Review: Sworn to Silence – Linda Castillo

sworn_to_silence linda castillo cover

Kate Burkholder #1


SYNOPSIS: When a serial killer strikes bucolic Painters Mill, Ohio, the killer’s signature -—Roman numerals ritualistically carved into each victim’s abdomen- —matches the MO of four unsolved murders from 16 years earlier. Police chief Kate Burkholder, who’s reluctant to dredge up the past, must keep secret that she knows why the old murders stopped. Not satisfied with the case’s progress, local politicos set up a multijurisdictional task force to assist, including a law-enforcement agent battling his own demons. The added scrutiny and the rising body count threaten to push the chief over the edge. Adept at creating characters with depth and nuance, Castillo smoothly integrates their backstories into a well-paced plot that illuminates the divide between the Amish and English worlds. – via Goodreads

GRADE 7I must say that I enjoyed this one quite a bit. It was nothing revolutionary, and it was disjointed in places, but not enough to throw you from the story. Sometimes it got a little like a dog chasing a tail, things being repeated over and over again, but at the same time there was a lot of interesting stuff going on. I liked that Kate Burkholder is ex-Amish (is that how you would put that?!) as well as a police chief, much more human and imperfect. She has quite a rough back story, though it annoyed me somewhat how Castillo carried on bringing it up, and eventually it wasn’t titillating reveals all over the show, but repetitive and slightly annoying sections mentioning the same thing that had been read a few times already. However, the story was pretty good, the crime scenes were brutal, there was not really much character development but they carried the story just fine. But never mind all that, from about halfway in, suddenly the book just catches you – much more tightly written, more comprehensive, not so much lull but a lot of punches being packed… definitely worth checking into for that. It was a pity I worked out rather quickly who the murderer was, though that didn’t really detract from seeing where the story would go. I liked this book and will definitely continue with the series, see how it progresses. This is definitely not a bad book or an author to try out if you are looking for something new!

11 thoughts on “Review: Sworn to Silence – Linda Castillo

  1. Sounds intense!! I have to say murder mysteries are what I am the most fond of when it comes to reading material: A) they give me the heebie-jeebies (which I love because my imagination, sick as it is, can really fill in some details) and B) they seem to read the fastest. I have never heard of this, but I kind of want to seek it out now.

    And excuse me, but I believe the correct vernacular is: Amish-no-more. 😀


    1. Thanks Tom! Oh I can agree with you completely on a series like that, I read so many of them. An EXCELLENT one is Karin Slaughter’s books, two series that later become one and simply brilliant.

      Check these out and let me know what you think!

      Ah ha! The elusive term!


  2. Look at you with your book review!! It’s really astonishing that you can review different media on your blog, books & movies, whilst you’re juggling school and work! Awesome work Zoë, keep it up girl!


  3. I have read it, and all her others, as well. I blogged about one of hers just last week. I would agree with you as to your rating; there’s repetition where there ought not be. And some of the crimes are SO brutal that it’s hard to shake off that much darkness.


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