Synopsis from Good Reads:
Everyone in Painters Mill knows the abandoned Hochstetler farm is haunted. But only a handful of the residents remember the terrible secrets lost in the muted/hushed whispers of time—and now death is stalking them, seemingly from the grave.
On a late-night shift, Chief of Police Kate Burkholder is called to the scene of an apparent suicide—an old man found hanging from the rafters in his dilapidated barn. But evidence quickly points to murder and Kate finds herself chasing a singularly difficult and elusive trail of evidence that somehow points back to the tragedy of that long ago incident. Meanwhile, Kate has moved in with state agent John Tomasetti and for the first time in so long, they’re both happy; a bliss quickly shattered when one of the men responsible for the murders of Tomasetti’s family four years ago is found not guilty, and walks away a free man. Will Tomasetti be pulled back to his own haunted past?
When a second man is found dead—also seemingly by his own hand—Kate discovers a link in the case that sends the investigation in a direction no one could imagine and revealing the horrifying truth of what really happened that terrible night thirty-five years ago, when an Amish father and his four children perished—and his young wife disappeared without a trace.
And, as Kate knows—the past never truly dies . . . in The Dead Will Tell by Linda Castillo
When I had the great opportunity to hear Linda Castillo speak earlier this week, she said that there’s a new dimension to this book that greatly appealed to her: a ghost story. I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about that, but I absolutely loved how she pulled it off. In what is one of my favorite Kate Burkholder books to date, The Dead Will Tell is a fast-paced, twisty mystery that grabbed my interest right away and kept it until the very end.
As always, Castillo dives straight into the crime that sets the stage for the rest of the book. (As an aside, while we were waiting for Castillo to arrive at the event, my mom started reading the book – which is not her usual genre of choice – and when she had to put it down, she told me she had to read it when I was done.) In this case there are two crimes. The first happened in 1979, when a family of 7 brutally turns into a family of 1. Flash forward to present day and those responsible begin to turn up dead, one by one.
I felt like the mystery unfolded at a great pace and even though I started to guess who the killer actually was, there was a great twist that I didn’t see coming at all.
In addition to the case, the story delves a little into Kate and Tomasetti’s home life, as they finally seem to be happy and together. However, Tomasetti – who has come oh so far since the first book, is thrown when he finds out that a man responsible for his family’s murder has been released from prison. While he doesn’t turn back into the addict that he once was, there’s still definitely a darkness and need for revenge/justice inside him. Kate struggles with his dishonesty and the ghosts of his past.
While we get to see some of Tomasetti’s POV and how he handles this news, I wish there would’ve been more. I also miss him and Kate working together. However, I’m happy with their relationship up to this point and how they have real conversations in this book that they’ve avoided in the past. I’m definitely holding out hope for this couple!
Overall, I really enjoyed The Dead Will Tell. It was a great mystery with an end I didn’t see coming and had just enough romance written in to continue to develop Kate and Tomasetti. One thing that I was surprised about, but not necessarily upset about, was that there was no reference at all to the Daniel Lapp storyline that’s been present throughout the series and especially the new developments in the last book. I would definitely recommend this book to those that have read the series and definitely recommend the series to those that enjoy mystery/crime/suspense and Amish!
Rating (out of 5):
Overall Rating: 4.125 stars
If you’re into audiobooks, check out the first chapter of The Dead Will Tell!