after the storm book coverReviewed by Caleb Shadis

After the Storm is the seventh book in the Kate Burkholder series and I discovered that I’ve missed four of them in the middle! I have a lot of catching up to do. I’m glad to see that Castillo has kept up the quality of her stories and the series is still going strong.

Kate is the Sheriff of a small town in Ohio with a large Amish community. Many years ago, Kate herself was a member of this community. Now she is doing more that upsets her family–she’s living with a man (another law enforcement agent) and they are not married.

For the first time in a long time, Kate has been invited to her brother’s place. She’ll be bringing her man.  Things get a little tense and just when they seem to smooth out, Kate gets a phone call about a tornado heading toward town. She quickly notifies her family and leaves the party early to try and warn as many as she can and be prepared to help those who need it afterward.

Like a compass toward a lodestone, the tornado hits the trailer park. Lots of people are hurt and plenty of property is damaged. During the cleanup, a boy scout troop working on an old farm yard comes across some bones that appear human. Turns out they are, and according to the coroner, it’s likely that whomever the bones belonged to died a gruesome death. And the fact the bones were hidden under the barn suggests foul play.

So Kate has a 30-year-old murder, the death of an infant and some relationship issues with John to deal with–at the same time. She needs to juggle them all to do her job well while also dealing with the knowledge that someone is trying to kill her.

I enjoyed After the Storm just as much as the first two books I read in this series and I do plan to read the four I missed! While these do take place in Amish country and Amish often play important roles in the stories, these are not Cozy Mysteries. The crimes are often brutal (which murder generally is) and the descriptions could make the squeamish cringe, but neither is a focus of the book. Kate is always the focus and her fight to do her job well no matter what life throws at her makes these books worthwhile.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Caleb is a software engineer and amateur woodworker living in southern Minnesota. He has more hobbies than he has time or money for, and enjoys his quiet time reading.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Minotaur Books. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.