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Sworn to Silence: A Thriller | [Linda Castillo]

Sworn to Silence: A Thriller

the sleepy rural town of Painters Mill, Ohio, the Amish and "English" residents have lived side by side for two centuries. But 16 years ago, a series of brutal murders shattered the peaceful farming community. In the aftermath of the violence, the town was left with a sense of fragility, a loss of innocence. Kate Burkholder, a young Amish girl, survived the terror of the Slaughterhouse Killer but came away from its brutality with the realization that she no longer belonged with the Amish.
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Publisher's Summary

Now the subject of the Lifetime original movie: An Amish Murder

Some secrets are too terrible to reveal...Some crimes are too unspeakable to solve.

In the sleepy rural town of Painters Mill, Ohio, the Amish and "English" residents have lived side by side for two centuries. But 16 years ago, a series of brutal murders shattered the peaceful farming community. In the aftermath of the violence, the town was left with a sense of fragility, a loss of innocence.

Kate Burkholder, a young Amish girl, survived the terror of the Slaughterhouse Killer but came away from its brutality with the realization that she no longer belonged with the Amish.

Now, a wealth of experience later, Kate has been asked to return to Painters Mill as Chief of Police. Her Amish roots and big city law enforcement background make her the perfect candidate. She's certain she's come to terms with her past - until the first body is discovered in a snowy field. Kate vows to stop the killer before he strikes again. But to do so, she must betray both her family and her Amish past - and expose a dark secret that could destroy her.

©2009 Linda Castillo; (P)2009 Macmillan Audio

What the Critics Say

"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." (Booklist)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (313 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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Overall
4.2 (183 )
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Story
4.2 (183 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    SHEILA FAIRVIEW, TN, United States 08-01-09
    SHEILA FAIRVIEW, TN, United States 08-01-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
    141
    ratings
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    19
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    5
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    Overall
    "I'm sorry....."

    I wanted to like it, but this story plays out like a bad made-for-tv movie...predictable....
    (Sorry author)Worst narrator for THIS story ever,something else for her may be a better choice.
    If she says the word "inordinately" one more time...I may have an inordinately strong dislike for the story. Wish we could rate with 1/2 stars, for 2 1/2 stars is a more appropriate rating.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lehua Volcano, HI, USA 07-05-09
    Lehua Volcano, HI, USA 07-05-09 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
    383
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    60
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    9
    1
    Overall
    "Freddie Goes Amish"

    It's clear this author would be capable of writing a good story; it's unclear why she chose not to. Is it that gore and horror sell? Is she aiming at the teenagers who watch the Friday the 13th style of horror movies? It actually becomes boring in the middle of psychotic mania rampages simply because she so belabors every repellent detail. Even the supposedly good guys left me unmoved. Flawed characters are all well and good, but there's a distance between them vs. folks that have degenerated into complete basket cases. The plot is pretty silly most of the time. Like, hasn't this woman -- an officer of the law -- ever heard of lawyers?

    AUDIO: McInerney is a mediocre actress, and is all over the place in this novel, bouncing between overacting and flat-affect droning, with only a few bits that are well done. The protagonist is played nowhere near tough enough, and all the men sound like dweebs.

    14 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    karen United States 09-07-12
    karen United States 09-07-12 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "Surprised me!"

    I'm not a big fan of serial killer stories -- they tend to get boring and repetitious, not to mention unpleasantly over the top in terms of pain and gore. But in reading the blurb that described this book by Linda Castillo, something grabbed my attention -- not too sure what. In any event, I'm glad I bought it. It's different -- and very very good.

