out in the woods instead of inside with his kids? If he was expecting someone to come along, as subsequent dialogue suggests, how did he know when? Was he out there all night? And what was the point? He gained nothing from the resulting standoff. Some explanation is needed.

2) A picture is taken during the hostage situation that finds its way into the newspaper and onto the internet. How did anyone get close enough to take that photo, a cordoned-off area where bullets could start flying without warning?

3) There is a brief exchange of gunfire after Kate is extricated and leaves to find loved ones who might help in talking King out. She is informed upon returning that King took a shot at a deputy. By now she has suspicions that King might have been framed by the police of his county. Since many representatives of many jurisdictions have converged on the scene, including the sheriff of that police force--who presumably brought at least one deputy with him--you must find out who was involved in the skirmish. It may not have involved the officers in question, but the information can only help clarify Kate’s thoughts.

The answer to “Why didn’t . . . ?” is often as simple as “The Plot Required It.” And it’s okay because this plot is not about any of that. It’s about Kate’s journey: from her past to the present, and from her present to closure--and all the emotions and interactions that result. If I can allay the idea that there is any other purpose and make clear that some obvious inconsistency are irrelevant, I believe I can provide something of a service. By clearing the minefield, it is my hope that my three-and-a-half Star journey can allow someone else to have, at the very least, a 4-Star experience.
Profile Image for Stacey.
870 reviews163 followers
January 16, 2018
Down a Dark Road is #9 and another great addition to the Kate Burkholder series. I like how Castillo weaves the Amish culture into all of the novels with Kate having grown up in an Amish family and leaving that lifestyle as an adult. She knows how they think and can get them talking. This is one of my favorites because it hits close to home for Kate Burkholder. She straddles the line between personal and professional which makes this an exciting read.

Her first crush has been convicted of murdering his wife and has escaped prison and returned to Painters Mill. He pleads his innocence to Kate despite the overwhelming evidence against him. After hearing his side of the story and personally knowing him, she has doubts that he did commit the crime, but is she too sentimental to look at this objectively? She starts digging and starts to uncover sinister acts within the police force. Culminating with a tense stand off, Down a Dark Road delivers. I recommend!
Profile Image for Brenda.
725 reviews150 followers
August 21, 2017
Let me get this out of the way first. I criticized a previous Linda Castillo book for glaring editing errors. There’s one in this book, very near the end, that unfortunately broke my concentration during a great scene. Made me look back a couple of pages to check something, and then shake my head. I hate when that happens, but I'm not letting that affect my feelings toward this book. So here we go…

I didn't plan on spending all of yesterday reading (and we did manage to go out for lunch), but this book sucked me into its pages and I couldn't get out until The End.

This book has many well-written emotional moments. We get a look into Kate Burkholder’s past and her first stirring of teen love with Joseph King before his family moved away. Joseph, by all accounts, turned out to be not such a good man. After a history of run ins with the law, he was imprisoned for killing his wife. He claims he didn't do it. The author did an excellent job of creating Joseph and allowing me to see him as Kate did. In spite of his past, I liked him. Adding to the emotional impact are Joseph’s children, especially Sadie. I'm still worried about all of them and how their lives will turn out.

Kate and Tomasetti’s love grows stronger in this book as demonstrated by the many tender moments. I know they are worried about fraternization, but how can their co-workers not see what's going on?! C’mon, just announce your engagement already!

Supporting Kate through thick and thin are her deputies Glock, Pickles, Skid, T.J., and dispatchers Mona, Lois, and Jodie. I think this is all-important because I feel a storm brewing.

Linda Castillo has stepped up to the plate and hit a home run with this book. I think it's one of her best. It also presents several possibilities for future plot lines and/or new recurring characters. I'm excited for the next Kate Burkholder book!

Profile Image for Jean.
703 reviews20 followers
August 5, 2017
Two “fallen away” Amish adults cross paths in Down a Dark Road, Linda Castillo’s ninth mystery novel featuring police chief Kate Burkholder. Kate left her family and the Amish community after her rumspringa, the period when teens are permitted to experience the “English” way of life. That is the time when they can decide whether or not they will remain Amish. Due to some difficult circumstances, Kate chose to leave. She studied and worked hard, and now she commands a tiny police force in the small tourist town of Painter’s Mill, Ohio. Her Amish background has been useful in solving cases on numerous occasions.

