Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Sworn to Silence (Kate Burkholder, #1)” as Want to Read:
Sworn to Silence (Kate Burkholder, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Sworn to Silence (Kate Burkholder #1)

3.97 of 5 stars 3.97  ·  rating details  ·  12,040 ratings  ·  1,641 reviews
A killer is preying on sacred ground....

In the sleepy rural town of 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. In the aftermath of the violence, the town was left with a sense of fragility, a loss of innocence. Kate Burkholder,
ebook, 336 pages
Published June 23rd 2009 by Minotaur Books (first published 2009)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Sworn to Silence, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Tim "The Enchanter"
A Chilling Tale in a Beautiful Place - 4.5 Stars

I am going to start this review with a confession. For reasons now lost to the ravages of time, I had a prejudice against female authors. My impression was that books by female authors will be sappy, romantic, emotional or uninteresting. I then went to university, got married and had two girls. Once the I got the aforementioned out of the way, I got back into reading and asked myself why it was I didn't read books by female authors. I have to s
Shelby *wants some flying monkeys*
When you go to work and can't concentrate because a book you left at home keeps calling your name-shows a great book! That's exactly what happened to me with this book.
Rrrrripppp! Rrrrrrrippppp!

That's the sound of me ripping this book. If you loved this and have troll instincts, stop reading now because I will not be kind.

I really have to stop reading mysteries. I keep hoping this one will be the next P.D. James or Elizabeth George (in her good days); multidimensional interesting characters circulating in a truly gripping and suspenseful plot. Well, wrong again. "Sworn to Silence" was incredibly predictable and cliched, with stock, one-dimensional characters.
Sworn to Silence is a snow-filled thriller that will chill you to the bone... perfect for crawling under a blanket with on a cold winter day. Kate Burkholder grew up within the Amish community of a small Ohio town, but left that life behind when she turned 18. Now many years later, she has returned to Painters Mill to accept the position of Police Chief of the town. At 30 years old, Kate is only peripherally involved with the people of the Amish community, and serves as a go-between of sorts bet ...more
Sean Peters
My first book by this talented author, and her first book, so a great place to start.

Another one of our monthly Book Pals books, so thank you Sue for picking this book for me.

A powerful, strong gripping, tense, chilling story of a sexual serial killer in Painters Mill In Ohio, home of many Amish residents.

Former Amish girl and now Chief Of Police has a case on her stands, and her past that might come back to haunt her.

A very well written, great paced, great strong characters.

The last few chapter

"Sworn to Silence" by Linda Castillo is the first book in the Kate Burkholder series. After reading two recent novels in the series that I won through Goodreads Giveaway, I was so impressed with the writing , I went and ordered all her other books in the series. This is the review of her first novel, a gripping,tense story of a sexual serial killer in Painters Mill in Ohio, home of the Amish community. I am now hooked on the series.

After sixteen years, it appears that a serial murderer is back,
Apr 03, 2009 Jackie rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: thriller mystery fans
She's a new name in the thriller category, but she fits right in with the heavy hitting veterans who have read a praised her amazing debut. The lead character is unforgettable--Kate Burkholder is the chief of police in the small Ohio town where she grew up, though Kate the child and Kate the woman are vastly different. Violence and trauma took away Kate's young Amish innocence and made her the tough "English" (the term
the Amish use for the non-Amish) cop she is today. But is she tough enough to
Just recently I was talking about violent acts against women in books and how sometimes, if gratuitous, it can turn me off. There's a fine line for me in what moves the plot forward and what is over the top and just plain too much. I got turned off on James Patterson for just this reason. Right or wrong this bothers me even more when women write violent scenes, as is the case in Linda Castillo's Sworn to Silence. I have to weigh the merits of the violence to the overall story. Would the story ha ...more
Jean Coldwell
Sworn to Silence begins with a horrific murder. A young woman is tortured, raped, and killed – exsanguinated – and her body is dumped in a field where a police deputy finds it.

Kate Burkholder is a young, ex-Amish woman. As police chief in her hometown of
Painter’s Mill, Ohio, she commands a small force and must investigate the murder. There is a detail, however, that only the police know: Roman numerals carved in the victim’s abdomen. Has a serial killer returned? Is Kate in over her head?

Kate h
I was so jazzed to have gotten this book from the preview list. It sounded like an interesting premise--mystery plus clash of cultures. Unfortunately, I was a little disappointed though I didn't really understand why until collecting my thoughts for this review. Here are my three main reasons for not liking the book as much as anticipated:
1. Changing the point of view. Half of the book is told in first person, the narrator being Kate, our fearless protagonist. First person helps draw out Kate's
I just hate the term "a real page-turner". However, that's what Sworn to Silence was. I kept sneaking reading time to find out what would happen next. It really deserves 3 to 3.5 stars, but I gave it a boost for how involved I got in it. I do have to say that I really did roll my eyes around page 250 and rolled them even more at page 260. Let's just say that something is brought into the story that is totally unnecessary and detracts from the overall realism of this mystery thriller.

