Wow! How lucky to find another great first of a series! Just when I thought I was running out of authors, I discover another one who is young and talented. (by that I infer lots of wonderful reads ahead!)
With a great cover scene of dead cornstalks in a snowy farmer's field, "Sworn to silence" grabs you right away. Set in Ohio's Amish country, this mystery/thriller features a unique protagonist. A female police chief who was formerly Amish.
Kate Burkholder has chosen to leave the Amish way of life and is shunned by her family. She leads a somewhat solitary life but enjoys her job largely due to her loyal employees.
Kate maintains a devastating secret from her youth which comes back to haunt her when a body is found in a wintery farmer's field. The setting is so well depicted that the cold is almost palpable... Loathe to call for assistance from outside law enforcement agencies because of her secret, Kate is called to task by the town's council who employ her. When the case becomes even higher profile with the discovery of a second body, they go over her head and call in an agent from the BCI. Agent John Tomasetti is a damaged individual. His posting to Kate's case is probably his last chance at salvaging what is left of his formerly illustrious career. He lost his wife and children to a psychopath and doesn't want anyone else to suffer what he has had to...
When Kate does not follow protocol and fails to find the culprit, the town council remove her from her duties. Knowing nothing else in her life will fill the void, Kate continues to work the case with the help of John. There is an attraction between them which is largely due to all the baggage they carry with them.
When Kate is eventually captured by the murderer, both she and John fear for her survival. Her ingenuity with the help of sound police work, bring the culprit to justice bringing about a most satisfying ending to the novel.
Linda Castillo had written a sound police procedural. Kate Burkholder is both intiguing and likeable and I look forward to meeting her again on her next case. "Pray for silence" is due out June 2010.