Sworn to Silence by Linda Castillo introduces Kate Burkholder, Chief of Police in the small town of Painter’s Mill, Ohio. Kate grew up just outside of Painter’s Mill, in an Amish family. Her understanding of the local Amish community made her the perfect choice to fill the position on the police department. Now, it seems that a serial killer has re-emerged after a 16-year hiatus, and Kate is determined to catch him. She knows more about the killer than she’s saying; when she was a young teen the man attacked her, and her family left him for dead. Now she must find a way to catch him and bring him to justice, while protected her Amish family and her past.
I was blown away by Sworn to Silence. I had inferred from the back cover of the ARC I received that this was Castillo’s first novel. It was the best first novel I’d ever read! Then I did some checking and discovered that her publisher is being a bit disingenuous. This is Castillo’s first novel of this genre, but she is a well-established author in the romance genre. After feeling a might let down by the publisher’s description of the author as, “A spectacular new voice in Suspense….”, I realized it didn’t matter. In fact, I’m very impressed that an established romance author can write mystery and suspense so well. I’m really not a fan of the romance genre, no patience for ruffled bodices covering heaving bosoms, but I’m now a fan of Castillo’s!
The plot is a real page-turner, the characters have depth, and the writing is excellent. I loved some of the descriptions; one of my favorites was regarding a suspect that had been taken into custody, after pitching a bit of a fit and resisting arrest. “An abrasion the size of a pear mars Brower’s forehead. His hair is wet with melting snow. He looks like a pit bull that just had its ass kicked by a roving band of Chihuahuas.” This quote comes from the Advanced Reader Copy, I sure hope they don’t edit it out…it’s just perfect!
Summing up….great book! I can’t wait for the sequel! (There’s a sequel, right Ms. Castillo??….)