From Publishers Weekly
In this overwrought thriller from Castillo, her second after Sworn to Silence
, someone slaughters all seven members of the Amish Plank family at their home in Painters Mill, Ohio. The bodies of the two teenage daughters show signs of torture. At first, it appears the father, Amos, killed his wife and five children, then shot himself. When clues point to a killer outside the family, Kate Burkholder, the local police chief who left the Amish community decades before, zeroes in on 15-year-old Mary, who may have flirted with the idea of living in the English world. Lending a hand is Kate's on-again/off-again boyfriend, John Tomasetti, an agent suspended from the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and Identification for failing a recent drug test in the wake of his own family's murder about two years earlier. Castillo excels at detailing gory crime scenes, but she leaves Kate and John as little more than cookies cut from the same troubled cop mold. Author tour. (June)
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Painters Mill is an idyllic small town in Ohio’s Amish country. But even the most peaceful of landscapes is not immune to violent crime. The second installment in Castillo’s strong series (after Sworn to Silence, 2009) finds Police Chief Kate Burkholder once again face-to-face with pure evil. This time around it’s the murder of the Planks, an Amish family who invited trouble when pretty 15-year-old daughter Mary became enamored with a non-Amish man, who seduced her and documented their sexual episodes on tape. The case rattles Burkholder, who left the Amish faith as a teenager after she was raped by an Amish man. Helping her through the stressful investigation is John Tomasetti, a big-city cop battling his own demons (his wife and young daughters were murdered a few years before). The two had a brief affair, but time has passed and both have hesitations about rekindling the romance. They have plenty to distract them as they search for a killer who may have more sinister acts in store. Though the plot fizzles a bit at the end, a unique setting and a very human heroine make this a good recommendation for readers seeking an alternative to the urban whodunit. --Allison Block