The second important figure in this story is Joseph King. He is a man convicted of murdering his wife, and law enforcement has been notified of his escape because he is from the Painter’s Mill area and may return to see his children. Oh, by the way, he and Kate were neighbors as kids. He has a history of citations for drunkenness and arrests for drug possession and domestic disturbances. Among his Amish family and neighbors, there are few who believed him to be innocent of Naomi’s murder. The five young children have been living with their aunt and uncle, and some believe that Joseph will try to see them.

Not Kate. She thinks he will head for Canada. Why do we know she’s wrong? She keeps watch outside the farm nonetheless, and – surprise! She’s ambushed. The scene inside was not your usual hostage scene. How many cops have that kind of history with their captors? He releases her after insisting that he is innocent. Despite her reservations, Joseph leaves Kate wondering if perhaps he might be innocent. After all, she knew this person and cared about him when they were kids. While inside the home, she witnessed his interactions with his children and doesn’t feel that he will harm them. Could there be some truth there, despite the damning evidence?

The strength in each of Ms. Castillo's Burkholder books is in the tension and the balance she creates between the English and Amish communities. There is always a level of distrust among the Amish, especially when it comes to the police. On the other hand, Amish people are portrayed as misunderstood, even ostracized by “Englishers” for their appearance and customs. That’s where Kate comes in – she speaks the language and respects the culture, even though she doesn’t practice any longer. Often she finds herself unwelcome, but at other times, she manages to get some degree of cooperation. In this book, it is little Sadie, the smart five-year-old daughter of Joe King who opens up to Kate and trusts her wholeheartedly. Kate risks her reputation, her career, and her life so that the King children can know the truth. The truth may not be what she expects. What Castillo shows us in book after book is that people are people. There are good, kind people and bad, dangerous people everywhere. It doesn’t matter if they’re Amish or “English,” cops or farmers, male or female.

I also like how strong and supportive Kate’s deputies and office staff are. They are hard-working folks who will put in overtime, even though they know they won’t get paid for it. They believe in their boss, and they’d do just about anything to back her up. Same goes for John Tomasetti, BCI investigator and Kate’s live-in lover. These guys are all like family to Kate.

If there is one negative, it’s that sooner or later, you just know that Kate is going to get herself into deep, deep muck. It’s quite predictable. She’s so intent of helping someone, so gung-ho to prove someone innocent or to save somebody that she gets careless. Other parts of the story weren’t too difficult to figure out either, but that didn’t matter, really. Watching the layers peel off and seeing the bad guy(s) revealed is a pleasure.

My favorite parts of Down a Dark Road were Kate’s dreams and memories from her childhood. You can take the girl out of the Amish world, but you can’t take the Amish world out of the girl – at least not all of it. It’s made her who she is, and she seems to be finally coming to terms with that.

4.5 stars
Profile Image for Corina.
778 reviews2,088 followers
May 26, 2020
I have been following this series since 2009. I don’t know anymore how I found this author, but her books have pulled me back year after year. The most fascinating aspect of these novels is the premise and location. I’ve never read anything about the Amish culture before Kate Burkholder. I’m from Germany so I understand some of the Amish that is being used in these books, but sentence structure is often very different and the culture is a world apart to anything I’ve ever known.

These books, again and again, make me wonder and curious about the differences in cultures, religions and believes.

Now, don’t think that theses books are about nice little endeavors into the country. Oh no!!! Kate Burkholder is one touch sheriff, who has to be witness to some very cruel and gruesome acts. You wouldn’t think that these terrifying events could happen to such peaceful people, but even peaceful people have skeletons hidden somewhere.

Linda Castillo‘s books are CHILLING, THRILLING, CAPTIVATING, and ADDICTIVE.

