Sworn to Silence (Kate Burkholder Series #1)

Sworn to Silence (Kate Burkholder Series #1)

by Linda Castillo

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Overview

Now the subject of the Lifetime original movie, An Amish Murder

Sworn to Silence is the first in Linda Castillo's New York Times bestselling Kate Burkholder series.

Some secrets are too terrible to reveal. Some crimes are too unspeakable to solve. . . .

In Painters Mill, Ohio, the Amish and "English" residents have lived side by side for two centuries. But sixteen years ago, a series of brutal murders shattered the peaceful farming community. A young Amish girl named Kate Burkholder survived the terror of the Slaughterhouse Killer . . . but ultimately decided to leave her community.

A wealth of experience later, Kate has been asked to return to Painters Mill as chief of police. Her Amish roots and big-city law enforcement background make her the perfect candidate. She's certain she's come to terms with her past—until the first body is discovered in a snowy field.

Kate vows to stop the killer before he strikes again. But to do so, she must betray both her family and her Amish past—and expose a dark secret that could destroy her.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250161635
Publisher: St. Martin''s Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/05/2017
Series: Kate Burkholder Series , #1
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 118,626
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

LINDA CASTILLO is the New York Times bestselling author of the Kate Burkholder novels, including Sworn to Silence which was recently was adapted into a Lifetime Original Movie titled An Amish Murder starring Neve Campbell as Kate Burkholder. Castillo is the recipient of numerous industry awards including a nomination by the International Thriller Writers for Best Hardcover, the Daphne du Maurier Award of Excellence, and a nomination for the RITA. In addition to writing, Castillo’s other passion is horses. She lives in Texas with her husband and is currently at work on her next novel.

Read an Excerpt

SWORN TO SILENCE (Chapter 1)

The cruiser's strobes cast red and blue light onto winter dead trees. Officer T.J. Banks pulled the car onto the shoulder and flipped on the spotlight, running the beam along the edge of the field where corn stalks shivered in the cold. Twenty yards away, six Jersey cows stood in the bar ditch, chewing their cud.

"Stupid fuckin' cows," he muttered. Besides chickens, they had to be the dumbest animals on earth.

He hit the radio. "Dispatch, this is forty-seven."

"What's up, T.J.?" asked Mona, the night dispatcher.

"I got a 10-54. Stutz's damn cows are out again."

"That's the second time in a week."

"Always on my shift, too."

"So what are you going to do? He ain't got no phone out there."

A glance at the clock on the dash told him it was nearly two A.M. "Well, I'm not going to stand out here in the frickin' cold and round up these stupid shits."

"Maybe you ought to just shoot 'em."

"Don't tempt me." Looking around, he sighed. Livestock on the road at this hour was an accident waiting to happen. If someone came around the curve too fast it could be bad. He thought of all the paperwork an accident would entail and shook his head. "I'll set up some flares then go drag his Amish ass out of bed."

"Let me know if you need backup." She snickered.

Yanking the zipper of his coat up to his chin, he slid his flashlight from its nest beside the seat and got out of the cruiser. It was so cold he could feel his nose hairs freezing. His boots crunched through snow as he made his way to the bar ditch, his breaths puffing out in front of him. He hated the graveyard shift almost as much as he hated winter.

He ran the flashlight beam along the fence line. Sure enough, twenty feet away two strands of barbed wire had come loose from a gnarled locust-wood post. Hoofprints told him several head had discovered the opening and ventured onto the shoulder for some illicit grazing.

"Stupid fuckin' cows."

T.J. went back to the cruiser and popped the trunk. Removing two flares, he set them up on the centerline to warn traffic. He was on his way back to the cruiser when he spotted something in the snow on the opposite side of the road. Curious, he crossed to it. A solitary woman's shoe lay on the shoulder. Judging from its condition and lack of snow cover, it hadn't been there long. Teenagers, probably. This deserted stretch of road was a favorite place to smoke dope and have sex. They were almost as stupid as cows.

