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Sworn to Silence Paperback – May 18, 2011
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. œA gun-toting, cursing, former Amish female chief of police stars in this excellent first in a new suspense series from romance veteran Castillo (Fade to Red). When a serial killer strikes bucolic Painters Mill, Ohio, the killer's signature—Roman numerals ritualistically carved into each victim's abdomen—matches the MO of four unsolved murders from 16 years earlier. Police chief Kate Burkholder, who's reluctant to dredge up the past, must keep secret that she knows why the old murders stopped. Not satisfied with the case's progress, local politicos set up a multijurisdictional task force to assist, including a law-enforcement agent battling his own demons. The added scrutiny and the rising body count threaten to push the chief over the edge. Adept at creating characters with depth and nuance, Castillo smoothly integrates their backstories into a well-paced plot that illuminates the divide between the Amish and œEnglish worlds. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
*Starred Review* Ohio’s Amish country serves as the bucolic backdrop for romance novelist Castillo’s consistently chilling mystery debut. Kate Burkholder grew up in idyllic Painters Mill, where many residents drive buggies, shun electricity, and distance themselves from the complications of modern life. The presence of a serial killer shatters the stillness of the town, leaving its citizenry terrified and on guard. During this time, young Kate’s life takes a fateful turn when she is sexually assaulted by an Amish man named Daniel Lapp. She shoots Lapp in self-defense and, seeing blood splattered across the floor, is certain he’s dead. (Her father drags away the body, and the family banishes the incident from their memories, never reporting it to police.) With Lapp’s demise, the area murders cease. Rattled residents rest easily once again. Fast-forward 16 years. Kate, now chief of police in Painters Mill, is faced with a series of brutal crimes in which the female victims are tortured and raped. Could Daniel Lapp still be alive? Kate battles her inner demons as she tracks down a killer who shows no sign of letting up. Can she come clean about her past without losing her job? Deeply flawed characters in a distinctive setting make this a crackling good series opener, recommended for fans of T. Jefferson Parker and Robert Ellis, whose books take place in very un-Amish settings but who generate the same kind of chills and suspense. --Allison Block --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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The story was well written, full of twists and turns with a great ending.
It’s a dark, quiet morning, the kind I usually relish while drinking a hot cup of coffee at my kitchen table with warm puppies at my feet. Today, I shiver in my onesie while I wait for my pot of coffee to brew. I’m facing the kitchen window that looks onto the otherwise idyllic, peaceful neighborhood, and thinking about the book I finished reading the day before. I wonder if someone’s secretly peeking back at me, possibly planning to ambush me later in the shower and murder me. Brrrrrr. If you’re planning on reading this, I believe Samuel L. Jackson’s Jurassic Park warning should be heeded: “Hold on to your butts.”
Painters Mill, Ohio–sleepy farming community where a third of the population are Amish. Kate Burkholder, Chief of Police has childhood ties to the community, which come back to haunt her when a string of serial murders resurface after sixteen years. Who is the killer? Why the hiatus? Why the escalation in murders and change in MO? Burkholder and her patchwork team of sidekicks are on the trail, but everyone’s got secrets.
I will be honest. There is something about cozy settings and brutality that fascinates me. Not that anything really shocks us anymore, right? One never really knows who one’s neighbors are. But the idea that something can happen in a quiet, peaceful community is always attention grabbing, and Castillo does an excellent job of really drawing in the reader. She shocks you! Lures you into pacivity, and then assaults you again. You’re never really comfortable reading through this. I may just do something I never do, and jump into the next book in the series. I don’t know if my nerves can handle it this week, but what have I got to lose other than sleep?