I read Down a Dark Road in one sitting. There was no stopping me. At the end it was close to 1 am when I finally finished this book, with a satisfying THE END. As always Kate Burkholder was as riveting and fascinating as always. I truly adore her. Kate, was a woman in a man’s world. As a sheriff in a community with a 1/3 amish population, her background was hindering as much as helpful. She was seen as the one that left the community and faith, an ENGLISHER, excommunicated, distrusted, and a police officer to boot.

Her struggle with her past and getting answers from people that distrusted her was palpable. Kate’s thorough police work, her dedication and never-ending willingness to find the truth is what draws me to these books. The authors way of spinning an engrossing tale, chilling murder cases, authentic and genuinely like-able characters, and a fascinating Amish community makes this series a ONE-OF-KIND!!

If you are interested in THRILLERS – go and pick this one!! I can’t recommend it enough!!

___________________________________


ARC generously provided in exchange for an honest review.

Find more reviews and book recommendations on my blog.
Profile Image for Brenda.
3,972 reviews2,585 followers
January 23, 2022
Joseph King was a friend when Kate Burkholder was in her early teens; she had her first crush on him. She, Joseph, her brother Jacob and sister Sarah used to spend time together swimming and skylarking around. When Joseph’s datt was killed, the family moved, and Kate had seen or heard nothing for years. Then two years ago, she heard Joseph had been imprisoned for murdering his wife, Naomi. Their five children were with Naomi’s sister and her husband. The reason Joseph had been brought to Kate’s attention again was he’d escaped from prison and was expected to return to Painters Mill for his children…

Keeping an eye on the farm where the children lived, Kate’s thoughts were all over the place. But she was horrified to find the children held as hostage, their carers gone and now Kate had to do her best to talk Joseph down. What would happen when the full volume of law enforcement turned up to the scene? Would Joseph keep his children safe, or did he have nothing to lose?

Down a Dark Road is the 9th in the Kate Burkholder series by Linda Castillo and I flew through the pages. A gripping, intense scenario between the Amish and the Englishers, with Kate often in the crosshairs. Once again she did well and Tomasetti was often by her side. I love this series and am already looking forward to #10. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Tina.
2,304 reviews1 follower
September 2, 2021
This is an Amish Suspense, and this is the 9th book in the Kate Burkholder series. The first time I read this book was in Feb. 2020, but this was the first book in this series I picked up. I still enjoyed this book even though I did not read book 1-8.5 in this series before first picking up this book. This time I have already read 1-8.5 in this series before picking it up this book for the second time. I remember parts of this book, but there was things I picked up more because I had read the other books. I do not time there is a lot for the other books in this books. This book was fast pace and super suspenseful. I really enjoyed Kate solving this case put in front of her, and I also liked that she had a childhood connection with Joseph King. I like the childhood connection because I enjoy when there is flashbacks of her childhood in books. I do wish this series would let us see some of the secondly characters a little more, but we get a ton about Kate in every book. I do love Kate's character, but I just now want to know more about some of the other cops she works with. That is just something I want for this series, but it does not change that this is a great series. This book is so great, and it is very well done. I really enjoyed this book so much.
Profile Image for KC.
2,378 reviews
April 20, 2017
I would like to thank NetGalley, Minotaur Books, and Linda Castillo for the advanced digital copy in exchange for an honest review. Painters Mill Ohio Chief of Police Kate Burkholder discovers her Amish childhood friend, Joseph King, has escaped from prison. Kate, a former member of the Amish community herself, feels a great urgency to inject herself into the situation. King, imprisoned for killing his wife, kidnaps Kate and holes up in a house where his 5 children are living during his incarceration. She pleads with him to do the right thing and turn himself in, but he insists on his innocence. Tragically, he is shot down by SWAT and killed in front of his children. She begins to investigate his allegations that someone else murdered his wife. As Kate digs deeper into the case, she begins to uncover secrets to King's past. She must find the truth quickly, for her safety and career are becoming increasingly threatened.
Profile Image for Robin.
1,670 reviews59 followers
September 30, 2018
Police Chief Kate Burkholder receives notification that Joseph King has escaped from prison. King is an Amish man convicted of murdering his wife. Since his five children live near Painter's Mills with their aunt and uncle, Kate puts everyone on the lookout for King in case he shows up. While investigating an abandoned car, Kate is ambushed by Joseph King and taken hostage. King doesn't want to hurt her. He knows Kate from being children together. Joseph tells her that he did not kill his wife. He wants Kate to prove it.

