Audiobook Review: Gone Missing by Linda Castillo

Gone Missing

Title: Gone Missing (Kate Burkholder #4)

Author: Linda Castillo

Read by: Kathleen McInerney

Category: Mystery

Audio published: June 19, 2012 by Macmillan Audio

Rating: 2½ out of 5 stars

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Rumspringa is the time when Amish teens are allowed to experience life without the rules. It’s an exciting time of personal discovery and growth before committing to the church. But when a young teen disappears without a trace, the carefree fun comes to an abrupt and sinister end, and fear spreads through the community like a contagion.

A missing child is a nightmare to all parents, and never more so than in the Amish community, where family ties run deep. When the search for the presumed runaway turns up a dead body, the case quickly becomes a murder investigation. And chief of Police Kate Burkholder knows that in order to solve this case she will have to call upon everything she has to give not only as a cop, but as a woman whose own Amish roots run deep.

Kate and state agent, John Tomasetti, delve into the lives of the missing teen and discover links to cold cases that may go back years. But will Kate piece together all the parts of this sinister puzzle in time to save the missing teen and the Amish community from a devastating fate? Or will she find herself locked in a fight to the death with a merciless killer?

The Kate Burkholder series is one I keep returning to, even though I’m often more annoyed with them than entertained, but they have so much potential. Kate Burkholder is former Amish and knows the community and customs well. Tomasetti is a tough cop whose had his share of problems in the past, his family was killed and he’s dealt with addiction problems. I listened to the first four in order and I think that colors how I see this one. As a stand-alone I think it would work, you get enough background, but would have missed some of the character development.

Gone Missing just felt too short. The plot is interesting, the Amish teenagers are missing, presumed kidnapped. It doesn’t take much digging to figure out why those specifics kids are being targeted, but the question is who is taking them. There are a few semi-legitimate suspects, but the clue that gives it away is pretty easy to see, although Kate initially dismisses it.

Looking at my review for #3 in the series, I wrote, “the story is told from Kate’s point of view in the first-person present. Now, that does not automatically bother me, but in this case, with this writer and this character it ends up being all about her. It’s a mystery novel, but the focus is on her, her thoughts, how she feels in response to the crime, rather than on the victims or plot. And for her, it’s all so dramatic, everything is “profound,” and this is the first time she’s had to deal with these demons or memories or dark places of her mind. And he’s the first person who’s ever truly understood her.” This one worked much better in this aspect than the previous ones. It isn’t all about Kate, even though she is related to one of the victims. The focus is on the plot, the mystery, and how it affects Tomasetti and her emotionally is secondary.

I also liked the romance between Kate and Tomasetti was not the center of attention. As a matter of fact, they purposefully put it on the back burner during the investigation, but it’s still progressing reasonably without the melodrama that was in the previous novels.

So, if several of my complaints from the other books were fixed here, why the low rating? First, it did feel short, like it wasn’t a full story. Second, Kate missed a few things that she should have caught, and at one point she had a revelation of how all the victims were connected, a connection we, and she,  had already known about for chapters. Third, it was just so repetitive, something that bugs me particularly in audios when you can’t just skim over the third time rumpsringa has been described using almost the same exact paragraph, or when the same phrasing is being repeated over and over. And of course there was the requisite scene where Kate does something incredibly stupid and dangerous, where you know she’s going to get hurt but will still manage to save the day. At least she wasn’t wearing heels at the time.

I wish my library would stop having these available to listen to, because it’s the borrowing for free that keeps me coming back. I certainly wouldn’t pay for them.

Kate Burkholder Mysteries

1. Sworn to Silence
2. Pray for Silence
3. Breaking Silence
4. Gone Missing
4½. Long Lost
5. Her Last Breath

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