Release Date: Jul 7, 2020
Imprint: Minotaur Books
Kate Burkholder left the Amish way of life many years ago and is now the Chief of Police in her hometown of Painter’s Mill, Ohio. Katie’s childhood friend, Adam Lengacher, is a widower with three young children. Adam discovers a woman half frozen and wounded on the side of the road during a snowstorm who asks him to contact Kate. When Kate arrives at Adam’s farm, she is shocked to see the woman he has rescued is her old friend from their police academy days, Gina Colorosa. Gina is being accused of committing serious crimes but she claims her old unit in Columbus is crooked. Kate wants to help her old friend, but can tell she’s holding something back. Will she be able to figure out what’s really going on before innocent lives are placed in danger.
This book is part of an ongoing series. I’ve only read a couple of the prior books and short stories and I had no problems enjoying the book. Readers who are new to the author should be aware that this series is full of gritty mysteries and is not the sweet, gentle stories common in a lot of Amish fiction. “Outsider” lets you know up front who most of the villains are and is more of a thriller as Kate, Gina, and others are in danger. The atmosphere becomes tense as Kate learns more and more about what her former friend has been involved in during the last few years. I like Kate and enjoyed learning more about her background through the flashbacks included throughout the book. She doesn’t have a lot of scenes with state agent John Tomasetti, but from what we see of the two, they make a great couple. The information about Amish customs is interesting and from what I know about that culture, the look at Amish life seems to be realistic and not overly romanticized.
Even though Gina is in danger throughout the book, I just couldn’t warm to her character. She constantly lies putting everyone around her, including young children, in danger. I understand she was in hiding, but I couldn’t get behind that part of the plot that had her hiding in Adam’s home when it put his children at risk. The book starts somewhat slow, but things quickly pick up and the final confrontation is very dramatic and full of twists and turns. The plot wasn’t my favorite, but Castillo is a skilled author and great at creating interesting characters. I will definitely seek out other books in this series.