Frowning, T.J. nudged the shoe with his foot. That was when he noticed the drag marks, as if something heavy had been hauled through the snow. He traced the path with the flashlight beam, tracking it to the fence and into the field beyond. The hairs at the back of his neck prickled when he spotted blood. A lot of it.

"What the hell?"

He followed the trail into the ditch where yellow grass poked up through the snow. He climbed the fence and found more blood on the other side, stark and black against pristine white. It was enough to give a guy the willies.

The path took him to a stand of bare-branched hedge apple trees at the edge of a cornfield. He could hear himself breathing hard, the dead corn stalks whispering all around. T.J. set his hand on his revolver and swept the beam in a 360-degree circle. That was when he noticed the object in the snow.

At first he thought an animal had been hit and dragged itself there to die. But as he neared, the beam revealed something else. Pale flesh. A shock of darkish hair. A bare foot sticking out of the snow. Adrenaline kicked hard in his gut. "Holy shit."

For an instant he couldn't move. He couldn't stop looking at the dark circle of blood and colorless flesh. Giving himself a hard mental shake, T.J. dropped to his knees beside the body. His first thought was that she might still be alive. Brushing at the snow, he set his hand against a bare shoulder. Her skin was ice cold, but he rolled her over anyway. He saw more blood and pasty flesh and glazed eyes that seemed to stare right at him.

Shaken, he scrambled back. His hand trembled as he grappled for his lapel mike. "Dispatch! This is forty-seven!"

"What now, T.J? One of them cows chase you up a tree?"

"I got a fuckin' body here at Stutz's place."

"What?"

They used the ten-code system in Painters Mill, but for the life of him he couldn't remember the number for a dead body. He'd never had to use it. "I said I got a dead body."

"I heard you the first time." But the words were followed by a stunned pause as realization hit her. "What's your twenty?"

"Dog Leg Road, just south of the covered bridge."

A beat of silence. "Who is it?"

Everyone knew everyone in Painters Mill, but he'd never seen this woman before. "I don't know. A woman. Naked as the day she came into this world and deader than Elvis."

"A wreck or what?"

"This was no accident." Setting his hand on the butt of his .38, T.J. scanned the shadows within the trees. He could feel his heart beating fast in his chest. "You'd better call the chief, Mona. I think we got us a murder."

SWORN TO SILENCE. Copyright © 2009 by Linda Castillo.