I was really
So, what you're saying is:
1. Kate Burkholder leaves her Amish home at 18 with an eighth-grade education and has no problem getting a police dispatcher job with no high-school diploma.
2. She goes from dispatcher to homicide detective in less than eight years.
3. She then comes back to her small town to become chief of police.
4. With *eight years* of experience.
5. Total.
6. And oh, the serial killer who terrorized her town 16 years ago is back!!
7. But nope, can't be the same guy, because Kate was ne
Christine Terrell
This book hooked me in the prologue and did not let go until the very last page. Whew!!!!! Easily a 5 star rating from me and tied for first place (with S.J. Bolton's Now You See Me) as my favorite read (of 45 books) in the last 12 months. Honestly, I cannot recall the last time a book pulled me in so deep that there was not a single break in my attention. Cover to cover immersion. Ms. Castillo has a number of romances/romantic suspense novels under her belt. Sworn to Silence, I believe, is her ...more
Miss Clark
The writing was not awful or anything, though I did not find it particularly notable either. What really made me dislike this book was the fact that it is like walking through a sewer - all filthy and horrid and beastly, but for no real purpose. It does not serve to illustrate a greater truth, or illuminate a facet of human nature. It is just there as part of a cop/mystery/serial killer thriller. I certainly don't recommend it.
Wow, wow, wow! Sworn to Silence had me from page one! When the book opens, we are greeted by a vicious serial killer. We look through the eyes of a victim and experience the fear, pain, and last thoughts up until her final breath. For me that was extremely interesting. To “experience” the thought process as someone dies… very powerful.

Police Chief Kate Burkholder is an anomaly in her hometown of Painters Mill, Ohio. Not only is she a rare female chief of police, she was once one of the many Ami
I was hoping to find a new series for those "light reading" moods, but I don't know if I'll stick with this one. From start to finish the story was cliched and predictable. The moment a certain character was introduced I knew he was the killer, and I was right. The forensic aspects were a little slipshod (how can you use core temp alone to estimate the TOD of a body that has been lying in snow for hours? I don't think you accurately can. Only people who work in slaughterhouses would murder someo ...more
Stacy Green
4.5 stars. Loved this book. The main character is excellent, a unique, strong female voice with an interesting background. The mystery is top notch, and I didn't figure out who the bad guy was until just before the heroine did.

The subject matter is dark, but it's handled well. Definitely recommend!
Sworn to Silence
4.5 Stars

16 years ago, Painter’s Mill, Ohio was in the grips of terror with a vicious serial killer attacking young women and carving Roman numerals into their bodies. The killer disappeared suddenly, but has apparently returned and police chief, Kate Burkholder, must face the ghosts of her past if she is to stop the deaths before they hit too close to home.

A gripping thriller with captivating characters who are all too human. It should be noted that the book contains a high lev
Anne  (Booklady) Molinarolo
3.5 Stars

A quick and entertaining mystery. I found Kate Burkholder to be a fresh heroine. She came from the Amish to embrace the "English" ways after a terrible event that happened to her when she was just fourteen. And when a body of a young woman is found lying in a pristine snow farm field, memories of that night haught her and threaten to tear her world both personal and professional world apart. Could the Slaughterhouse Killer have survived? Is he back for revenge what she and her family di
Painters Mill, Ohio is a quiet Amish town. People come for the peace and quiet. That is exactly how Chief of Police Kate Burkholder likes it. Unfortunately the quietness is about to be shattered. Deputy T.J. Banks was out trying to corral one of the local farmer's cows when he sees a bloody trail leading him to the naked body of a woman. Her throat has been slashed and she has some Roman numerals craved into her. The last time Kate saw a Roman numeral was sixteen years ago. At that time she had ...more
I just didn't buy part of central premise of the book, and that weakened the whole mystery for me. Details with spoilers follow in the paragraph below. Also the writing style was not that great. Overall it held my attention just barely enough to finish the book and find out whodunnit, but it was nothing special - basically like reading an episode of Law and Order SVU.

