Title: Sworn to Silence
Author: Linda Castillo
Release Date: June 23, 2009
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Kate Burkholder is the Chief of Police in Painter’s Mill, Ohio. In a town that’s mostly Amish, a female Chief of Police is nothing to shrug about, and on top of that? Burkholder was raised Amish but turned her back on the religion as a young woman. When Burkholder is faced with grisly murders, the likes of which the town hasn’t seen for many years, Kate is forced to face parts of her past she’d sworn to forget in order to solve the murders.
I first heard about Linda Castillo’s Sworn to Silence on NovelWhore’s blog, and I was immediately intrigued. A former Amish chief of police trying to reconcile her lifestyle choices with her religious upbringing? I was sold before I even picked up the book. But it was once I sat down with it that I realized how great this book really was.
Kate Burkholder is an intense and fascinating character that readers will enjoy getting to know. She clearly has a soft spot for her Amish brethren, though she has chosen not to follow their way of life. Her relationship with that community is strained. They respect her much more than they’d respect an outsider as chief of police, yet they are very cognizant of the fact that she turned her back on their way of life. Kate’s background gives her a unique insight into the Amish, and as a result, the reader is provided an intriguing glimpse into their community.
The mystery in Sworn to Silence is well done, if a bit grisly. The murders are so sick and twisted, Kate (and the reader) can’t help but be flabbergasted by them. Unfortunately, this is not Kate’s first encounter with murders of this sort, and the case brings back ghosts from her past. It’s at this point the reader begins to see through Kate’s strong facade and realizes how vulnerable she can be at times. As this part of the mystery unfolds, Kate makes questionable choices. However, she has endeared herself enough to the reader by that point that they are on her side, rather than judging her for her missteps.
Sworn to Silence is an exceptional mystery that will keep the reader hooked from beginning to end. I’m very glad that this is the first in a series, as the entire premise is too fascinating to not flesh out fully. This book was a great read, and I can’t wait to see where Castillo takes Kate Burkholder next.