Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Not for the faint of heart

Sworn to Silence
Linda Castillo

First, a warning: this book is pretty messed up in places. There's a serial killer, and he's not the nice kind that kills you all quick-like. No, he drags things out and makes life extra-painful. In other words, he's just like high school.

Ok, so, background: Kate Burkholder grew up Amish but left the community and is now chief of police. Her skills are put to the test when young women turn up dead. Roman numerals carved into their stomachs indicate the killer's rampage has been a long one -- even though he was presumed dead over a decade ago.

In many ways, the story is cliched: Kate battles the predominately-male police force and fights to prove her worth. She's also hiding a dark secret that could destroy her. An alcoholic detective who is battling his own demons is sent to help with the investigation. What if he uncovers Kate's secret? And what about the hotshot investigator who slowly infringes upon Kate's case?

These cliches, however, do not detract from the novel. Sworn to Silence is a solid mystery that follows genre conventions and delivers chills along the way. I could have done without the predictable and unnecessary romance that pops up midway through the novel -- hello, serial killer on the loose, put it back in your pants until you catch him, mmmkay?

Overall, the story was an intriguing one. The violence and brutality featured in the novel are not for the faint of heart. However, for those looking for a disturbing, atmospheric mystery to complement this time of year, Sworn to Silence is a a perfect fit. That said, I don't think I'll read the sequel that continues the story of Kate Burkholder; one was enough for me.

In a nutshell: Disturbing, taut, and compelling, Sworn to Silence probably shouldn't be read late at night, especially if you live alone.

Bibliolatry Scale: 4 out of 6 stars

FTCBS: downloaded a version o'this for me Kindle

RIPV: Sworn to Silence is the second book that counts toward this year's RIP challenge.


Kailana said...

Sounds interesting! I am discovering lots of new books through RIP. :)

nat @book, line, and sinker said...

ooh, sounds positively grisly! my hubby likes these types of books, but i can't really read them because they make me too jumpy!

glad you enjoyed it--sounds pretty intense. :)