Book Review: Outsider by Linda Castillo

Linda Castillo


Gina Colorosa is a cop on the run. She’s mixed up in something bad at the Columbus Division of Police and now there’s no turning back. With nowhere else to go, she points her car to Painters Mill, Ohio, hoping her former friend, Kate Burkholder, now the Chief of Police, will forget the past. Gina gets close, but her car crashes in a blizzard and in the morning, she’s discovered by Adam Lengacher, an Amish widower with three young children.

Gina is injured and bears a weapon, but Adam doesn’t question taking her in. “You don’t leave anyone, including an outsider, to the elements, especially if they’re hurt,” he explains.

Now Kate must confront a close friendship that went bad and ended abruptly. Once best friends and roommates, Gina and Kate attended the police academy together. And Kate can’t forget that Gina took her in when she had nowhere to go, after “leaving the fold” of her Amish family and community.

Gina stays at the Lengacher’s home, under Kate’s supervision, until the weather breaks and Kate and her boyfriend, John Tomasetti, who is with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, decide what to do. Kate tries to get a read on her wild, tough-talking and elusive friend while Tomasetti makes some calls to Columbus. It seems safe at the cozy Lengacher home, where Gina learns about the Amish way of life, but everyone knows it’s just a matter of time until Gina’s dangerous pursuers find her, putting Adam and his kids at great risk. Kate senses that Gina isn’t giving her the whole story and events from their past suggest Gina has broken many police rules.

Outsider is the twelfth book in Linda Castillo’s Kate Burkholder series and is told in both Kate’s voice and a third-person narrative of the events in Columbus and the women’s backstories. The author gives readers a look into the Amish way of life and how the Amish and “English” outsiders interact as their lives inevitably overlap. Kate is a bridge between both lives, understanding her childhood friend Adam as well as the outside world. Several moral questions come up and are resolved in interesting ways.

I enjoyed Outsider, although I haven’t read the other Kate Burkholder books. References to her Amish family make me want to go back and catch up on these relationships. I thought the author did a nice job portraying Amish life and includes many Pennsylvania Dutch phrases that enhance the story. There is a big contrast between these Amish chapters and Gina’s life as a cop in Columbus and at times the transition seems jarring. But the story moves at a good pace with a few twists and a satisfying conclusion.

I was attracted to Outsider because of the title and cover. I had an idea of who the woman on the cover represented, but was disappointed that it never became obvious and in fact, I was definitely wrong about my idea. Is this Kate from years ago contemplating her life outside the community? Has she already been shut out? I couldn’t figure it out and felt a little misled.

All-in-all, I enjoyed the book and think readers who like police detective stories and enjoy learning about the Amish would like the series. The author explains plenty from previous books so Outsider also works as a standalone.

Outsider will be released on July 7, 2020. I received a copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!




22 thoughts on “Book Review: Outsider by Linda Castillo

    1. Yes, that’s a great movie, Jill. I thought of that too. There’s also the book by Jodi Picoult – Plain Truth – it reminded me of that too. Thanks for the visit 🙂 I’m not cooking tonight – Takeout Tuesday!

  1. It’s nice to hear that this works as a stand-alone. The story seems appealing though I’ve seen mixed reviews. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and recommendation. 🙂 Be well and have a lovely week.

    1. Thank you, Diana. I’m reluctant to read books in a long series because I don’t want to commit to starting at the beginning. I’ve read several of this type and think they’re pretty easy to jump into. Thanks for the visit – I hope you are doing well 🙂

  2. I am so excited for this book! I really love this series and since I live fairly close to where the story takes place, the author usually comes here on book tour. I’m disappointed that we’ll only get her virtually this year. Great review!

  3. It sounds like an intriguing book. I can’t say I know a lot about the Amish community, so it might be a good way to learn something new. I will keep this book in mind.

  4. I read some of the early books in Linda Castillo’s series, but I can’t remember why I stopped. Regardless, thanks for putting her on my radar again!

  5. “I received a copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.” I thought about accepting advance copies of books to review, but then I would actually have to read and review them – LOL. The truth is, there is already so much I want to read, and my shelves sag with the weight of unread books, I just don’t want to go down that path. Maybe if I was a librarian I would think differently 😉 Cheers!

    1. Hi Jeff, yes I know exactly how you feel. And I appreciate your blog and how you read things from your actual shelf. I feel like my heart is in both places. I do like to know what’s new out there and who doesn’t like a free book? But I don’t like pressure to read something, so I took a long break from NetGalley for that reason. I also like going back to the classics on my own shelf. As for the librarian part, I do need to know what’s new out there, so this helps. Thanks for visiting and commenting!

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