Sworn to Silence

(2009)
Sworn to Silence

I have found a new favorite mystery writer/series (unless the author tanks it in book 2 of the series...highly unlikely)! Kate Burkholder is the Police Chief in the small town of Painters Mill, Ohio, where she grew up in an Amish family. Some pretty dramatic and traumatizing events (detailed in the book) cause her to leave the Amish culture and join English society. She is placed under the bann by the Amish and ends up leaving home for Cleveland, where she eventually becomes a police officer. She spends 8 years there, first as a patrol officer, then a homicide detective before she is hired as Chief of the Painters Mill PD.

She has been in her role as Chief for 2 years when we meet her in this captivating crime story. One of her officers has stumbled across a body while rounding up some loose cows near the Stutz family farm. The body is of a young woman who has been brutally tortured and killed, and the killer's m.o. is eerily similar to that of "The Slaughterhouse Killer", a serial killer that terrorized Painters Mill sixteen years before. Could the killer be back or is it a copycat crime? In either case, the questions begs to be answered "Why now?"

Through the course of the investigation, we learn of Kate's past and the secrets she is keeping. Secrets that can affect the investigation, her life, and her career. The characters are well developed and the story so effectively told. I had never heard of this author before, until a patron I was engaged in a reader's advisory transaction with recommended this series to me.

Apparently, Linda Castillo is best known, or was previously, as a romance author (which explains why I never heard of her --- romance novels are not my cup of tea). I would never in a million years have guessed that! Castillo is a natural in this role. If you like a good, well-written mystery -- think Sue Grafton, Kathy Reichs, or Lisa Scottoline, give this series a try. I can't wait to read more about Kate Burkholder!

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