Mary Yoder took two of her granddaughters to gather walnuts at the old Schattenbaum property, abandoned for over forty years. When she sees movement in the house and goes to investigate, Mary is viciously attacked and killed but not before it’s obvious she recognized her killer. Painter’s Creek Police Chief Kate Burkholder responds to a call about a horse and buggy stuck in a ditch and blocking traffic. They are interrupted by a child’s blood curdling scream and see her racing towards them, covered in blood. They rescue her, discover her grandmother’s body and realize one of the girls is missing. Elsie Helmuth is a 7-year old special needs child and is presumed to have been taken by the killer.
Nothing terrifies me more than stories involving abducted children so I was tense from the start. Kate doesn’t waste anytime bringing in additional resources and these are the types of situations where law enforcement agencies bond together for a common purpose without turf battling. They relentlessly pursued all leads, gathered evidence and developed theories but complicating the process was the lack of cooperation within the Amish community. What was done to Mary was vicious and personal, seemingly targeted. Kate is former Amish and pushed her connections beyond limits to help find Elsie.
I was riveted by this story and enjoyed following the investigation, which was fast paced and creative. I figured out the who at some point but had to wait until the reveal to learn the why. Yes, Kate had another perilous moment but at least when these are happening now, it’s unforeseen and not due to her taking ill-advised risks. Listening to the story made it even more exciting as the narrator is so skilled at storytelling and uses her voice to heighten the suspense when things get dicey. I like that this ended with a resolution that was still murky, leaving me to ponder the decisions made that ignited everything. That’s a great ending.
- Release Date: July 16, 2019
- Series: Kate Burkholder #11
- Narrator: Kathleen McInerney
- Audio Length: 9 hours, 14 minutes
- Publisher: Macmillan Audio