Book Review: Breaking Silence – Linda Castillo

Title: Breaking Silence
Author: Linda Castillo
ISBN: 9780312374990
Pages: 320
Release Date: June 21, 2011
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Genre: Mystery
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 3 out of 5

Summary:

In the third book of the Kate Burkholder series (after Sworn to Silence and Pray for Silence), Kate is once again faced with crimes against the Amish.  This time, though, they are hate crimes – buggies run off the road, set on fire, etc., and Kate is at a loss as to what to do.  When she gets an emergency call about the Slabaugh farm and finds Mr. and Mrs. Slabaugh, as well as Mr. Slabaugh’s brother, dead in the manure pit, she isn’t sure whether the deaths were accidental, a result of a hate crime gone wrong, or pure, unadulterated murder.

Review:

I really enjoyed the first two books in the Kate Burkholder series, but I was unsure about Breaking Silence.  Specifically, I wasn’t certain how much longer the tortured-by-her-past, former-Amish chief of police premise could stand up, and it turns out I was right to be worried. Breaking Silence didn’t work nearly as well for me as the previous two novels.

The premise of hate crimes against the Amish was interesting and worked well for the book as a whole. However, the murders were a little more difficult.  Amish communities are small and peaceful; for the most part, the Amish keep to themselves.  Therefore, a third set of horrific murders in this small, sleepy community is pushing credulity.  Additionally, the book unfolded slowly; while it never lost my interest, I definitely wasn’t as interested in this novel as I was in its prequels.

Kate also has become difficult for me.  While her (understandably) tortured soul was appealing in the first novel, the fact that she has progressed little in terms of character development is frustrating.  In many ways, she is the exact same person as she was in the first book.  When the main character in a mystery series is so personally involved in each case, there needs to be progression, and in this case, there just isn’t really any.

While I do enjoy Linda Castillo and would be ecstatic about a new series from her, Breaking Silence just didn’t work fror me.  That being said, if I’d read it as a standalone novel, without having read the first two, I probably would have really enjoyed it. As part of the series, though, it just felt like a rehashing of the first two books, and it didn’t really seem to lead anywhere.  Here’s hoping that Castillo gives Kate a deserved rest and starts a new series with her next book!

Affiliate Links:

Buy this book from Powell’s Books
Buy this book from Amazon.com
Buy this book from your local Indiebound bookstore

Comments

  1. Aha. This is exactly as I feared. You can have 16 books worth of murders in, let’s say, Atlanta or LA, but Amish country? And yes, she does need to move on or we are all going to want to smack her. After I read the last book, I suggested that Kate needs to go move in with her tortured soul boyfriend wherever he lives, and take on the bad guys there. Need a change of venue.

  2. Aha. This is exactly as I feared. You can have 16 books worth of murders in, let’s say, Atlanta or LA, but Amish country? And yes, she does need to move on or we are all going to want to smack her. After I read the last book, I suggested that Kate needs to go move in with her tortured soul boyfriend wherever he lives, and take on the bad guys there. Need a change of venue.

  3. I felt like this a little with the second book in the series as well.

    I wanted her to figure her stuff out already…OR to stop talking at about it a least.

    I still want to read it, but if she is still just having a fling with John and worried about not being Amish anymore I might scream.

  4. I felt like this a little with the second book in the series as well.

    I wanted her to figure her stuff out already…OR to stop talking at about it a least.

    I still want to read it, but if she is still just having a fling with John and worried about not being Amish anymore I might scream.

  5. I also agree that there are only so many ways you can stetch out murders in Amish country with a detective that is lamenting her break from an Amish life, and it sounds like this book was just the last straw. I do want to read the first in this series, but I doubt that I will continue onwards from there because it sounds like too much of this becomes tiresome. Great review on this one, Swapna. I admire your honesty in sharing your insight.

  6. I also agree that there are only so many ways you can stetch out murders in Amish country with a detective that is lamenting her break from an Amish life, and it sounds like this book was just the last straw. I do want to read the first in this series, but I doubt that I will continue onwards from there because it sounds like too much of this becomes tiresome. Great review on this one, Swapna. I admire your honesty in sharing your insight.

  7. Drat! That can sometimes be a problem with series. Still, I’ll likely give the first one or two a try.

  8. Drat! That can sometimes be a problem with series. Still, I’ll likely give the first one or two a try.

  9. OK, I’ll be the devil’s advocate here. I did like this one. However, that being said, I have started each one dreading the very things that you all mentioned, being so very afraid that the book wouldn’t work for me. But it did and I liked the storyline and the hunt for the murderer.

    I’m still on board with Kate and Tomasetti and the quirky people that work for Kate. I do think that Kate needs to go on a course of training in another venue or something. Guess we’ll see how the author will handle things from here on out. 🙂

  10. OK, I’ll be the devil’s advocate here. I did like this one. However, that being said, I have started each one dreading the very things that you all mentioned, being so very afraid that the book wouldn’t work for me. But it did and I liked the storyline and the hunt for the murderer.

    I’m still on board with Kate and Tomasetti and the quirky people that work for Kate. I do think that Kate needs to go on a course of training in another venue or something. Guess we’ll see how the author will handle things from here on out. 🙂

  11. I liked the first two in the series but when I heard there was a third, I was wary. I wondered if it could be pulled off without some major changes of setting or in the main characters. It sounds as if I was right to be concerned. I might read this one eventually but it really sounds like what I was hoping the next book in the series would not be.

  12. I liked the first two in the series but when I heard there was a third, I was wary. I wondered if it could be pulled off without some major changes of setting or in the main characters. It sounds as if I was right to be concerned. I might read this one eventually but it really sounds like what I was hoping the next book in the series would not be.

Leave a Reply

Comment Policy:  I welcome comments and read each one I receive. If your comment needs a response, I will provide it in a timely manner, as I read every comment I receive. Please keep your comments civil and polite! I reserve the right to delete any comments that are rude or inappropriate. Because of spam, I have to moderate comments on old posts. Please be patient - I will approve your comment quickly.

Before the tag in the Genesis footer: !-- Quantcast Tag -->