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Sworn to Silence - Linda Castillo

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Author: Linda Castillo / Format: Paperback / Date of publication: 04 December 2009 / Genre: Crime & Thriller / Publisher: Pan Macmillan / Title: Sworn to Silence / ISBN 13: 9780330471886 / ISBN 10: 0330471886 / Alternative EAN: 9780230736405

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    3 Reviews
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      13.01.2011 19:31
      Very helpful
      1 Comment



      A well written crime thriller that (almost) keot me guessing 'til the end

      Sworn to silence is a crime thriller written by Linda Castillo

      Product details (courtesy of Amazon!)
      Product details
      Hardcover: 368 pages
      Publisher: Macmillan; First Edition edition (5 Jun 2009)
      Language English
      ISBN-10: 0230736408
      ISBN-13: 978-0230736405
      Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 15.4 x 3.8 cm

      The plot
      Kate Burkholder is the chief of police for the sleepy rural town of Painters Mill (situated in Ohio). However, back in the 1990's, this small town was the scene of a series of particularly gruesome unsolved murders. Now 16 years after the last murder, a woman's mutilated body is discovered dumped in a field, sparking fears that the killer (dubbed 'The Slaughterhouse' killer) has returned. Kate and her small police force are stretched to the limits, working overtime to solve the case before the serial killer can claim even more victims.
      Could a dark secret in Burkholders past hold the key to solving the case? Can kate bring herself to face the demons she's tried desperately to keep buried all this time?

      What I liked about it
      I liked Kate as a character even though she is perhaps a bit of a cliché. She strong and confident but underneath all that is a real sense of vulnerability and a dark past. What makes her more interesting to me is the strained relationship with her family and her decision to turn her back on her Amish upbringing. This is a subplot which runs throughout the book and does add an extra dimension to what would otherwise be a clichéd character.

      A body is discovered within the very first few pages. As a result, I was hooked right from the very start and remained so until the end.

      The forensics/crime scenes are really well written and come across as well researched. I liked reading about this even if sometimes the details were a bit gruesome. The nickname 'The Slaughterhouse' killer should give you some clue into the horrific ways in these women are killed!
      I think this makes the book more dangerous and exciting (you can tell im a fan of horror films!) because this is not just any murderer but a genuine sociopath who tortures and mutilates his victims.

      Occasionally, the narrative would switch from Kate's point of view to someone else's. I found this quite interesting and kept the story fresh. Although I like Kate as a character, it is nice to sometimes read from the point of view of others.

      The story kept me guessing which is a good thing because I hate predictable stories. Towards the end, I had correctly predicted the identity of the killer. However for about three quarters of the book, I genuinely had no idea.

      What I didn't like about it
      This novel is as much about tensions between the Amish and the English as it is about crime. The Amish aspect of the book was obviously well researched and as I've already stated, it does add an extra dimension to the character of Kate. However, the constant reference to it does get irritating.
      I found it a bit off putting to be honest. I understand that the main character used to be Amish, that she understood their language and culture but the need to mention it on practically every page became quickly off putting. I didn't feel any tolerance or sympathy towards the Amish way of life because their attitude towards the 'English' (this in itself became confusing since the book is set in America?!) stunk. Perhaps this is just me being ignorant but as I don't know any Amish people, nor encounter them in everyday life, I don't really enjoy learning about them. Kate's brother's attitude particularly irritated me.

      Well I personally didn't buy this book, I borrowed it from the library.
      When I googled it, the cheapest prices I could find were on Ebay for about £3 and it can also be brought new and used on Amazon for just under £4.

      A tense, well written thriller that I thoroughly enjoyed. Yes, the plot and some of the characters aren't the most original but the book is so well written that I didn't let that bother me too much.
      I was hooked from the very first page and will definitely look for more books by Castillo in the future.


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      • More +
        27.04.2010 00:17
        Very helpful
        1 Comment



        More please!

        Sworn To Silence is the debut thriller of female author, Linda Castillo and is unusual and unique in the fact that it is set entirely in and around an Amish community. Painters Mill consists of two sets of people ~ those who are Amish and those who are not ~ but Chief Of Police, Katie Burkholder, is able to straddle the line between them quite confidently. She used to be Amish before traumatic events shook her world and she chose to walk away from her vows of faith. Now she is back and, as the Head of the local Police Force, is about to discover that some secrets just won't stay buried!!!