Another excellent addition to the Kate Burkholder series. These books never disappoint. There are a lot of twists and turns in this investigation. I couldn't put this book down. My rating: 5 Stars.
Profile Image for Jim.
541 reviews77 followers
July 14, 2019
Another great entry in the Kate Burkholder series. For those not familiar Kate Burkholder is the Chief of Police in Painters Mill, Ohio. A small town with a large Amish population. Kate was raised Amish but left the order. Because of her background she has an understanding of the Amish people, their customs, and can speak Pennsylvania Dutch. The series provides a great understanding of the Amish.

Painters Mill depends on tourism. The story opens with Kate investigating graffiti that has been spray painted on a covered bridge when she gets a phone call. Two years ago Joseph King was convicted of murdering his wife and sentenced to life in prison. Now he has escaped. Painters Mill is on the notify list because his children are living with his wife's sister and husband in Painters Mill. Chances are he is headed for Canada but he may want to see his children.

Kate hasn't seen or heard from Joe King in twenty years but when she was thirteen she worshiped him. She had a crush on him. They spent their summers swimming together. He saved her. Once from drowning. Once from bullies. He was her hero. When his father was killed Joe moved away and he changed. There were stories of drinking, drugs, and a troubled marriage. Kate is well aware of how life changes people and sometimes it is not for the better but she can't believe this is the same Joe she knew. When he was arrested for murdering his wife she wanted to go see him and to talk with him but she never did. Now Joe King may be headed for Painters Mill.

Kate gets ambushed and held hostage along with Joe's children. Joe claims he is innocent. He is not perfect but he would never have hurt his wife. All he asks is that Kate investigate his case and prove it. Then he lets her go. She finds herself on the outside of the investigation. She "allowed" herself to be taken hostage and there is a compromising photo of her with Joe taken just before he let her go.

The story switches back and forth between the past and present. The reader gets a look at a brief period in Kate's childhood when she was still Amish. There were chores such as selling jam, bread, and berries at a roadside stand. And of course there was the play and swimming when the chores were done. It provided yet another glimpse into Kate's childhood and Amish background. It also shows how life and circumstance can impact people. Sometimes good people are destined to go "Down a Dark Road".
Profile Image for Pat.
2,310 reviews382 followers
January 8, 2020
4.5 stars.

A really great story but a tough read. Amish man Joseph King, convicted of killing his wife some years ago, escapes from jail. An escaped killer is one thing but Kate Burkholder, the Chief of Police in Painter's Mill, knows this particular killer. Kate knew Joe back when she was still in the Amish community, he was her first crush. Joe has always maintained his innocence and, even though he was always a bit rough around the edges, Kate can't help wondering...

Soon it is believed he is heading to Painter's Mill where his five children are being cared for by another Amish family. Tensions in the area are heightened by the perceived danger. It all comes to a head one night when Joseph has his children and Kate hostage at the farmhouse. The finale is tense, gripping and tragic.

This is another wonderful series that combines crime (some of them very nasty indeed), drama and a wonderful cast of characters that you can really relate to. Highly recommended. I'm only sorry that I'm getting close to the end of the series and will soon be exhorting Ms Castillo to write faster.
Profile Image for Sherri Thacker.
1,182 reviews226 followers
July 24, 2017
This is the 6th book I've read by this author. I love all of Linda Castillo's book and this is no exception. This author does an excellent job of explaining things so you don't have to read the books in order to understand everything. I've always been fascinated with the Amish community and reading these books just makes me want to go visit one day. I want to read more books by Linda Castillo.
Profile Image for Donna.
3,829 reviews10 followers
March 22, 2018
I've been enjoying this series by Linda Castillo. The setting to her stories is rich in Amish culture, but yet the plots aren't so rosy and innocent. I like the dark edge she puts into her plots. I think this one is my favorite one yet. I liked Kate's OCD nature in finding the truth and I also like Tomasetti; he is the strong silent type (who doesn't appreciate that in a man.)

