Sunday, September 13, 2009

Review: Sworn to Silence by Linda Castillo

Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Minotaur Books (June 23, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0312374976
ISBN-13: 978-0312374976

Kate, a young former Amish woman, along with her two siblings, has kept a secret for years. Sixteen years ago, Kate was brutally attacked and raped. Somehow, she managed to shoot the attacker and she thought she killed him. Since the Amish prefer to keep these things to themselves and handle it their own way, her father and brother took care of the body. Or so she thought. When Kate left the community she took her nightmares and secret with her.

Now horror has come to the small Ohio town of Painters Mill and Kate Burkholder is back as chief of police. The MO of the latest killing is exactly the same as murders, dubbed the slaughterhouse murders, committed 16 years ago. Could he still be alive or is there a copy cat serial killer out there? When Kate has to investigate the latest crime, she hesitates to call in outside help because they might uncover more than just the perpetrator's identity.

The City council and the mayor go behind her back and call in several other agencies to help with the investigation. The county sherriff, Nate Detrich, along with an agent from BCI are called in. Who does the BCI send but John Tomasetti; an agent the bureau could do without. He's a former rogue cop, just barely holding onto his job, who needs pain killers to get him through the day and booze to get him through the night. His involvement in this case may be his saving grace. In the end, he might just surprise the agency and Kate along with himself. Even with all his vices, I found John to be a very likeable character with his own code of honor.

This is a well paced, excellently written thriller. It kept me on the edge of my seat with the gripping suspense, chilling detail and very believable dialogue. I liked the way Castillo set the scene and ratcheted up the suspense:

"My eyes have adjusted to the darkness. My feet are silent on the snow as I wend through trees and over deadfall. Overhead, a milky half moon casts just enough light for me to see my shadow. Cold stings my face. The Steel Mag-Lite makes my fingers ache with cold. But those minor discomfors are
nullified by my need to know who's out there and why.

Twenty yards from the crime scene, I stop and listen. Around me, the wind sighs. In the distance, a dog barks his outrage at being left outside on such a cold night. The snap of a breaking branch sounds behind me. Startled, I spin . I see movement within the trees and flip on the Mag-Lite. I set my other hand on my sidearm and thumb off the leather catch."

Can't you just feel the penetrating cold and her sense of trepidation? One caveat if you are squeamish: there are some gruesome details of the murder victims. Do not let that deter you from reading this book as it will be easy to just skip over those parts if you are so inclined. Sworn to Silence is the first in a planned series. Highly recommended for fans of mystery, thrillers or police proceduals. 4.5****

A big thank you to goodreads for the review copy.


  1. Yikes! That penetrating cold is just around the corner for us in the north. Sounds like a good book. Great review!

  2. I do like a good thriller. I love to hear about books that keep you on the edge of your seat.

  3. This does sound like one I would enjoy! Thanks for the great review :)

  4. Wow, that sounds like quite the thriller! Great review, Kaye.

    Check it out: I have given you an award!

  5. This does sound like quite the thriller. I'm not that squeamish when I read, but I am when I'm watching something.

  6. Oh this one sounds really good - I love thrillers!

  7. OOOOOH I just love a good scary story! I eat them up! I am hitting my wish list now!

    PS I left you an award to pick up!

    Happy Sunday!!!!!


  8. I loved this one too and reviewed it awhile ago. I certainly hope this is the first in a series or she at least writes another book in the mystery genre

  9. Kaye...I loved your review on this one. I love a good thriller from time to time, and since I've read The Neighbor; Gardner (excellent), I have not found another thriller as good.

  10. Loved this review and I got this book from Marcia last week in the I can't wait to get to it!!

  11. Thanks again Kaye; i just reserved this one at the library.

  12. This sounds so good! I got it recently from LibraryThing Early Reviewer but I haven't read it yet. Now I look forward to it even more. I like to cover too. Thanks for a great review! :)

  13. A friend got a copy of this from LT and it sounds really good. I may have to borrow it!

  14. This sounds really good. I'll keep an eye out for it. Thanks for the review.

    Diary of an Eccentric


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