Book review: ‘Down a Dark Road’ by Linda Castillo

By LARRY BALLWAHN | Wilton

Chief Kate Burkholder grew up with Joseph King. Like Kate, he was Amish at the time, a neighbor and her first love. After his father died in a buggy accident, Joseph changed, and they lost touch until now, 20 years later.

A year ago, Joseph had been convicted of the shotgun murder of his wife. And now he had escaped from prison. Since his five children had been placed with an aunt near Painter’s Mill, it was possible he would turn up there. Smart money was on a quick escape as far away as possible, perhaps Canada.

Of course, it wouldn’t be much of a story if he hadn’t returned. Through a series of events, he not only returns to claim his children, but manages to chase away the aunt and uncle and force Kate into the house — a hostage situation. He doesn’t want Kate as a hostage, though; he needs her help to prove his innocence.

In the meantime, all of the police in the area have arrived, including the SWAT squad. Lights are flashing, negotiating attempts are being made, and Kate is trying to get Joseph to accept what she feels is reason. Among other things, this is too dangerous for the children. At this point, the reader sees no good way out of the situation. King must sleep sometime, he’s badly outnumbered, etc.

That’s where it stands when Kate is sent away to find out what she can. Her pleas for leniency fall on deaf ears as Joe is seen as a desperate killer and her observations as the naive beliefs resulting from her former friendship. Even if he is innocent, which is doubtful, how is she going to have time to prove that to save Joseph?

With a good deal of old-fashioned detective work, it begins to look like King could possibly be innocent. But how to prove it to the skeptical? And why are they so hell bent to bring this to a conclusion regardless? The original set of “facts” appear distorted. As this is uncovered, the regular reader of the Burkholder books begins to see the formula emerge. Kate is going to be put in at least one more life-threatening situation before the conclusion of the book. The mystery at this point, besides the one central to story, is who or what will save her?

It is usually my wife Arlis who finds factual or editorial mistakes in a book. Though not necessarily central elements to the story, they can be distracting. I found two factual errors right away but did not note others. Castillo uses the terms “rifle” and “shotgun” interchangeably early in the book. Also, there is the “flash of a sunfish” in the creek below. Unless the sunfish escaped from a nearby lake, that is very unlikely. That said, I included them in the review just to prove that I was paying attention.

“Down a Dark Road” is a good mystery. Though it is a part of a series, you can, and perhaps should, pick it up and read it now. It stands up very well, even if you haven’t read the previous books.

Comments are closed.

  • Royall schools opening for summer activities

    July 9th, 2020
    by

    Royall will open its facilities for summer activities, the board of education decided in a special meeting Tuesday.


    Marking the Fourth in Ontario

    July 8th, 2020
    by

                          


    ‘The Death & Life of the Great Lakes’ by Dan Egan

    July 8th, 2020
    by

    Soon the most-coveted liquid will not be petroleum; it will be freshwater.


    Kendall’s Labor Day weekend celebration canceled

    July 6th, 2020
    by

    The Kendall Community Club faced the same Covid-19 issues that forced many other festivals to cancel their annual event.


    County Line delivery delayed to rural Ontario customers

    July 3rd, 2020
    by

    The U.S. Postal Service has not delivered this week’s County Line to rural Ontario subscribers, and we haven’t been able […]


  • Brookwood graduation is July 24

    July 2nd, 2020
    by

    Brookwood’s graduation is slated for Friday, July 24, but the nature of the ceremony will be determined by Monroe County’s Coulee Covid-19 Compass risk rating on Wednesday, July 22.


    Book review: ‘Winterkill’ by C.J. Box

    July 1st, 2020
    by

    Joe Pickett is a game warden in Wyoming’s Bighorn Mountains.


    Ontario Public Library to begin phase two of reopening plan

    June 30th, 2020
    by

    On Monday, July 6 we will begin phase two of our reopening plan, which allows you to make an appointment to use the library internet, computers, and printing services.


    Phase one of Wilton Public Library reopening starts July 6

    June 30th, 2020
    by

    On July 6, Wilton Library will begin phase one of reopening by taking limited library appointments.


    Kendall Gathering and All-School Reunion canceled

    June 29th, 2020
    by

    The Kendall Gathering and All-School Reunion has been canceled for 2020.


    Motorcyclist severely injured in Wellington crash

    June 27th, 2020
    by

    A motorcyclist sustained possible life-threatening injuries in a Thursday crash on Midway Avenue in the town of Wellington, according to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.


  • Archives