A police officer who grew up Amish struggles to separate her past from the present.
A call about a prison break arouses memories of Painters Mill Police Chief Kate Burkholder’s happy childhood and a keen sense of present danger. Joseph King, who lived next door to Kate when she was growing up, was both her playmate and her first crush. His life and personality changed when his father was killed in an accident and the family moved away. After a checkered career, he married lovely Naomi and they had five children before he was sent to prison for murdering her. While Kate is checking around the house where Naomi’s sister, Rebecca, and her husband, Daniel Beachy, live with Joseph’s children, she’s jumped by someone who turns out to be Joseph, who tells her that he didn’t kill his wife—a story that’s backed up by his youngest daughter, Sadie, who was only 3 at the time. Unlike her colleagues, Kate’s inclined to believe the mature little girl’s story of a stranger who entered the house, killed her mother, and nearly killed Sadie too. After Kate promises Joseph she'll look into his case, he sends her out to talk to the police officers who have surrounded them, but her story and advice are callously dismissed, and Joseph is killed by a police sniper. A picture taken as she left the house that night makes it look as if Joseph was kissing her, causing a media storm that sends the devastated Kate into administrative leave. But her own loyal team and her lover, John Tomasetti, an agent with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, believe in her hunch. As she talks to witnesses and looks through questionable case records, Kate realizes that even her position may not protect her from the consequences of her search.
Castillo (Among the Wicked, 2016, etc.) once again weaves the particularities of the Amish mindset into a complex mystery that will leave you crying with pity or seething with rage.