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Her Last Breath: A Novel (Kate Burkholder) Hardcover – June 18, 2013

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* A tragic case hits close to home when an Amish farmer and two of his three special-needs children are killed in a dreadful traffic accident, widowing Mattie Borntrager, the closest childhood friend of Kate Burkholder, police chief of Painters Mill, Ohio. When evidence indicates that the hit-and-run may have been premeditated, Kate’s probing for motive causes her to question whether beautiful, grieving Mattie, who was like a sister to Kate before she left the Amish faith, is being fully forthcoming. Diverting Kate from solving this all-consuming case is the discovery of the remains of the rapist she shot in self-defense 17 years earlier—an incident that was covered up by her family and now threatens her career, if not her life, plus her burgeoning relationship with FBI agent John Tomasetti, who wants a commitment from the skittish Kate. The Amish setting, an intrinsic aspect of these mysteries, continues to add depth and texture in the fifth entry (after Gone Missing, 2012). But it’s Kate Burkholder who’s the heart of Castillo’s masterful series, a rare protagonist who bares her soul in her first-person narration. This compelling mystery combines increasing nuance and complexity with heart-stopping action. --Michele Leber

Review

This compelling mystery combines increasing nuance and complexity with heart-stopping action. (Booklist (starred review))

A fast-paced mystery that will leave readers stunned. (Kirkus (Starred Review) on Her Last Breath)

Exciting . . . Castillo ratchets up the tension nicely before the disconcerting ending. (Publishers Weekly on Gone Missing)

Castillo melds deeply flawed characters with a glimpse into a unique community in which isolation can hide a plethora of secrets. (Publishers Weekly on Breaking Silence)

Shades of In Cold Blood . . . Another chilling thriller. (People on Pray for Silence)

Compelling characters, excellent plotting and a hair-raising finale. (USA Today on Sworn to Silence)

Absolutely stunning. . . . A perfectly crafted thriller. (Lisa Scottoline on Sworn to Silence)

Shades of In Cold Blood . . . Another chilling thriller. (People magazine on Pray for Silence)
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Product Details

  • Series: Kate Burkholder (Book 5)
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; First Edition edition (June 18, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312658575
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312658571
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (347 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #335,997 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Linda Castillo knew from an early age that she wanted to be a writer--and penned her first novel at the age of thirteen. She's published thirty books for three New York publishing houses and won numerous industry awards, including a nomination by the International Thriller Writers for Best Hardcover, the Golden Heart, the Daphne du Maurier Award of Excellence, and a nomination for the prestigious Rita.

Her debut thriller, SWORN TO SILENCE, garnered starred reviews from Library Journal, Publisher's Weekly, and Booklist--and spent four weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. The following books in the series also hit the NYT and USA Today lists and became international bestsellers. Recently, SWORN TO SILENCE was adapted into a two-hour original movie re-titled AN AMISH MURDER and starring Neve Campbell as Kate Burkholder.

In her spare time, Linda enjoys trail riding, and dabbles in barrel racing. She resides in Texas with her husband, two rescued Blue Heelers, and two Appaloosa horses. She's currently at work on her next novel, a thriller set in Amish Country and featuring Chief of Police Kate Burkholder.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Susan Johnson VINE VOICE on May 3, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is the fifth of the Kate Burkholder series and by far, the best. It can be read as a stand alone. You don't need to have read the other preceding books to enjoy this action-packed story that left me guessing to the end. It even had a cliff hanger which made me hungry to dig into the next one right away.

Kate, is a Chief of Police of Painters Mill, where she grew up Amish. She has left the faith so many people she grew up with shun her now. One of the best things about this series is a peek into a life that I know very little about- the Amish. This story involves her best childhood friend, Mattie. Matties's husband and two of her children are killed by a hit-and-run driver while driving their buggy home. One of her children is injured but survives. It turns out not to be an accident but murder.

As she struggles with the case, Kate is, also, stuggling with her relationship with John Tomasetti, a fellow law enforcement officer. Kate is finding herself falling in love with him while resisting it at the same time. Another crinkle develops when a crime from Katie's past starts to emerge.

This was exciting book to read. I could barely put it down and read it in two days. I have found some of her previous books a little gruesome but that was not the case here. It was suspenseful and I did not completely figure out the ending by the end. This is a great summer read that'll keep you up nights because you'll want to see what happens next.
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful By E. Burian-Mohr TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 2, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Linda Castillo's "Her Last Breath," the fifth in the Kate Burkholder series, opens with a warm Amish family moment: Datt and the three kids heading home in their buggy after a visit to the doctor and ice cream for all. It's getting dark and starting to rain. They stop at the intersection, then cautiously start across when a car blasts of nowhere, broadsiding them, splintering the buggy, and scattering the father, the horse, and the three children. The driver doesn't stop. The remains are discovered by the next passerby.

By the time Chief Kate Burkholder arrives on the scene, the horse and two of the kids are dead. The father is breathing his last breaths. The third child is clinging to life. Kate realizes she knows the father. Kate grew up in Painter's Mill, raised Amish, though she eventually left the fold. The victim was, in fact, married to her best friend growing up - an exceptionally beautiful woman named Mattie.

The more Kate investigates, the more she becomes convinced that this was no accident. The family was, in fact, brutally murdered on a quiet byway.

The book is a real page-turner. Castillo sets up the tension and keeps pushing. And, while reading all the Kate Burkholder books in order is a good way to proceed, each stands on its own. One does wonder if Painter's Mill is the Jessica Fletcher's Cabot Cove of Amish country, because every time we visit, a handful of people are brutally murdered. So while I'd suggest reading the books, I wouldn't want to live there.

Here, then, is my Top Ten List of What is Great About "Her Last Breath."

10. All of Chief Burkholder's team is memorable, each with unique interesting personalities. They have their quirks, their own sense of humor, and their supportiveness.
Read more ›
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Kristin on October 14, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I've read all of the Kate Burkholder books and thought this was the most disappointing for a few reasons. First, the ending of the mystery was completely predictable. Second, after 5 books, the starts and stops of the romantic storyline are getting old and the impediments to the relationship are really unclear beyond Kate's endless ruminating of how complicated she is. Finally, without giving a spoiler, will Kate ever learn to call for backup BEFORE checking out a suspicious situation or NOT get personally involved in a case? While these were interesting twists to the first case, after 5 books, she just seems ill suited to police work.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Catherine Spangler on July 4, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Linda Castillo is an auto-buy for me and her latest book, HER LAST BREATH, did not disappoint. It had all the elements that make Castillo's books page-turners: A gruesome, heinous crime (that first appears to be an accident), a fascinating look into the Amish culture, gritty police procedural and action, and characters so real, they could step off the page. Sheriff Kate Burkholder is the lead character throughout this series, and although she's tough and fiercely independent, deep down she's also vulnerable. In this story, we get to see that side of her, as she grapples with the unfolding relationship between her and John Tomasetti, a damaged, take-no-prisoners State Agent. Add an intense and fast-moving plot, and two surprising twists at the end, and you have one heck of a great story.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Barbara Saffer on July 27, 2014
Format: Hardcover
In the Amish region of Ohio an Amish man and two of his children are killed in a hit and run incident and Chief of Police Kate Burkholder (formerly Amish) investigates. I enjoyed the book very much up until the end which I thought was overly contrived and not believable. I also wish the issue of Daniel Lapp's death (killed by Kate when she was 14) would get resolved already. It comes up in every book and in this story feels like it's tacked on just for form's sake
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