One of the main reasons I enjoy this series is because the author does NOT feel the need to slap red bows on everything when wrapping up the endings. So 4 stars.
Profile Image for Anne OK.
3,399 reviews437 followers
July 12, 2017
It's the lingering sense of injustice that grates on my cop's sensibilities.
-- Sheriff Kate Burkholder, Down A Dark Road

Once again, suspense and murder strikes Painters Mill, Ohio.  And this reader couldn't be more excited!  I fell in love with this series from the first book.  Now it's one of my very favorites.  No need to worry if you haven't read the previous books in this extraordinary series.  The author eases you into the story with enough background so that you'll never feel lost or unable to follow the storyline.  Each book easily stands on its own. 

Kate’s a bit of a mystery herself.  Growing up Amish, she left that lifestyle at eighteen venturing into city life.  Returning to her hometown years later, she’s now the town’s Chief of Police.  In the 9th installment of the Kate Burkholder Series, Kate takes another step back into her past as a young girl growing up in the Amish countryside.  Although raised Amish, Sheriff Burkholder is now largely shunned by both family and former friends in the Amish community.  As she struggles to separate her past from the present, more layers of Kate’s life are unraveled, and readers gain a bit more understanding of the complex character she represents.

Joseph King lived next door to Kate growing up, and he was both a playmate and her first real crush on a boy.  When his father was killed in an accident, Joseph’s life and personality took a turn for the worse.  After Joseph was tried and convicted of murdering his wife, Naomi, he was sent to prison for life two years ago, and their children returned to Painters Mill to live with Naomi’s sister, Rebecca and her husband, Daniel Beachy.

Flash forward to present day and that same boy is now a man on the run – a prison escapee.  He claims he’s innocent of the charge, and takes Kate and his five children hostage pleading with her at gunpoint to help prove his innocence.  Kate begins to question whether Joseph might be telling her the truth.  She agrees to help him by taking another look at the case.  But before Kate has a chance to even begin her search for answers, Joseph is tragically shot and killed by a police sniper in front of his five children.

Unlike others in their community, Kate is inclined to believe the little girl’s story about a strange man who was in their house that night and killed her momma and who almost killed Sadie, too.  Sadie King, now 5-years old and smart as a whip, found her mother who had been shot and killed, and tried to tell the policeman that she saw a man who wasn’t her daddy.  Because of her age, she was deemed too young to be a credible witness.  Because of Joseph’s run-ins with the police on various domestic violence calls, alcohol-related problems, and some small drug charges, probably didn’t help his case any either, and he was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of his wife, Naomi.

When a picture surfaces of what looks like Joseph kissing Kate on the night he abducted her and the children, it causes a media storm and Kate ends up on administrative duty.  The crime seems so different from her childhood memories of Joseph, and her instincts are telling her something just doesn’t feel right about the initial investigation.  So, she proceeds with her own search for answers – which causes friction and danger between herself, the community and law enforcement.  Plus, it also uncovers things about Joseph's past and also provides evidence that may solve a crime.

John Tomasetti, Kate’s lover and an Agent with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, believes in Kate and lends his support as she throws herself into another difficult case – this one carrying personal ties.  These two have an undeniable attraction, and I am so ready for Castillo to delve deeper into their relationship and put a fire under their commitment to each other.  Their romance throughout the series has been slow going.  There are several romantic encounters between the two here – but mostly this is Kate’s story – one blending her past and present.  It’s filled with a compelling walk “Down A Dark Road” where Kate revisits memories and a secret she's held tightly from her childhood.

Castillo is a master at finely crafting a terrific mystery with multiple twists and turns in a compelling atmosphere.  Her characters aren’t flat or one-dimensional bores, but well-fleshed out and believably drawn, making you feel as if they are old friends that you’ll enjoy cheering for each step of the way.  The bad guys are some of the best I've ever had the pleasure of detesting.

