Pray for silence

Title: Pray for Silence (Kate Burkholder #2)

Author: Linda Castillo

Published: July 22, 2010

Category: Mystery

Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

Add: Goodreads

Purchase: Amazon | IndieBound | Book Depository

One family. One horrific murder. An entire town under suspicion…

The Planks moved from Lancaster County Pennsylvania to the small Amish community of Painters Mill, hoping to resume the comforts of the Plain Life in Ohio. Less than one year later, the family of seven is found dead—slaughtered on their own farm.

Police Chief Kate Burkholder and her small force have few clues, no motive, and no suspect. Formerly Amish herself, Kate is no stranger to the secrets the Amish keep from their “English” neighbors—and each other. When the diary belonging to the rebellious teenager Mary Plank turns up, Kate is surprised to find not only a kindred spirit but a murder suspect: the charismatic stranger who stole Mary’s heart.

Then there’s Mary’s brother, Aaron. Shunned by his family and the rest of the Amish community, could he have returned to seek revenge? Now it’s up to Kate to search for some dark truths about the Planks—and confront long-buried secrets of her own. As Kate’s obsession with the case grows so does her resolve to bring the killer to justice—even if it means putting herself into the line of fire . . .

I listened to the first in the Kate Burkholder series, Sworn to Silence, in November and this second entry, also read by Karen McInerney, has more or less the same strengths and weaknesses. It’s a gripping story, graphic and engrossing. The plot keeps moving relentlessly, but Kate makes some truly stupid decisions. She’s a professional, has been a cop for like 8 years and is in a position of definite authority, but she lets her emotions get the better of her in situations when she needs to be in control. She feels connected to Mary, one of the victims, and I can see why, but she spends so much time dwelling on her past I wanted to tell her to suck it up and get on with solving the case.

John Tomasetti, Kate’s occasional lover currently on leave from the Ohio Bureau of Crime Investigation, shows up from Columbus to help. He’s a good cop, but is always walking on the edge of what’s legal/appropriate. Both Kate and John are alcoholics with a tendency to drive when they shouldn’t. John, while no longer abusing prescription pills, has started having debilitating panic attics. Kate has issues stemming from the past we learned about in the first book and are reminded of in this one. And reminded of. And reminded of.

I would really like to see John and Kate work on a case that doesn’t tie into either of their pasts, but that may be impossible, considering, she was raped and killed someone, his wife and daughters were tortured and murdered. Petty theft, maybe, but that doesn’t really carry a novel far.

Kate and John are still unsure where their relationship stands. they are both wary, which makes sense given their histories, the stresses of their jobs, and the distance between them. I liked that she left out any sex scenes this time around and they work as a couple. The tone of their conversations is good and I can see why they are attracted to each other. I honestly don’t know if I actually like either one of them though. I see why they are compelling characters, but I don’t think I would want to be either’s friend.

I like the setting, an Ohio town where the relationship between the Amish and English can be complicated. I feel like Castillo shows the Amish realistically, the good and the bad. The relationship between the Amish and the English is also explored, they both benefit from the other group, but there are still unavoidable tensions.

I said in my review of the first that I felt like the series had potential that it wasn’t quite living up to yet. I still feel that way. I feel like Castillo can write a book with these characters that I’ll love; she just hasn’t done it yet.

By the way, the first in the series was made into a Lifetime movie, An Amish Murder, starring Neve Campbell. I missed it the first time it was on, but it looks like they’ll be airing it again on Feb 4 at 8:00.

Kate Burkholder Mysteries

  1. Sworn to Silence
  2. Pray for Silence
  3. Breaking Silence
  4. Gone Missing
  5. Her Last Breath (expected June 2013)

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