Review: Sworn to Silence

Review: Sworn to SilenceSworn to Silence (Kate Burkholder, #1) by Linda Castillo
Series: Kate Burkholder #1
Published by Minotaur Books on May 25, 2010
Genres: Mystery
Pages: 368

Compelling, Thrilling Mystery with a Touch of Romance

“I dream of death.”

FINAL DECISION: A good mystery mixed with a troubled and competent chief of police, secrets that threaten her career and perhaps her life and scary drama. Clear, well written and complex, this story kicks of the series and made me immediately want to read the next book.

THE STORY: Kate Burkholder grew up Amish in simple innocence until she was brutally attacked at the age of 14. The aftermath of her attack led her to rebellion and a crisis of faith and had her leave the Amish. She has now returned to her hometown — no longer Amish but now the Chief of Police. When a serial killer murders a woman in a way that is reminiscent of the Slaughterhouse Killer from sixteen years ago, the town panics that the killer has returned. Kate, however, knows that the Slaugherhouse Killer is dead, but can’t tell anyone else. What she doesn’t know is who is killing women now and why are the killings so similar to those of the Slaughterhouse Killer?

OPINION: I ended up buying this book on a lark because Amazon had it as a Daily Deal at a reduced price. I like tough women who solve mysteries so I decided to try this book out. I am incredibly glad I did because this book was fantastic. I immediately bought the rest of the series and plan on reading them soon.

Having grown up Amish and then rejecting that life, Kate lives with a foot in each of the worlds that collide in the town of Painters Mill, Ohio. A small town with a significant Amish population, she has to navigate the tricky politics and cultures that intersect in the town.

Kate also has dark secrets that have haunted her and her family for years and which have caused a divide that along with her rejection of the Amish life, have left her alone even with her family living in the same town.

For a mystery novel, I ask that the solution not be obvious but also that once the reveal happens that the solution makes sense. This book meets that standard. Readers should also be aware that there are some graphic depictions of the crimes and some graphic violence during the novel. I didn’t think it was overly graphic and it was appropriate for the subject matter and not gratuitous.

There are some quirky secondary characters that bring necessary humor to the story without taking over. Also, readers are introduced to John Tomasetti, who works with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation. John is addicted to prescription drugs and alcohol after the murders of his wife and children and is sent to help with the murder investigation under the assumption that he will fail. His own dark past is also an issue here and readers are left to wonder if John will help solve the crime or destroy Kate’s career.

All the questions and problems with Kate and John’s pasts are not resolved in this book — neither is their relationship, but this is the first book in the series and it appears that more will be explored in future novels.

WORTH MENTIONING: After reading this book, I recommended it to my mother. I told her it reminds me of J.D. Robb’s In Death series (without the futuristic elements) and Kay Hooper’s SCU series (without the paranormal elements). So if you like either of those, try this.

CONNECTED BOOKS: SWORN TO SILENCE is the first book in the Kate Burkholder series.

STAR RATING: I give this book 5 stars.


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