Plot complaints spoiler-tagged: (view spoiler)
Gerard Oconnell
my first book from this author but it wont be my last.i enjoyed it very much and could not put it down.i love kate. i am looking forward to reading the rest of the series very soon.
Mar 26, 2014 Carmen rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mystery fans with a strong stomach
Recommended to Carmen by: Library
Shelves: fiction, mystery
This one star has nothing to do with Linda Castillo's writing, but instead it has to do with the fact that I cannot stomach books that focus on rape, serial killers, and torture. Such going-ons are not entertainment to me, and I read to be entertained.
Jana Fisher
This book/series was recommended by a friend. I committed the unthinkable and saw the tv movie based off of this book before reading it, oh well :). Anyway, I just now got around to reading it. I love mystery genre books, they're probably my favorite. And I'm a fan of Amish based books as well, although I was just discussing with the friend last night as I was finishing up the book, that the more I read Amish based books the more I dislike the culture. And the fact that Kate's brother more or le ...more
Cleo Bannister
I generally prefer British to American crime stories but this is one author who has won me over. Kate Burkholder is the Chief of Police when a murder in Painters Mill is discovered. The MO is similar to those committed when she was a young teenager while still a member of the Amish community. Since those days a long held secret has led to her estrangement from her family and the Amish community as she chose a different path to their way of life.

Kate Burkholder is a strong character, the murders
This was my Feb LT Early Reviewers win and it arrived in the mail on 3/13. The plot sounded interesting. I like murder mysteries and have recently been reading about the Amish, so having them combined in one plot was promising.[return][return]As I first began the book, I was a little surprised by the language. I have read books before with cursing, so I'm not sure why this caught me. Either I got used to it or it was more appropriately used later in the book because I stopped really noticing.[re ...more
Feb 08, 2012 Dorothy rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Readers who like their thrillers with lots of blood and guts
Recommended to Dorothy by: My Mystery Book Club leader
Reading the excruciating details of the serial rapes, torture, and murders of a number of young girls and women is not something that I would willingly inflict upon myself, but this book was the selection of my local Mystery Book Club for February. Sigh. And so, read I must.

The events take place in a small town in Ohio, a place that has a strong presence of Amish. Kate Burkholder grew up in the area in the Amish community, but she chose a different path in life. She went away to college, learned
Michelle Diener

I read this book in one gulp. There is something oddly haunting about it, and the dark, cold landscape adds to it. Katie Burkholder was raised Amish, but decided not to stay in the Amish way of life. Now she’s the chief of police of the small community she was raised in, with Amish and ‘English’ residents, and the last thing she expects is a murder. Especially a murder identical in every detail to a string of murders 15 years ago, when Katie herself was only a teenager.

What complicates this
PEI Public Library Service

One of the most wonderful things for a reader or mysteries is to discover a new-to-them author, especially one with several books to their name! I read a review for the third title in the Kate Burkholder series and, being compulsive about reading series titles in order, read the first book, Sworn to Silence. I became hooked on this series!

After a lapse of sixteen years, it appears that a serial murderer is back, torturing and killing young women in the area of Painters Mill, Ohio, a community w
Tattered Cover Book Store
Jackie says:

She's a new name in the thriller category, but she fits right in with the heavy hitting veterans who have read a praised her amazing debut. The lead character is unforgettable--Kate Burkholder is the chief of police in the small Ohio town where she grew up, though Kate the child and Kate the woman are vastly different. Violence and trauma took away Kate's young Amish innocence and made her the tough "English" (the term the Amish use for the non-Amish) cop she is today. But is she tou
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Made into Lifetime Movie 20 105 Jun 06, 2014 06:36AM  
  • Murder in Plain Sight (Amish Suspense, #1)
  • The Stranger You Seek (Keye Street #1)
  • Blood of the Prodigal (Ohio Amish Mystery, #1)
  • Never Look Away
  • Kill You Twice (Gretchen Lowell, #5)
  • The Dirty Secrets Club (Jo Beckett #1)
  • Law of Attraction (Anna Curtis, #1)
  • Abandoned (Smoky Barrett #4)
  • All The Pretty Girls
  • Material Witness (Shipshewana Amish Mystery #3)
  • Fragile (Jones Cooper, #1)
  • Undone (Will Trent, #3)
  • The Surrogate (Brennan & Esposito, #1)
  • The 13th Hour
  • One Grave Too Many (Diane Fallon Forensic Investigation, #1)
  • Fall from Pride (Home Valley, #1)
  • Head To Head (Claire Morgan #1)
  • Missing (The Secrets of Crittenden County #1)
Linda Castillo is the New York Times bestselling author of the Kate Burkholder series, including Sworn to Silence and Gone Missing, crime thrillers set in Amish country. Sworn to Silence was recently 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 the Daphne du Maurier Award of
More about Linda Castillo...
Pray for Silence (Kate Burkholder, #2) Breaking Silence (Kate Burkholder, #3) Gone Missing (Kate Burkholder, #4) Her Last Breath (Kate Burkholder, #5) The Dead Will Tell (Kate Burkholder, #6)

Share This Book

“I feel as if we're the centre of the universe and a kind God has blessed two imperfect people with a perfect moment.” 8 likes
“He didn’t know why he was running away. Maybe because being close to someone took a hell of a lot more guts than being alone.” 3 likes
More quotes…