Review of "Outsider" by Linda Castillo.
Book reviewed by author R. D. Kardon
I love detective series.
I jumped at the chance to read and review Linda Castillo’s latest in the Kate Burkholder series, Outsider. Before I even cracked the spine, I felt of Burkholder as a new friend, someone whose life and career I could follow in increments, book by book, case by case.
This story centers on Burkholder’s long and complicated relationship with former police academy mate, roommate and best friend, Gina Colorosa. Colorosa gets mixed up with the wrong crowd in the police force and goes on the run to get help and, it is clear, understanding from Burkholder. Colorosa heads to Painters Mill and is critically injured in an auto accident before she can reach Burkholder.
Enter Amish farmer and Burkholder’s childhood friend, Adam Lengacher. Lengacher, a widower, and his young children rescue Colorosa, bring her to their traditional home, and engage Burkholder.
As the story progresses, the reader, like Burkholder herself, is asked to assess the credibility of Gina Colorosa, who wears her renegade stature like a badge of honor even in the face of criminal charges and utter disgrace. While Colorosa acknowledges wrongdoing, she continues to request the mercy of Burkholder, Lengacher and others because her actions weren’t as wrong as the dirty cops hunting her.
Bad weather in Ohio forced Burkholder and Colorosa to face their past at Lengacher’s farm. Over their few days together, they are eyed curiously by any number of helpful neighbors. Despite his traditional values, which Burkholder tries to honor while Colorosa tests, Lengacher agrees to hide Colorosa in his home until Kate and her life partner, Tomasetti, can come up with a plan. The question is, can they formulate a way out for Colorosa before the crooked cops who set her on the run catch up with her? And what will happen to Burkholder’s reluctant refugee and Lengacher’s family when they do?
The action culminates in a foot chase in blizzard-like conditions where both Burkholder and Colorosa come face-to-face with the more-evil-than-Colorosa officers that want their former partner in crime dead. Colorosa acts in a manner that puts Kate, who has done everything she can for her old friend, right in the eye of the conflict. It’s tense for a chapter, but the outcome is never seriously in doubt.
The book is billed as a suspense novel. While the story was interesting, I didn’t experience any nail-biting tension. Nothing in the book led me to doubt what the result would be, and I was not at all surprised by the ending. In Burkholder, Castillo has a popular character who she dirties a bit in this book based on her association with Colorosa but goes to great lengths to make sure the reader knows that, oh no, Kate would never do that. Many successful series’ stay successful by not asking the reader to imagine too much about the characters they love, and Burkholder is clearly one of those, now eighteen books in.
In all fairness, this is the first Castillo novel I’ve read. She certainly knows what she’s doing, and I suspect is intimate with what her readers are looking for. So, for lovers of Castillo’s Kate Burkholder series, I say here’s your next good read! For someone who, as I said, likes a good detective series, I can’t say I’ll be diving any deeper into Kate Burkholder’s antics.
Pre-order a hardcover copy of Outsider by Linda Castillo here (25% off and free delivery)
About the Reviewer:
R. D. Kardon is the author of the 2019 best seller FLYGIRL, and ANGEL FLIGHT, which releases in September 2020. For more information, visit www.rdkardonauthor.com, or connect with her @rdkardonauthor on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.