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Pray for Silence: A Thriller (Kate Burkholder) Hardcover – June 22, 2010

4.3 out of 5 stars 375 customer reviews
Book 2 of 4 in the Kate Burkholder Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this overwrought thriller from Castillo, her second after Sworn to Silence, someone slaughters all seven members of the Amish Plank family at their home in Painters Mill, Ohio. The bodies of the two teenage daughters show signs of torture. At first, it appears the father, Amos, killed his wife and five children, then shot himself. When clues point to a killer outside the family, Kate Burkholder, the local police chief who left the Amish community decades before, zeroes in on 15-year-old Mary, who may have flirted with the idea of living in the English world. Lending a hand is Kate's on-again/off-again boyfriend, John Tomasetti, an agent suspended from the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and Identification for failing a recent drug test in the wake of his own family's murder about two years earlier. Castillo excels at detailing gory crime scenes, but she leaves Kate and John as little more than cookies cut from the same troubled cop mold. Author tour. (June)
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From Booklist

Painters Mill is an idyllic small town in Ohio’s Amish country. But even the most peaceful of landscapes is not immune to violent crime. The second installment in Castillo’s strong series (after Sworn to Silence, 2009) finds Police Chief Kate Burkholder once again face-to-face with pure evil. This time around it’s the murder of the Planks, an Amish family who invited trouble when pretty 15-year-old daughter Mary became enamored with a non-Amish man, who seduced her and documented their sexual episodes on tape. The case rattles Burkholder, who left the Amish faith as a teenager after she was raped by an Amish man. Helping her through the stressful investigation is John Tomasetti, a big-city cop battling his own demons (his wife and young daughters were murdered a few years before). The two had a brief affair, but time has passed and both have hesitations about rekindling the romance. They have plenty to distract them as they search for a killer who may have more sinister acts in store. Though the plot fizzles a bit at the end, a unique setting and a very human heroine make this a good recommendation for readers seeking an alternative to the urban whodunit. --Allison Block

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Product Details

  • Series: Kate Burkholder (Book 2)
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; 1 edition (June 22, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312374984
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312374983
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (375 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #330,676 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By Amy Y. TOP 1000 REVIEWER on April 24, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
A family is discovered murdered in their home. This isn't just any brutal murder, either- a family of seven, Amish, bound and slaughtered. Sound pretty gruesome? It is. Kate Burkholder is the chief of police in the small town of Painters Mill. Formerly Amish, Burkholder finds the crime shocking and is immediately thrust into the center of a tornado of questions. Trying to find answers, Burkholder must confront her own past and penetrate the tightly-knit Amish community who distrust the 'English', as they call outsiders in a town uneasily divided along the lines of faith and culture.

For me, this was a terrific and entertaining read. I wish I had known that Castillo had written a previous book before reading this but so it goes. The depiction of the crime scene is very graphic- so take note, if that sort of thing is disturbing, you may not enjoy this book so much. I did not, however, feel like the violence portrayed was gratuitous. The author is portraying a horrific crime and the degree of violence and horror of the initial crime scene are necessary to set up the ensuing tension of the thriller.

I'm not generally a big murder mystery reader but I really enjoyed this. I loved the interesting perspective the Amish community brings to the story. The suspense is good and there is a romantic element to the story, as well.

Castillo does a great job with her characterization. She really breathes life into her supporting cast, not just the protagonist. I'm a little divided on the fact that she writes from a first-person perspective in some chapters and in third-person for others. I find it a little distracting in how the book flows.

The writing is decent and doesn't get in the way of the story.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I loved Linda Castillo's "Sworn to Silence" and the way she introduced Police Cheif Kate Burkholder, so I couldn't wait to get my hands on the follow up novel "Pray for Silence".

The good news is that if you liked the first novel, you'll most likely enjoy this second offering too. All of the elements found in the first book make a return appearance, the sleepy little town of Painters Mill pops off the pages, and the population of that small town come alive with Castillo's writing. The dynamic between the Amish and the "English" is once again the backbone of this story, and once again the reader gets drawn into the fascinating world of Amish farm life. And once again, Cheif Burkholder must confront the demons of her past when trying to solve the brutal murder of an entire Amish family.

I really do like Linda Castillo's writing style, and the brutal crimes in "Pray for Silence" will make even the most avid genre reader flinch while reading. This is definately not a book for the squeamish as Castillo visits some pretty nasty corners of Painters Mill.

While I don't think "Pray for Silence" was as nailbiting as "Sworn..." it's still a great read, and Cheif Burkholder is one of the best new characters to hit crime fiction in years. If you haven't discovered this series...do yourself a favor and pick up both Burkholder books.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
In Ohio's Amish country, Chief of Police Kate Burkholder encounters the grisly murder of an entire Amish family. Her investigation is aided by sort-of-love-interest BCI agent John Tomasetti. Was Amish teenager Mary Plank living a double life, and did her secrets get her family killed? The discovery of the victim's diary might provide the answers. This novel's plot and unusual (though not fully accurate) setting held my interest, but repetitious prose and two over-emotional protagonists undermined a story I might have otherwise enjoyed.

The repetition became most irritating in regard to Kate's emotions. Over and over, she tells the reader that this case is "the kind of scene that affects even the most hard-nosed of cops" (p. 34), that "some crimes are simply too terrible for the eyes to behold" (p. 36), that she "can't imagine the horrors these girls must have endured" (p. 37). On and on the melodramatic inner monologue continues--throughout the entire book. Often, Kate expounds in full paragraphs that the horrible awfulness of working this crime is harder on her than anyone else, due to her past as a formerly Amish teenager and as a crime victim herself. By 100 pages into the book, I could hardly ask "whodunit" anymore, because I was asking other, more irritated questions: did the author think her readers would forget that Kate used to be Amish, even after reminding us (for the twentieth time) less than ten pages ago? Did the author think the best way to elicit my sympathy for her character was for Kate to *tell* me her angst instead of the author *showing* me? Did no one edit this book?

Still, let's say the book had been edited to about 75% of its current length.
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Format: Hardcover
After reading all the positive reviews for this novel, I thought perhaps I had read a completely different book. I found this book stunningly repetitive -- the author constantly reminds the readers of the protagonist's Amish background, her mysterious emotional "connection" to the victim, strange relationship with her partner John -- OK, I got that the first twenty times, thank you. But the ending was stupefying and made me want to throw the book against a wall. I will not be a spoiler, but I will say that nothing, absolutely nothing, about the crime is cleared up, and the reader is left to wonder -- along with Detective Kate, who says "I guess we'll never know exactly what or why..." and is apparently OK with that -- how the suspects even know each other. After spending time and slogging through the repetition, being left with a complete bag of unanswered questions just pushed me over the literary edge, so to speak.
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