Author of Amish mysteries
thrills with ‘Her Last Breath’
With Her Last Breath, fifth in Linda Castillo’s Kate Burkholder series about an Amish-raised police chief in a tiny Holmes County town, Castillo has delivered a fine, gritty mystery that will intrigue followers of this popular series, with a plot that would be perfectly plausible even if it were not set in an Amish community.
Kate is called to the scene of a horrifying wreck one rainy evening. A speeding vehicle has struck a buggy carrying a father and his three children; only one little boy survives, and the driver doesn’t stick around to call for help. Before she can investigate, Kate must notify the new widow — who once was her best friend.
The story is a procedural, stripped of the development of supporting characters that Castillo’s been working on throughout the series. It’s all about Kate, her case and her beau, John Tomasetti, who’s bought a house in Wooster and is wearing Kate down asking her to move in with him. She’s putting him off, and not only because her case is occupying all her time. A devastating secret she’s kept for decades is in danger of exposure, and Kate is scrambling to see that it doesn’t ruin her career.
Her Last Breath (320 pages, hardcover) costs $25.99 from Minotaur. Castillo grew up in Ithaca, Ohio, a village in Darke County, and now lives in Texas. Her website, http://lindacastillo.com, announces Long Lost, an e-short story about Kate and Tomasetti. It costs 99 cents from online retailers.
Castillo will sign her book at 2 p.m. Wednesday at the Lake Community branch of the Stark County District Library, 11955 Market Ave. NW, Uniontown; at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the library’s Perry Sippo branch, 5710 12th St. NW, Perry Township; at noon Thursday at the Dover Public Library, 525 N. Walnut St.; and at 7 p.m. Thursday (call 330-653-2252 for location) as part of the Learned Owl Book Shop’s Book Club in a Bar series.
Painting Bridges, a debut novel by Shaker Heights author Patricia Averbach, is set in 1976 in a small town in western New York, which is regarded as pretty much of a backwater by Samantha Crawford’s parents.
Sam, a former Clevelander, was stunned by the death of her husband and baby daughter in a car accident, and now, 18 months later, she’s grieving just as deeply as when it happened. Her mother-in-law chauffeurs her to the grocery store because Sam’s afraid to drive; her well-off parents in Cleveland pester her with entreaties to return to finish her college education and become a doctor like everyone else in the family. Sam doesn’t want to do anything at all.
When a deaf 7-year-old girl meanders into her yard, Sam learns that the child’s mother has abandoned her and that her father, Jerry, had known Sam’s late husband. With misgivings, Sam agrees to baby-sit Tara until Jerry can make other arrangements. Jerry has received conflicting opinions on educating Tara: A doctor has told him she’ll grow up “stupid and empty” if she doesn’t learn sign language, but Sam has found books that say learning oral language is Tara’s only hope. The local schools offer no programs for her.
When Margo, Tara’s mother, reappears, determined to regain a place in her daughter’s life, Sam and Jerry form a united front against allowing Margo to influence Tara’s future. They are informed that there has been “a revolution in deaf education,” and their convictions seem less certain. Things get heated, and Sam finds herself drawn much more into the situation — and into the world — than she planned.
Painting Bridges (231 pages, softcover) costs $18 from Huron’s Bottom Dog Press.
Barnes & Noble Booksellers (198 Crocker Park Blvd., Westlake) — Janet Evanovich, bestselling creator of the wildly popular Stephanie Plum series, and Lee Goldberg, author of the Monk mysteries, sign The Heist, first in a new series about a female FBI agent, 6 p.m. Tuesday.
Cuyahoga County Public Library (Strongsville branch, 18700 Westwood Dr.) — Taylor Stevens signs The Doll, third installment in her Vanessa Michael Munroe thriller series, 7 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday. Registration requested; call 440-238-5530. From 7 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, psychotherapist Belleruth Naparstek, author of three books about guided imagery, talks about the benefit of the technique.
Akron-Summit County Public Library (60 S. High St., Akron) — Loyola University Maryland professor Ron Tanner, author of From Animal House to Our House: A Love Story, talks about his rehabilitation of a decrepit fraternity house into an 1897 Victorian showplace, 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Visible Voice Books (1023 Kenilworth Ave., Cleveland) — Former Cuyahoga County Chief Deputy Recorder John Kandah signs The Price of Honor: The Cuyahoga County Corruption Scandal, 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday.
Learned Owl Book Shop (204 N. Main St., Hudson) — Kim Firestone, proprietor of Firestone’s Culinary Tavern in Frederick, Md., and grandson of Harvey Firestone, talks about his family background and his book Reflections on a Silver Spoon: How a Foodie Found Home, 1 p.m. Saturday.
Cuyahoga County Public Library (Parma Heights branch, 6206 Pearl Road) — Denise Dalton discusses her inspirational novel The Worship Room, 2 to 3 p.m. Saturday.
— Barbara McIntyre
Special to the Beacon Journal
Send information about books of local interest to Lynne Sherwin, Features Department, Akron Beacon Journal, P.O. Box 640, Akron, OH 44309 or email@example.com. Event notices should be sent at least two weeks in advance.