        When a young girl is found murdered with a set of roman numerals carved in her chest, it brings back painful memories of another serial killer who terrorised Painters Mill several years ago. Only three people still living know why the murders stopped so suddenly and one of them is Katie Burkholder. For reasons known only to her and two others, she is convinced that these lastest attacks are the result of a copycat killer despite simliarities and not the original murderer returned and is determined to solve the case without outside interference. But the local Selectmen think otherwise and, in a last ditch attempt to resseurect a near-disgraced Homicide Detective's career, arrange for someone more experienced to come onboard with his independent perspective.

        John Tomasetti is a widower and a drunk who has had his own share of traumatic experiences and has his own personal demons to face. But he is not stupid and soon works out that Kate has something in her past she would rather stay hidden! Slowly the truth comes out and then it becomes a race against time to track down a killer before he can strike again!

        Sworn To Silence is an awesome, awesome thriller and one I would not hesitate to reccomend! Inevitable comparisons will be made to Harrison Ford's film, Witness, but in truth, this is nothing like that! The Amish setting is an original one but not something that is overly dealt with! From the excerpt from her next novel, presented at the end of this book, it becomes apparent that this will be greater addressed in the future but, for now, it feels more like a slightly abstract aside! And that is a good thing because what we get here is just enough to whet the appetite for more! Sometimes it pays not to peak too early after all!

        Anyone who enjoys a bloody good whodunnit and highly engaging thrillers will find plenty to enjoy here/ The prose roars along at a furious pace and it almost feels as though the book is over too quickly! It is very well written and all the characters are thoroughly engaging, Thomasetti is vaguely reminiscent of John Connelly's Charlie Parker for reasons that will become apparent when you read the book, and there is nothing here to dis-like!

        I can't wait for the next book!


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        • More +
          11.08.2009 19:27
          Very helpful



          An average thriller which isn't anything too special, but readable.

          I came across Sworn to Silence as I am a member of the Amazon Vine programme, this involves receiving new books and subsequently reviewing them on Amazon. I mainly enjoy reading crime/thriller fiction and always keep an eye out on books that become available under this genre.
          The author, Linda Castillo is someone I had never heard of before and I am always keen to try out new authors.

          The Plot

          Kate Burkholder is the chief of police in a town called Painters Mill which is in Ohio, US. Originally Amish, she grew up in this town however only recently came back to take up the position of chief. The Amish community in this town and the "English" people live side by side quite peacefully.
          However a female body is discovered shattering this quiet town and it soon becomes clear they are dealing with a dangerous killer as the body has ritualistic carvings. This seems all too similar to Kate who was 14 when killings all so similar to this last happened in Painters Mill, however this brings back memories and secrets she would rather stay hidden.

          It's not long before another body is found and outside help is brought in to help the small and inexperienced police department of Painters Mill. Kate is determined to discover the killer behind these murders however she must also come to terms with an event which happened all those years ago.

          My Opinion
          It took me a while to get into this book, and the start didn't hook me in, despite the first body being found right at the beginning. The character's seemed so typical of a crime thriller story and my first thoughts were that this book was going to lack any originality to it.

          Kate Burkholder is a once Amish, female chief of police which the book likes to make quite clear, and making it known that she most likely only ended up in such a high reason due to politics. Kate is a good character however I do sometimes find her hard to follow, and can't understand some of her actions.
          Later in the book I came across the character, John Tomasetti, an agent brought in to help. I almost groaned when I discovered John was a troubled character who had never gotten over the death of his wife and kids and constantly turned to alcohol... this type of character has been done so many times now!

          What did make this book different from others in the genre was the inclusion of the Amish community and the insight into it. I'm not sure how correct Castillo is when referring to the Amish in this book but it's something I have not come across in such a book before and this made a nice refreshing change.
          The murder scenes in this book are described in good, gruesome detail making me cringe with how horrible they sound. Castillo does a good job describing each crime scene and really making out the fact that the killer is someone truly terrifying, and it's horrible to think of the horrors he inflicted on his victims.

          One thing I did like was at not one point did I have a vague idea of who the killer could be. There's nothing I hate more than a crime book which drops not-so-subtle hints at who the killer may be and it can often ruin the ending for me when I'm proved right. The killer came as a complete surprise to me and the closing scenes of the book were quite dramatic and well written.

          This is a debut from Linda Castillo and whilst it is quite an average thriller overall, I can see potential there for future books from Castillo. I wouldn't go out of my way to read this one, and it's not something you'll stay up late into the night reading because you just can't put it down, however it wasn't a bad read at all and one you will certainly want to finish.

          It starts off slow and seems to be a disappointing read, but it quickly picks up, especially towards the end.
          Sworn to Silence is currently available in Hardback from Amazon, with the Paperback version due out soon.


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