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Sworn to Silence 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 586 reviews.
Revpa More than 1 year ago
Linda Castillo is an excellent writer - her plot and characters are excellent. This book should not be listed un "Christian Fiction Amish" Having an Amish theme does not make the book Christian. Ms Castillo's used of curse and swear words through out the book, and her rather vivid description of sexual scenes - do not read like any truly Christian literature I've ever read.
SHARON39 More than 1 year ago
Whew! What a storyline! Chief of Police, Katie Burkholder in Painters Mill, Amish country; who would have guessed? Sworn to Silence is chock full of chills, suspense and flawed, interesting characters! I love a strong female lead and a wonderful beginning that won't let me put the book down!! Suspense with a dash of romance...PERFECT! Compelling! Intense! Gripping page-turner! Fast-paced! Loved it!!!! I'm buying Linda Castillo's next one, for sure!!! ... A couple of other wonderful, thrilling books I'd like to offer readers are EXPLOSION IN PARIS, by Pirrung...EXPLOSION IN PARIS ..and THE NEIGHBOR, by Lisa Gardner.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Of course harriet klausner comes along with her cliff note book report to ruin yet another book. Bn, when are you ever going put a stop to this obnoxious poster, delete her plot spoilers and ban her? She ruins every book she posts on. Please delete her posts.
Loralee3 More than 1 year ago
This was the 2nd book I have read from Linda Castillo. I read Pray For Silence first. I thought they were both really good reads. If you like a good mystery...then this is a goodie. Warning...pretty graphic details!
ReviewYourBook.com More than 1 year ago
Kate was Amish. She still lives in her mostly Amish community, but she is no longer a part of the religion. She is a police chief. A serial killer is back. Kate is holding back a secret that may blow the case open. Will she open up old wounds that could bring her family and the Amish community into a bad situation? Will she cover for them and herself and let the killing continue? Because of politics, she is fired. Was it just politics? Several people are hiding key facts. Kate keeps working on the case, though she is fired. This is about to get her killed. Who killed these girls? I love the Amish/Mennonite genre. I believe that Castillo has single-handedly created a new sub-genre-Amish suspense. This is brilliant. However, this is not a feel-good Amish book. There is suspense, some gore, and foul language. This is a page-turner that must be added to the top of your reading list.
nutz4harrypotter6 More than 1 year ago
When I had seen this book offered on Library Thing Early Reviewers I was very interested in the book. I didn't win the book but a fellow LTER finished with it and offered it to others. I am thrilled to have requested the book and to have had the privilege of reading Sworn To Silence. The main character of Sworn to Silence is Kate Burkholder who grew up Amish and decided to leave the Amish way of life. She is now the Chief of Police in Painters Mill, Ohio, her former hometown. She has a secret that makes Sworn to Silence a thriller. The plot of Sworn to Silence is that a serial murdered is back after sixteen years. After the first body is discovered questions arise as to, why such a long hiatus between these murders? Does Kate know who the murderer is? You will be trying to figure out who the murderer is and if Kate really is hiding the identity of the murderer. You are in for a jolt of surprises and mutilation in the murders. If you can handle reading about torture and sex crimes then grab yourself a copy of Sworn to Silence by Linda Castillo. I was utterly thrilled by this book and look forward to reading more books by Linda Castillo.
charlottesweb93 More than 1 year ago
Sworn to Silence was a fun book to listen to on Audio Book. For one thing, there was no way I could skip ahead to the end to find out whodunit. The narrator did a great job of keeping with the "edge of your seat" writing. Speaking of which, Linda Castillo did a FABULOUS job. Sworn to Silence is a twisted story with horrific murders set in the heart of Amish country. The writing is superb. The characters are realistic and enjoyable. The story is one that will give you nightmares. Exactly what I have come to love about mystery novels. If you are a fan of Karin Slaughter, you will enjoy this book. It is not a story I would recommend to the squeamish, but if you can handle it, you will love it! I promise!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the first of the series about an ex-amish female chief of police in small town Ohio. The story line is well thought out and written so as to drag you in. I couldn't stop reading from page 1 to the end. I recommend this and all of this series to everyone who enjys crime and mystery with a side bar of romance. They are great reads.
magalis sandoval More than 1 year ago
Refreshing read. Kept me up late at night. Sorry it had to end. Now what am I going to read?!
JerseyGirlpvh More than 1 year ago
Great murder mystery.  Not usually my thing, but the Amish angle sounded interesting.   I gave this five stars because as soon as I finished this one, I ordered the next one.  The books are a bit gory, but really fast moving.  The characters are great.
agent132 More than 1 year ago
This is the first Linda Castillo book I have read, and it will not be the last! I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. I highly recommend this to anyone who wants a mystery with a twist.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I absolutely LOVED this book! It is the best book I've read in a long time. It kept me in suspence and my chest tight at times. The ending was thrilling and unexpected. I found myself trying to guess throughout the entire book of who the killer was and I was confused until the end. I definitely recommend this book as a GREAT thriller!!!
Lynda166 More than 1 year ago