    There's some blood and guts, to be sure, but not much. Most of the story focuses on the Police Chief protagonist, Kate Burkholder. (Ever notice how many female cops, etc, are named 'Kate'?) And she is an interesting bird -- grew up Amish, speaking Pennsylvania Dutch, at age 18 she elected not to join the church, and set out to become a police officer instead. Now she's been hired back in her home community, where she's trying to serve as a bridge between the Amish and the "English", ie, everyone else. Tough job -- would be a tough job for everyone, but needless to say, having a female chief of police would be a big enough issue in the first place, let alone one thought to harbor the pacifist ideals of the Amish community. In addition to everything else, Kate has a hostile board to deal with, people who seem set on making her life as miserable as possible. (Been there, done that myself -- maybe that's why I identified with this protagonist.)

    Linda Castillo did an excellent job with this story -- really remarkable. There were times when Kate's anguish over things that were happening were so intensely described I actually shed a tear or two for her -- now when's the last time THAT happened? The whole thing is really well done -- and the narration by Kathleen McInerney is perfect for this book. Not overdone, not underdone, just right.

    I've since bought two more books in this series, haven't listened to them yet, but if they're only partly as good as this one, they're more than worth it. Good book!

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ronna 09-22-12
    Ronna 09-22-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "Unique Amish mystery/thriller"

    I've finally gotten around to reading the first book in the Kate Burkholder mystery series and I was hooked after the first 20 pages. Good thing is, there are already more to read from this excellent author, Linda Casttillo.

    This thriller is uniquely placed in Ohio Amish country, where the relationship between the Amish and Englishers is a bit strained
    already. Kate seems to be the perfect Sherif for the small town of Painter's Mill because she grew up Amish but has left their community life. At fourteen, a personal tragedy sent her into the world of hard living, heavy drinking, and a 'take no prisoners' attitude' that found her recovery sending her into the police academy. Now, as Sherif, she understands and respects the Amish, but her life is in the English community.

    All is going well until a girl's body is found. Her brutal murder resembles that of the four victims of a serial murder from sixteen years years ago. Kate may know facts that could help the case but hurt her. More murders cause the Town Council to become political in their drive to sabotage Kate. They bring in other law enforcement officers, including a rogue officer with a tragic story of his own. Kate and John become strange allies in their determination to solve this case without loosing themselves, but the suspects cause their own difficult issues.

    The twists and turns definitely pleased this avid mystery reader! This is not another twist on the same old mystery theme. It's uniqueness and thrills won me over quickly.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laura Montgomery Village, MD, United States 06-25-12
    Laura Montgomery Village, MD, United States 06-25-12 Member Since 2010

    Why ever would I do that?

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Good introduction to Castillo"

    I very much enjoyed this book though it did drag on a bit in places. Would recommend.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Frank Ukiah, CA, United States 04-11-11
    Frank Ukiah, CA, United States 04-11-11 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "Passable, but Marred by Shifts in Person & Tense"

    "Sworn to Silence" has a passable mystery with somewhat of a surprise in its resolution, but the author uses a bizarre narration style that shifts from first person present tense when the main character is speaking to third person past tense when someone else is the focus of the action. Because most novels are written in the past tense, there's something unsettling in those passages written in the present tense to begin with, but this book compounds that sense of oddness with these arbitrary shifts depending upon which character is involved; in fact, occasionally, the same scene is told twice from the point of view of different characters (in different tenses, of course). It may have worked for William Faulkner, but this isn't experimental fiction, and when the plot is the main thing carrying a story like this along, these shifts are nothing but a jarring distraction.

    The author's narration style is also little overblown -- though perhaps that's not surprising from someone who started her career writing romance novels. Almost every description of a scene or a feeling has to involve some kind of flowery metaphor, when for this kind of story -- essentially a police procedural -- a straight description would often be more appropriate. It's too bad, because she isn't bad at plotting or weaving a story. While I'd rate the story as passable therefore, I grew tired of being jolted back and forth between the past and the present (occasionally for the same scene) -- and I won't be exploring any of the author's other works involving this character.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Vicky 10-04-10
    Vicky 10-04-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
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    164
    4
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    "Steer clear."

