“Her Last Breath” by Linda Castillo
Speaking of breath, I held mine while reading this latest novel by Castillo. As typical of this author’s quality of work, “Her Last Breath” is another shocking story centering on the lives of the Amish.
An Amish family of five is reduced to two when a senseless slaying occurs. Coming back from a weekly visit with the doctor at dusk, Paul Borntrager slowly leads his horse and buggy and his three special needs children cautiously through an intersection only to be hit by speeding vehicle. Two of the three children and Paul die.
Mattie, the mother is crushed and grieves when she hears of their deaths. She nurtures her sole remaining child David back to health. But that’s not the end, not even close. Discovering that it was not just an accident and unsure if Mattie or Paul was the target of someone’s rage, Kate Burkholder, Chief of Police in Painter’s Mill leads up the investigation and tries to protect Mattie and David from further happenstance.
But Kate is working through personal issues of her own involving a lover—whether or not she should take a chance and commit—and her sordid past that is coming back to haunt her. Kate feels the sting from the loss of the Borntrager family because she is not only ex-Amish but also because Mattie was her best friend while growing up. Devastation after hardship spins Kate through a spiraling tunnel, only to end up being the killer’s target when she gets too close to the truth of the murder of the Borntragers. When I read who was behind the deaths and the calamity surrounding it, I was astounded. I wasn’t right about one person I suspected.
Castillo has always been able to—and probably will always do so—flabbergast me. Another fantastic story.