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Murder in a small town...
Sworn to Silence - Linda Castillo
Member Name: Gemma_C
Sworn to Silence - Linda Castillo
Advantages: Has some fresh ideas in it, picks up towards the end.
Disadvantages: Characters are stuff we have seen before, very cliche
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.
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.
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.
Summary: An average thriller which isn't anything too special, but readable.