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Shamed

Review

Shamed

SHAMED will hold a special place in my heart and mind going forward. We will get to the reason why shortly. There is otherwise still much to love in this latest installment of Linda Castillo’s long-running (over a decade! When did that happen?) Kate Burkholder series. Castillo moves the Painters Mill, Ohio police chief just a bit outside of her comfort zone as she races to solve a tantalizing mystery that has its roots in the past and holds the life of an innocent child in the balance. The result is a story with a clock that ticks so loudly one can hear nothing else from the first page to the last.

Things get moving rather quickly in SHAMED due to a murder and a kidnapping. The victim is Mary Yoder, an Amish woman who is shepherding two of her granddaughters through the act of harvesting walnuts on an abandoned farm. However, the trio is there for only a short time before Mary is murdered in a brutal attack, and seven-year-old Elsie, the elder of the two girls, is abducted. Kate, who was raised in the Amish way but left the community, is able to get the story of what happened from the other child, but none of it makes sense. Mary had no known enemies. Still, Kate suspects that Elsie’s parents, who are highly respected in the Amish community, are concealing something important about their missing daughter.

"I would not have expected anyone to successfully continue to mine a relatively small rural area for so many interesting and intriguing stories for so long, but Castillo has done the job and then some."

Kate initiates some old-fashioned detective work with modern data gathering, and discovers that a number of things involving Elsie and her family don’t add up. Answers yield more questions, which in turn lead Kate to the local bishop --- who had been her nemesis as a young woman --- and then from Holmes County in northeastern Ohio to Scioto County in the southern part of the state, where the Amish population is more thinly distributed. I particularly enjoyed the portions of SHAMED that take place there, given that I worked in the vicinity for several years. Castillo’s descriptions of the primary and secondary roads, as well as the tiny hamlets and townships that pepper the area, are dead-on accurate and brought back memories, both good and otherwise, of the local geography.

Kate finds the answers to most of her questions, but not the main one, that being the location and fate of Elsie. One can hear the clock ticking throughout the book --- Castillo helpfully notes how long the girl has been missing at the commencement of each chapter --- and the suspense builds, even as Kate gets closer and the clever instigator goes to ground. However, he is not the only one to blame, and it will take Kate’s return to Holmes County for all to be properly revealed.

I would not have expected anyone to successfully continue to mine a relatively small rural area for so many interesting and intriguing stories for so long, but Castillo has done the job and then some. It appears that she has any number of tales left to tell --- and on the strength of SHAMED and what has gone before, I want to read every one of them.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on July 19, 2019

Shamed
by Linda Castillo

  • Publication Date: July 16, 2019
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books
  • ISBN-10: 1250142865
  • ISBN-13: 9781250142863