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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

An Evil Heart

Book 15 of 15: Kate Burkholder

Narrator: Kathleen McInerney

Macmillan Audio

ISBN: 9781250781086

Publisher: St. Martin's Press, Minotaur Books

Publication Date: 07/11/2023

Format: Audiobook

My Rating: 5 Stars (ARC)

Chief of Police Kate Burkholder investigates the brutal death of a young Amish man in An Evil Heart, the latest installment of the bestselling series by Linda Castillo.

On a crisp autumn day in Painters Mill, Chief of Police Kate Burkholder responds to a call only to discover an Amish man who has been violently killed with a crossbow, his body abandoned on a dirt road. Aden Karn was just twenty years old, well liked, and from an upstanding Amish family. Who would commit such a heinous crime against a young man whose life was just beginning?

The more Kate gets to know his devastated family and the people—both English and Amish—who loved him, the more determined she becomes to solve the case. Aden Karn was funny and hardworking and looking forward to marrying his sweet fiancé, Emily. All the while, Kate’s own wedding day to Tomasetti draws near...

But as she delves into Karn’s past, Kate begins to hear whispers about a dark side. What if Aden Karn wasn’t the wholesome young man everyone admired? Is it possible the rumors are a cruel campaign to blame the victim? Kate pursues every lead with a vengeance, sensing an unspeakable secret no one will broach.

The case spirals out of control when a young Amish woman comes forward with a horrific story that pits Kate against a dangerous and unexpected opponent. When the awful truth is finally uncovered, Kate comes face to face with the terrible consequences of a life lived in all the dark places.

My Review

NYT bestselling author Linda Castillo returns with her popular Amish series, Kate Burkholder #15, with her latest, AN EVIL HEART —A riveting emotional suspense crime/cop thriller mystery of a brutal death of an Amish man and more.

A shocking new case that begins with a vicious murder and gets darker from there.

"Nailbiting! Castillo's commendable storytelling will keep fans eagerly waiting for the next Kate Burkholder installment.

Kate Burkholder is the Chief of Police in Painters Mill, Ohio. She grew up Amish, and though she left that life behind, many cases bring her into daily contact with this community.

It is autumn in Ohio, and she has a new case to solve before Kate can return to her wedding plans.

A young Amish teen, Aden Karn, age 21, was on his bike on Hansbarger Road (a backroad), saw something in the ditch, and stopped. The person has a crossbow and aims it at him. One shot and a second one. Then he is gone. DEAD. According to the forensics, this was a brutal murder and close-up.

Kate spends time investigating his family, co-workers, girlfriend, Emily Byler (age 17), and her family. Her family thought they would be married one day. Was he targeted or an accident? It was not self-inflicted, so someone was waiting for him on the way to or from work.

Then there was the business with an old truck. Aden and Wayne (his roommate) bought the beat-up truck, made repairs, and sold it to Vernon Fisher (gas station owner). Then it stopped running. He was mad and stopped paying. So the boys went to his house and repossessed it.

Does this have to do with the truck or something else? At the start of the investigation, it seems everyone liked the nice Amish boy Aden, but others come forward later, and it appears he may have had a temper and a dark evil side. A sexual predator?

Kate is also planning her upcoming long-awaited wedding that is drawing near within a week or so with John Tomasetti. Her family is planning a wedding at her brother's farm. Her sister, Sarah, is excited about the wedding. Kate has not been Amish for eighteen years. She will try to blend the two cultures.

In addition to being the chief of police, Kate is trained as an emergency medical technician. She is razor sharp, intelligent, has excellent instincts, and is compassionate.

Tomasetti is also in the business and works for the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation. They met when he assisted on one of her cases. A total match. I love these two together! —They remind me of Karen Slaughter's Will Trent and Sarah Linton. And Lisa Gardner's DD Warren and Alex. John is strong and has had to overcome tragedy like Kate. The murder of his wife and two children almost killed him. He is now working on a kidnapping case.

Kate's investigation becomes more complex as a young woman is found dead, wrapped in plastic thrown off a bridge. Do the two cases connect? She needs a motive. She is missing something. Who hated Aden enough to ambush him on a lonely back road and end his life with a crossbow? Who would kill a young woman and brutally assault her?

The case spirals out of control when a young Amish woman presents a horrific story that pits Kate against a dangerous and unexpected opponent. When the awful truth is finally uncovered, Kate faces the terrible consequences. The masks people wear and how they contrast with the personas they present to the rest of the world.

Often the monsters are in front of us, and the evil lurks among us where things (or persons) are not always as they appear. There is so much more to the story in AN EVIL HEART (fitting title), so you MUST READ to find out!

I LOVED this book!

AN EVIL HEART is a superb and timely thriller full of devious twists, disturbing evil secrets, and shocking surprises you won't see coming. Riveting, fast-paced suspense that will have you hooked from the first page to the conclusion, anxiously awaiting the next in the series.

Readers, this is not a cozy mystery but an edge-of-your-seat real deal! Yes, the Amish are human, too, and as evil and cold-hearted as the English, as we find here. Well-developed characters, a twisty plot, expert writing, and an unstoppable main character.

AUDIOBOOK: Do yourself a favor and be sure and get the audiobook! I am a big fan of narrator Kathleen McInerney (a favorite), and here she was, KILLER! A perfect match for Kate and Linda. Seeing Kathleen's name swayed me to listen, but after finishing, I am now sold on Linda Castillo and this series.

This is the first book I have read in the series, and yes, it can be read as a standalone; however, I am dying to purchase all the audiobooks in the series—Highly impressive! I connected with Linda on Twitter and started looking for her books. This is what I found, and wow, was I hooked. I adore Kate - strong and resilient! I love her personality, and the blending with her personal life and the Amish was seamless.

Triggers: Sexual assault, drugging, and rape.

I enjoyed the e-book and audiobook. Get this gem on your TBR for summer!

Thanks to #MinotaurBooks #StMartinsPress for a gifted ARC and #MacmillanAudio for an ALC via #NetGalley. All opinions expressed here are my own.

@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks

Pub Date: July 11, 2023

My Rating: 5 STARS


“Characters you care about and a cleareyed look at their unique culture make this series the best of the Amish bunch.”

―Kirkus Reviews

"Castillo’s punchy prose and well-developed characters keep the pages turning... Series fans will be eager for the next entry."

―Publishers Weekly


—People Magazine


—USA Today


—Publisher's Weekly

Kate Burkholder Series

About the Author

Linda Castillo is the author of the New York Times and USA Today bestselling Kate Burkholder 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, the Mystery Writers of America’s Sue Grafton Memorial Award, and an appearance on the Boston Globe’s shortlist for best crime novel. In addition to writing, Castillo’s other passion is horses. She lives in Texas with her husband and is currently at work on her next book.







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