Feature Book By Linda Castillo

Down a Dark Road

Cocoa Beach

Down A Dark Road by Linda Castillo is an electrifying thriller. It seems with each book, this being the ninth, she gets better and better. Within a riveting mystery she is able to seamlessly blend the Amish culture, giving glimpses and insights to their way of life.

Once again small town Painters Mill police chief Kate Burkholder is forced to re-visit her childhood past. She is notified about the escape of Joseph King, convicted of killing his wife while his children slept in the same house. This is personal for her since he was her childhood friend and hero who she looked up to. Knowing that Joseph had always denied killing his wife Naomi, Kate begins to wonder if he is guilty or was he railroaded. Although never leaving the Amish community he has become a dark figure after losing his father in an accident.

In this book characters that come to life have readers caring what happens to them. As the mystery unfolds it becomes obvious this is not a cut and dry story that weaves suspense, humor, and a gripping tension.

About the Author Linda Castillo

Originally from Ohio where her Amish thrillers are set, Linda Castillo knew from an early age that she wanted to be a writer--and penned her first novel at the age of thirteen. She's published thirty books for three New York publishing houses and won numerous industry awards, including a nomination by the International Thriller Writers for Best Hardcover, the Golden Heart, the Daphne du Maurier Award of Excellence, and a nomination for the prestigious Rita.

Her debut thriller, Sworn to Silence, garnered starred reviews from Library Journal, Publisher's Weekly, and Booklist--and spent four weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. The following books in the series also hit the NYT and USA Today lists and became international bestsellers. Sworn to Silence was recently adapted into a two-hour original movie re-titled An Amish Murder and starring Neve Campbell as Kate Burkholder.

In her spare time, Linda enjoys trail riding, and dabbles in barrel racing. She resides in Texas with her husband, two rescued Blue Heelers, and two Appaloosa horses.


An Interview with Linda Castillo (Interviewer Elise Cooper)

Elise Cooper: How would you describe Kate?

Linda Castillo: She can be stubborn at times and never gives up.  I also think she can be imperfect and impulsive.  People should be aware that in the first book, Sworn To Silence, her backstory was introduced.  At that time she was a little rough around the edges and a damaged soul that drank way too much.  In later books I speak about her relationship with her siblings who have remained Amish.  I hope to present in future books more of her imperfect childhood.  Although she had a big heart Kate did lash out.  At some point I will examine her relationship with her mother and father who knew she was a rebel of sorts. 

EC: How did you get the idea for the story?

LC: Last year on a book tour I met Gregg Olsen who writes true crime stories.  He told me about an Amish man who had his girl friend murder his wife while children were in the house.  I loosely based this story on that, but changed it considering for the most part the Amish are pacifists.  I made the husband/father the murderer who Kate knew and basically worshipped from her childhood. She never forgot that relationship she had with him while on the cusp of adolescence.

EC: How would you describe Joseph?

LC: An imperfect and flawed man who went down a dark road.  He lost control of his life.  He was not a black and white person, but had a lot of gray.  I am hoping that over the course of the book readers begin to care for and sympathize with him. I put in the scene where he defends his horse after someone threw an egg at the animal when he was only thirteen, and another time he comes to Kate and her sisterís defense.  These scenes show how the English have participated in crimes against the Amish that also include throwing live firecrackers, bottles, and rocks into their buggies. 

EC: Kate seems to make some rookie mistakes as a police officer?

LC: I read this book Youíre The Only Cop In Town about small town police work.  Occasionally she is on her own because of the small police force. After I attended several police academies I found that sometimes they do take risks.  I did not want to write her as perfect and she will make mistakes.  This makes for a suspenseful plot.

EC: You put different tidbits about the Amish. Please explain.

LC: Family trumps all considering they are a strong and tightknit community.  When something bad happens they circle the wagons and step in to help.  Although Kate left the Amish she still misses this. They try to maintain their culture by keeping their children under their thumbs, which is something Kate did not conform with.  I show that in a scene in this book where she played ice hockey after being encouraged by Joseph; yet, her parents tried to steer her away.  Probably because they are a male dominated patriarchal society where the husband has the final say.  I think the scenes show this when Amish women interviewed by Kate are told by their husbands to get inside the house. 

EC: You also put in some phrases used by the Amish community.  Why?

LC: I hope it is a way to add to the authenticity to the plot.  I did it in a conversational way to make sure it flows with the story.  I have grown to love this language, Pennsylvania Dutch.

EC: A lot of authors have given their characters pets.  Will Kate get a furry friend?

LC: I am thinking of it because I want to keep the characters growing. Possibly a dog. I love dogs and now have two Blue Heelers.  In the past I have had labs. As a foster parent I ended up keeping most of the dogs.  Once, when we lived in Dallas we fostered a chocolate lab that we ended up adopting and loved as you would a child.  Another time, after just losing a dog, I was in the vetís office and saw them feeding every hour this dog who was emaciated and covered with scabs.  I decided to take this dog and nursed it back to health.  This was the most beautiful and gentle yellow lab I had ever seen. 

EC: What do you want readers to get out of this story?

LC: I hope they enjoy the mystery and the backstory on Kateís life, her mindset, feelings, and passions.  Maybe people will remember their past relationships and the impact they had on their life.

EC: Can you give a heads up on your next book?

LC: We have just decided on the title, A Gathering Of Secrets.  The plot centers on an Amish barn fire where Kate works her way through the evidence to discover what happened and why.




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