Get Blog Posts Via Email

View RSS Feed


AN EVIL HEART by Linda Castillo: Book Review

Returning to Ohio’s Amish Country is always a pleasure because it means spending time with Kate Burkholder, the Painters Mills Chief of Police.   Just days away from her wedding to John Thomasetti, himself a police detective for the state, Kate is called to investigate a particularly brutal death.

Aden Karn, a young Amish man, is riding his bicycle on his way to work, admiring the beauty of the countryside, when he’s struck by a bolt from a crossbow.  It has gone completely through him, sticking out of his back.  Then the killer stands over him, a second bolt is placed in his mouth, and his life is over.

When Kate goes to Karn’s parents and his girlfriend Emily to give them the sad news, they are unbelieving.  According to them and to Emily’s mother as well, Aden was funny, charming, never argued with anyone.  So why was he killed, and in such a barbaric way?

As the investigation progresses, however, certain things seem to point to another side of Aden.  He and his housemate, Wayne Graber, sold a reconditioned truck to one of the local toughs.  When the truck stopped working, Vernon Fisher demanded his down payment back, but Aden refused to return it.  Vernon, in turn, refused to pay the remainder of the price for the non-working truck, so Aden and Wayne went to Vernon’s house in the middle of the night and repossessed it.  Not unexpectedly, feelings ran high between the two men, but Vernon denies owning a crossbow or having any involvement in the death.

In addition, Kate is hearing disquieting stories about Aden and young women in the area. The Amish lead a restricted life until their mid or late teens, at which point many take advantage of rumspringa, literally “running around.”  During rumspringa they can drink, smoke, drive cars, use electricity, even have sexual relations, all of which are forbidden to the adults in the community.  It is hoped that after being a part of the non-Amish world for a period of time, the young people will realize the importance of the Amish way of life and return to it, and approximately ninety percent do.  But, of course, that leaves another ten percent who decide they prefer the alternative way.

Is this what caused Aden Karn’s death?  Did he become too fond of all the “English” things that are normally banned by the Amish?  The more deeply Kate looks into his life during his period of rumspringa, the more possible motives she discovers.

Linda Castillo has written another excellent novel in the Kate Burkholder series.  The novel’s plot is believable, Kate and John are wonderful characters, and the Amish and “English” communities both come alive in An Evil Heart.  You can read more about the author at this website.

Check out the complete Marilyn’s Mystery Reads at her website.  In addition to book review posts, there are sections featuring Golden OldiesPast Masters and Mistresses, and an About Marilyn column that features her opinions about everything to do with mystery novels.


Leave a Reply