Police Chief Kate Burkholder is investigating a barn fire at the home of the Amish Gingerich family when they discover the remains of their missing eighteen year old son, Daniel. It’s soon determined to be arson and, even worse, someone deliberately trapped him in the barn. Daniel was hard working and well liked so Kate has to work to find out who hated him so much to want him to die in such a cruel and painful way. As she pursues the case, it soon becomes apparent that there was a darker side to him.
The story opens with Daniel’s death, told from his point of view, and it was jarring. Imagining dying in a fire is bad enough but it was a vicarious experience in that moment. It also made me extremely sympathetic to Daniel, which I needed as Kate discovered what was obviously his true nature, reinforcing that no matter his behavior his murder was a crime. It also triggered Kate’s traumatic past as she was forced to confront Amish behaviors that left their young women vulnerable and subject to abuse. It was hard to accept girls being victimized again by their own families following a sexual assault.
This was a troubling case that was hard to listen to at times. Kate’s dogged pursuit in the midst of stoic silence and stonewalling was impressive and her understanding of Amish customs strongly aided her resolution of the case. I figured out most of it before it was revealed but it wasn’t easy. And, yes, she had another life-threatening moment that even I saw coming but the strength and themes of the story were more than overwhelmed that downside. Let’s face it, these aren’t just Amish attitudes unfortunately. I continue to enjoy the narrator’s performance, which made this an even better reading experience. She’s the voice of the series for me.
- Release Date: July 10, 2018
- Series: Kate Burkholder #10
- Narrator: Kathleen McInerney
- Audio Length: 9 hours, 58 minutes
- Publisher: Macmillan Audio