Gone Missing by Linda Castillo is another Kate Burkholder crime novel. Kate is the Chief of Police in Painters Mill. She also grew up Amish and all of the murder cases in these books involve the Amish people.
The story refers back to other cases Kate has been involved with, including the Slaughterhouse Murders and the Plank Murder Case. I’m guessing these cases are the subjects of Linda Castillo’s other books. I have not read the books so I am not familiar with these cases.
Gone Missing Synopsis
Kate and John developed an intimate relationship during the Slaughterhouse Murder case where someone killed John’s wife and kids. A few years pass, and they continue their relationship. Then State Agent John Tomasetti called Kate to see if she would consult on a case with him since Kate grew up Amish the case involves the Amish. She understands the culture and will be able to gain the Amish people’s trust faster.
Furthermore, Kate speaks Pennsylvania Dutch, the language the Amish speak. She uses this to her advantage when she interviews Amish families. Speaking their language assures them that she was one of them, and convinces them that they can trust her. The Amish do not like talking to the English, who is anyone that is not Amish. Unless it is prudent, they keep to themselves.
Gone Missing during Rumspringa
Three teenage Amish girls have gone missing in the last year. The most recent girl is Annie King, who is fifteen years old and has been missing for thirty-six hours. The other two are Bonnie Fisher (16 years old and missing for two months, and Leah Stuckey (16 years old and missing for one year). The police added one other teen, Noah Mast, to the list. He is the only male and has been missing for ten years. He was never found and may have a connection to the other missing Amish teens. They are from different Amish communities within the same Ohio area.
The first day Kate begins her investigation of the case, she arrives at a scene where two teenage girls are fighting. One of them, Sadie, is her relative. This girl looks up to Kate because she left the Amish life and has a career, and Sadie wants to do the same. Sadie is creative at designing clothes. But if she stayed in the Amish community, her talent would be stifled. Since Sadie is on Rumspringa, she has this time to choose what she wants to do with her life.
“Rumspringa is the time when young Amish people are allowed to experience life without the constraints of the Ordnung, while the adults look the other way. Most teens partake in some drinking and listening to music – small infractions that are generally harmless. I wonder if this girl will be one of the 80 percent who eventually become baptized.” (p. 26)
Missing Turns into Murder
Soon after coming on the case with the missing Amish teens, a fisherman finds one of the missing girls’ body. Later that day, the police find out that Sadie Miller, Katie’s brother-in-law’s niece, is missing. She is a fifteen-year-old Amish female. Katie just talked with her a few days before. Sadie fits the same profile and age as the other missing teens.
In the first half of the book Kate and John interview the parents of the missing teens. Nothing exciting happens. Then, after Kate gets closer to finding the murderer, the story becomes sinuous. There are lots of action and twists in the story.
After I read halfway through the book, I did not want to put the book down. It was getting closer to solving the mystery behind the missing Amish teens.
The ending is phenomenal. I liked that after the murderer was caught that the story still went on to explain the motives behind the crimes. Also, it calmed things down after being intense for the last half of the book. Kate still needed to talk to the victims that survived for her closing reports of the case.
While she was talking to one of the girls, Kate astonishingly discovered a new twist in the case. And the story ended. I wasn’t ready for it to end. There is more to it. I immediately looked on Linda Castillo’s website to see if there was a sequel to this book. There is none.
Just when you think the story is all wrapped up, a zinger is thrown in. It is one of those books where the story continues and you need to use your own imagination to come to an ending that you like. The story is not over.
It is a story that I needed to just sit and ponder for a while before moving onto reading another book.