"Gone Missing" is the fourth installment of the Kate Berkholder crime series (I've read them all). I was initially intrigued with the idea of a strong female character who was once Amish, but has left the life and become Chief of Police in a predominantly Amish community. In the first three novels, some pretty terrifying crimes were committed in Kate's small hometown of Painter's Mill, Ohio. The question looming, in my mind, was how many murders can actually happen in a small town like this? Something was going to have to change in order for this series to continue to be believable.
Synopsis: A number of Amish teenagers have turned up missing over the last handful of years, presumed runaways. Those investigating, including John Tomasetti (Kate's long-distance love interest and fellow cop), know that an Amish teen is allowed a brief period of time to sow their wild oats, called Rumspringa, before they are baptized. So the assumption is that these kids have experienced a little freedom, and have run for the hills. Then one girl's body is discovered, and the case takes a sinister turn. Because Kate understands the Amish culture and speaks Pennsylvania Dutch, Tomasetti feels that her presence on the case would help open doors to a group of people that generally distrust outsiders. Kate is hired by the investigative team to assist.
My thoughts: I was pleased to see that Castillo took Kate out of Painter's Mill for most of this installment. Pretty soon Painter's Mill was going to have a higher crime rate per capita than Miami! I was also pleased that she retained Tomasetti for his dude-ish presence and rescuing services...he is a nice distraction AND he isn't a bad investigator either.
Kate continues to be the main attraction though. She is damaged and defiant and fierce. She isn't a pushover either...she is taking her time in the romance department. I just recently read that the first in the series, "Sworn to Silence" will be a two-hour television movie starring Neve Campbell. I'm pretty happy with that casting...she is exactly how I would have imagined her.
The mystery in this story was well-devised, with a few red herrings and a complicated structure. Castillo does a great job with her plots. The dialogue? Not that clever or snappy. On audio, it falls a little flat, and always has. But the characters and action (which is always pretty bloody) make up for it.
A few words about the audio production: It is always nice when a series maintains the same narrator, in this case Kathleen McInerney, who does a decent job. Her voice has become that of Kate, and I'd miss her if they replaced her. The one issue that I've had, however, since the very beginning, is the way she portrays Tomasetti. It just...bothers me. She lowers her voice, and makes it breathy and sultry. He sounds like a sleazy lounge lizard!! I've long since gotten past this, and she can't change it now, but I feel compelled to mention it.
Audiobook length: 10 hours and 9 minutes (288 pages)
3.5 out of 5 stars