Monday, July 08, 2013

Her Last Breath by Linda Castillo

Linda Castillo breaks a reader's heart in the prologue of Her Last Breath, and then broadsides you with the
ending. Since I read so many mysteries, it's not often that I'm taken by surprise when the killer is revealed. The climax was perfect in this latest volume of one of my favorite series.

Kate Burkholder is chief of police in Painters Mill, in Amish country in Ohio. She left the Amish life fifteen years earlier, but she still deals with crimes against the Amish. Even so, it comes as a shock to see the results of a hit-and-run accident, an accident that killed most of an Amish family. It makes it even harder on Kate, though, when she has to tell the surviving spouse, her childhood best friend.

While Kate's department works with the Holmes County Sheriff's Department to find the driver, her investigation leads her to believe that this might not have been an accident. But, who was the intended target? And, who hated an Amish family enough to kill them?

Kate Burkholder remains one of my favorite characters in a series. She's a flawed character, one with her own secrets. Only her brother and sister, along with her best friend and lover, John Tomasetti, know the secret that comes back to haunt her when bones are discovered. But, that secret from her past influences all of her actions, from her rage at the Amish for calmly accepting everything that happens to her fear of committing to Tomasetti. And, she knows of the conflict in her heart. "I don't know what is says about me that I'd rather face off with a couple of pissed-off drunks than look too hard at the things going on in my own life."

Her Last Breath brings back so many memories for Kate, memories of her childhood, some that she'd like to forget, and others that she pushed away. An innocent victim stirs some of those thoughts of "Those formative years, when summer lasted forever, the future held infinite promise - and we still believed in dreams." Kate is very vulnerable in this book, and she realizes it. Between Tomasetti, her childhood friend, and her terrible secret that may finally be revealed, there are moments when she feels trapped. But, Kate Burkholder, even at her most vulnerable, is a strong, determined police officer. And, Linda Castillo gives her every opportunity to demonstrate her strength as well as her weaknesses in this outstanding mystery.

Linda Castillo's website is

Her Last Breath by Linda Castillo. St. Martin's Minotaur. 2013. ISBN 9780312658571 (hardcover), 308p.
FTC Full Disclosure - Library book


Joe Barone said...

OK. You sold me on this one. I just bought and downloaded the book. I've not read this author before. I'm looking forward to it.

Lesa said...

Let me know what you think, Joe. I thought it was terrific. But, then, I've read all the earlier ones, so it will be interesting to see what you think.

Beth Hoffman said...

Well ... when I came to this part of your review: "Since I read so many mysteries, it's not often that I'm taken by surprise when the killer is revealed." I knew I HAD to read this one.

Your review is fantastic, Lesa. This book is going on my "to buy" list right away.

Happy Monday to you and the kitties!

Lesa said...

Totally taken by surprise, Beth. I hope you enjoy it.

Kitties will be very happy today. I'm going home in a half hour to feed them early since I have a book group tonight. They love it when they get to eat early!

Karen C said...

I love Linda Castillo's writing and the Kate Burkholder series. Her Last Breath is on my TBR list.

Lesa said...

You're really going to like this one, Karen. Promise!