    I listened to the whole book because I could not believe that with the good ratings it had it could be as predictable as it was. The story begins well with possibilities to keep the reader in suspense throughout, but it all falls through quickly and ends up being really disappointing. If I could have given it a zero rating I would have.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan Rock Hill, SC, United States 07-20-09
    Susan Rock Hill, SC, United States 07-20-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
    196
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    "Predictable but good"

    At times, I felt like this book was so predictable it got on my nerves. Vulnerable female cop trying to prove herself. Old, washed-up, "rougue" male cop no one wants because he won't play by the rules (is there any other kind?) who, of course, hate each other @ first but by the end, well, you know. Grotesque serial killings, blah, blah. BUT, I said to myself "This book is so predictable because I like this type of book". I like a good crime story/romance thing and this is one is as good as any I've read.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathy New Mexico 10-28-09
    Kathy New Mexico 10-28-09 Member Since 2007

    Kathy

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Predictable w/ info for those interested in amish"

    Although the plot was predictable, it was interesting to see the how the protagonist handled her Amish roots but lived in English mainstream. I found the narrator differentiated between the various characters consistently. Yes there were some well used plot elements but I still was willing to see if Castillo had other books in this series. IF you aren't picky and dont mind a bit of gore, its a good read.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Donna Davidson Myer 08-05-09 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
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    7
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    1
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    Overall
    "Not a REAL small town..."

    The author just doesn't represent a small town the way it REALLY is. The police would NEVER have to identify themselves in a town of this size. EVERYONE would know them on sight and they would know everyone as well.

    Yes, it was predictable and more importantly to me, it was unnecessarily gory in several places, but it is somewhat entertaining without any depth.

    I differ, however, about the narrator. I really enjoyed her.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 16 results PREVIOUS12NEXT
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  • Katherine
    Belper, United Kingdom
    11/1/12
    Overall
    "Not great, even for £5.99"

    I bought this in a halloween sale- it was cheap and long enough to make it feel worth buying even though I didn't know what to expect. But I didn't enjoy it much, and couldn't listen to the whole of the last half. It is a fairly standard thriller, though (partly) set in an amish community, which sounded interesting. I felt the characters were one dimensional, though I think the author put lots of effort in to make them "complex" and "flawed", this didn't work. Instead they became either unbelievable or just not real. Also, I found a lot of it tedious, despite many bloody and violent events and graphic descriptions of crimes. Just didn't do it for me- a shame as had a very promising premise. It was well read, but this wasn't enough to make it good.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Heike
    Heidelberg, Germany
    1/6/13
    Overall
    "Gruesome detailed torture scenes"

    I started listening to it on my run on a cold dark December morning and nearly gave up. Sorry, I really don't need detailed description what humans can do to another human being. Luckily I persevered and found this a gripping thriller located in an unusual community where Amish and English live side by side. The personal stories of the protagonists Kate Burkholder and Tomassetti however I found too unbelievable and hence couldn't really relate to them.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Yvonne
    KETTERING, United Kingdom
    12/30/12
    Overall
    "Sworn to read the next one ......"

    This was my first experience of Linda Castillo and well done you, the story wove two different communities and their conflicts and similarities with skill and guile, keeping the suspense going till very nearly the end. And the twist {pause for effect} is great.



    I am looking out for other work by this author, and would recommend this as a great read/listen. Kathleen McInerney wasn't the best reader I have ever come across but she kept it going without sending me to sleep as I drove along and I did feel her voice suited the "heroine". Plenty of room for developing the plot into a series with both lead protagonists. As I said before I would like to have more.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Lesley
    LYDBROOK, United Kingdom
    11/24/12
    Overall
    "Shocking to read"

    I didn't know what I was getting into when I downloaded this book - I have never listened to anything like it and I'm not sure I would want to again. Obviously well written or I suppose I wouldn't be so shocked but the first paragraph was so disturbing I became quite upset. I spread the book over a few weeks and managed to finish it the storyline was good but one wonders at the necessity of such graphic description. Or how anyone could describe anything so awful?

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-4 of 4 results

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