Again, Castillo proves it with this heartbreaking and riveting murder/mystery that has a sadly engaging plot with devastating consequences.  Mixing the possibilities of an innocent man being convicted of  murder, a prison break with an ensuing hostage situation, and a case of corruption keeps the pace moving at a steady clip.  Meticulous in her writing of police procedures and case details, along with the interwoven attitudes and customs of the Amish and English living side by side, she elevates the interest and frisson of excitement.

So, was Joseph King framed for a murder he did not commit, or was he guilty as charged?  I highly recommend that you get yourself a copy of this book and find out the answer to that question. 
Profile Image for Vicki.
26 reviews
June 13, 2017
“Down A Dark Road” is the ninth book in Linda Castillo’s Kate Burkholder Series of which I’ve read all but one. (And yes, I really need to do something about that soon!) I eagerly look forward to the release of each of Castillo’s books, so it’s not surprising that I jumped at the chance to review her latest novel. Some book series grow stale overtime, but that is not the case here.

The story opens in the now familiar setting of Painters Mill in the heart of Ohio’s Amish country. Chief of Police Kate Burkholder has just learned that a prisoner has escaped from a nearby state penitentiary. Locations lacking electricity, telephones, motor vehicles and other modern conveniences aren’t the typical destinations of choice for escaped cons—unless, of course, they previously lived an Amish lifestyle. Despite maintaining his innocence, Amish farmer Joseph King was convicted two years earlier of shooting and killing his wife while she slept in her bed. He received a life sentence and was sent to a maximum-security correctional facility located less than two hours from Painters Mill where his five children live with his wife’s Amish sister and brother-in-law. The possibility of King trying to get to his children seems likely, so area law enforcement is on high alert.

Chief Burkholder once had a personal connection to the prisoner. During their childhood, they were neighbors and friends. Although King had gotten into some trouble as a young adult, Burkholder found it difficult to believe that the boy she once knew so well and cared about could grow to become a man capable of such a vicious act. This causes her to let her guard down as she patrols the area, and Burkholder suddenly finds herself being held hostage by her former friend. As the hours turn into minutes and the minutes become hours, King and Burkholder have plenty of time to discuss the past. Gradually, Burkholder senses that all is not quite as it originally seemed. Is it possible that King was framed for his wife’s murder, and if so, by who, and why?

Once again, Linda Castillo has crafted an engaging plot. Several characters are familiar to the series, but the story stays fresh so that the reader keeps coming back for more. Castillo is a master at spinning an entertaining tale. Please tell me there is going to be a Book 10, because I can’t wait to see what happens next in Painters Mill!

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press, NetGalley, and Linda Castillo for a digital ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Jess☺️.
448 reviews80 followers
July 14, 2018
Down a dark road is Kate Burkholder series book 9 and yes I'm going to say it again oh my god.
I really can not express any more how much better these books get everytime I pick up a new one I now have to wait until August for book 10 😭 (I can't wait)
This is another heart pounding, edge of your seat and your nerves are just shot to hell but this series is great fun and thrilling all at the same time I highly recommend this series 😀
Profile Image for DeB.
951 reviews245 followers
March 18, 2018
Chief of Police Kate Burkholder has been a long time favourite detective of mine, in Linda Castillo's excellent Painter's Mill Amish country series, and Down a Dark Road was a marvellous reunion.

Castillo paints her characters and the settings with an artist's brush, evoking the timeless quality of old Amish farmsteads, a deep respect for their way of life and immense compassion when someone gets caught in between their ways and those of the highly suspect "Englischer".

Kate is embroiled in a tragic and painful situation, after a former childhood friend imprisoned for the murder of his wife escapes. Joseph has insisted all along that he never did the crime, and can’t understand how he could have been accused.

From the point in the story where Joseph is discovered and through to its conclusion, the action is nonstop and the clues twist so tightly that I had to hang on, flipping pages as quickly as I could, yet never wanting the writing to end.

Mystery, psychological suspense, sociopathic criminals, love stories, compassion, tenderness, pathos... Linda Castillo has jam packed her latest novel to the brim with everything and it is all terrifically good. She just gets better and better. I think that this is my favourite novel of hers by far. If you haven’t read her books, well, give her a try. You won’t regret it.

Five stars.

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