What a great read! I am excited for this book to come out so I can talk about it with my friends. It is a trilling book. Also the main character has quite a past. One that some may not be familiar with. The author blends the storyline and characters so well that I found it hard to put down. Something original that I really enjoyed! Thank you and Bravo!! I hate to give too much away so I try to keep the infomation and plot very brief so too much is not given away. So if you are like me/ please stop reading. The police chief is a lady who has grown up in this small town. Her family has not been involved in her life for religious reasons. She is an excellent cop but with a few personal problems. Suddenly a murder happenens in this small docile town and then another and the past is going to haunt everyone again. Is it the same serial murderer? And why would he come back??? Hope you enjoy!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you can get through the first 1/3 of the book, it finally becomes a good read. The beginning of the book gives you a lot of history of the main character, but leaves you waiting for the actual story to begin. The last 2/3's of the book draws you back into the story leaving you wanting to keep reading..
1louise1 More than 1 year ago
A good Amish mystery that turned out to be a heart-pounding suspense. ENJOYED!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm still reading this book but it's riveting . Tortured bodies are turning up around this Amish town, some new, some not so new. But this isn't the the first time the town has experienced this. Sixteen years ago a serial killer roamed here. Then the murders stopped, no one knows why. But the Chief of police has a secret about why. She thought the killer was dead. Is this a copycat or has he returned?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This one had me reading into the wee hours ofthe morning because I couldn't put it down! Great plot, great story-line and characters you can relate to! Absolutely loved it!!!
Roving More than 1 year ago
Good read, but a bit too graphic.
JessieW87 More than 1 year ago
Sworn to Silence was a quick and fast read because I couldn't put it down! The author keeps you interested by having a few story lines going on. She does go from 1st person to 3rd person, but its not something that would irritate a reader. The whole novel was dramatic and thrilling! I loved the relationship that started to blossom between John and Kate. It was enough to please people who like intimate relationships to build in a novel, yet not take over the main story line. I also liked reading about Kate's past and how she has built a life in an Amish community when she didn't join the church at 18. I look forward to reading Pray for Silence.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thoroughly enjoyed this story and will look for more in this series. The novel was well-paced and kept your interest by having multiple story lines going on--finding out and catching the serial killer, delving into Kate's family issues, John's personal issues, etc. I also liked how the author interwove both first- and third-person narratives to tell the story. My only complaint was that I would have liked to get more into the mind of the killer. Except for the "profile" that John provided, we didn't get to learn anything about the killer's mindset and how or if his impending divorce had anything to do with his wife putting two and two together.
Anonymous 4 months ago
Brutal to animals. People like that have an evil core
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a great book. I loved it & look forward to reading the rest of the Kate B books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent reading. Relaxing yet kept you on the edge of your seat.
cbl_tn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
After the discovery of the mutilated body of a young woman, the residents of Painter's Mill, Ohio are fearful that a serial killer has returned after a 16-year hiatus. Police chief Kate Burkholder is one of three people who know differently. When she was a 14-year-old Amish girl, Kate killed the serial killer. Her family covered up the death and they haven't spoken of it since. Although the small town police department is too small to handle a murder investigation of this nature, Kate is reluctant to ask for assistance from either the Holmes County Sheriff's Department or the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation. Eventually the three agencies join forces, and Kate works hard to meet everyone's expectations while secretly trying to confirm that she had, in fact, killed the serial killer. Perhaps her family only thought he was dead, and he's returned to take up where he left off?I had trouble getting into the story in the first half of the book. Once I reached the last third of the book, I stayed up well past my bedtime in order to finish it. The suspense was too great to stop listening. One of my biggest problems in the first half of the book was trying to figure out the jurisdictional boundary of the Painter's Mill police department. The bodies were found in areas that, from their descriptions, were isolated and rural. I would have thought that the County Sheriff would have had jurisdiction rather than the police department. That question troubled me all the way to the end of the book. Also, I had a slight problem with Tomasetti's sudden transformation from alcoholic prescription drug addict to romantic hero. I think it would have worked better for Tomasetti's psychological state to have been more ambiguous when his character was introduced.I like Kate, and her relationship to the Amish community creates some interesting tensions for a crime series. She's a bit of an outsider as a relatively young female in a traditionally male-dominated profession, and she's an outsider among the Amish community she chose to leave. This book reminded me of Margaret Maron's Deborah Knott series, so her readers might want to give this one a try.
TFS93 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This one was just okay, but it was a quick, easy, read. I did find the book a little too graphic for my taste, but I did like the fact that the story included the Amish community, as it did make the book more interesting.