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
Open Preview

Sworn to Silence

(Kate Burkholder #1)

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  28,825 ratings  ·  3,169 reviews
Some secrets are too terrible to reveal . . .Some crimes are too unspeakable to solve . . . 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 ...more
Hardcover, 321 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
Joanne I believe that you would. The Amish theme is there but not overwhelming. It's an engaging mystery novel and one you should give a try.…moreI believe that you would. The Amish theme is there but not overwhelming. It's an engaging mystery novel and one you should give a try. (less)
Jess☺️ Yes there's a little bit of Romance it's not the most prominent bit of the book it is more about the crimes committed but what we do get is enough for…moreYes there's a little bit of Romance it's not the most prominent bit of the book it is more about the crimes committed but what we do get is enough for it to grow in the next books if they bring the same characters back and to see where it goes.(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
really liked it Average rating 4.00  · 
Rating details
 ·  28,825 ratings  ·  3,169 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Sworn to Silence (Kate Burkholder, #1)
Mary Beth *Traveling Sister*
Jun 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is the first book in the Kate Burkholder Series and I
just loved it. One of the many reasons that I loved it so much is
that I live in the Columbus, Ohio area where some of the setting is
taken place.

Kate is an eight year veteran for the Columbus, Ohio Police
Force, who returns to her home where she grew up in Painters Mill,
Ohio, where I have visited several times. She becomes Police Chief
there. She knows the Amish town and residents very well. Since she
left the Amish way of life, she is
Always Pouting
I really was just being generous here with the three stars because I really had to drag myself through this book. It wasn't bad but it wasn't good either. The writing was mediocre and I couldn't bring myself to like any of the characters. I literally figured out the plot line in the beginning and the view point changes were annoying and unnecessary. I know it's a genre books but it was just so derivative of every other mystery book I've read, there was nothing original or good about it. You ...more
Oct 15, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2015
I think most sociopaths are born, not made. Very few are created by life events. Kate Burkholder, Chief of Police

Its a dark, quiet morning, the kind I usually relish while drinking a hot cup of coffee at my kitchen table with warm puppies at my feet. Today, I shiver in my onesie while I wait for my pot of coffee to brew. Im facing the kitchen window that looks onto the otherwise idyllic, peaceful neighborhood, and thinking about the book I finished reading the day before. I wonder if someones
Mar 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: us-rural-crime
A solid 4 stars
This is book 1 in the series about a small town Ohio police chief in Amish country. Kate Burkholder was raised Amish, but left the community and became a police officer in Columbus, Ohio. She has returned as chief, hired because of her Amish background. The book opens with a gruesome torture/murder scene. It reminded me of the opening scene in the tv show Criminal Minds.
When the body is discovered, there is a Roman numeral carved on the body, the same as a series of serial
Oct 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was such a good read. Lately I have been struggling to find a good crime thriller book that keeps me guessing and really in suspense. I'm really glad I stumbled across this one. The pace is fast and there is a lot of suspense. I found the book very difficult to put down. I really liked the main character, Chief Kate Burkholder. She is a strong, independent woman with an Amish background. I enjoyed learning a little bit about the Amish way of life and thought it clever how the author worked ...more
Aug 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
New author to me and I enjoyed it very much! The main character, Kate Burkholder, was interesting and likeable. She made mistakes but persevered and eventually got her man.
The story was excellent, lots of really gross murders, lots of police work and then a great twist at the end. I was just beginning to wonder if it could be a certain person when it turned out to be so.
I also very much enjoyed the Amish angle to the plot. It added an extra something to the whole and I learned a little about
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.
Jul 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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
Tim The Enchanter
Posted to The Literary

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 long had a prejudice against female authors. My impression was that books by female authors would be sappy, romantic, emotional or uninteresting. I 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
Shelby *trains 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.
Scarlett Readz and Runz....Through Novel Time & Distance
Sworn to Silence is KILLER! What a great novel. I almost did not make it passed the opening scene. It is very, very gruesome!

Yes, I know. What was I doing then reading this book? Well, for one it has been liked and recommended by so many and frankly, two, no one told me that the cases in this novel are so horrific. SoI will warn you now before you read this book, know that these triggers are all over: rape, murder, sadomasochism (SM), porn, masturbation, meat hooks, chains, blades, blood, guts,
Virginia Ronan ♥ Herondale ♥
What would I do without the thrillers my aunt borrows me to read? XD
I guess this was just an okay read for me and I liked it enough to continue to read it until the end.

I think it's safe to say that my time on goodreads made me picky when it comes to books and in earlier days I probably would have given this four stars. Now? Not so much. >_<

I just don't understand why the tough, solitary heroine always has to have a love interest. And then it's always so insta-lovey that I can't help but
Sean Peters
Mar 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
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

"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,
Kirsten #aprilfoolsday #internationalediblebooksfestival #lupusalertday #nationalsourdoughbreadday #readingisfunnyday
Great book! Katie Burkholder is a sensitive (yet damaged) and kick-ass Chief of Police in a small town in Ohio with a large Amish population. Being formerly Amish herself, she has a special insight.

Of course, it can't be too idyllic. So, a serial killer has to come to town. Thing is, he'd been there before.

This is a great mystery/thriller with wonderful pacing. The characters are quirky, but not too quirky and then there is the stereotypical small town politics where politicians put the
Jun 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sworn to silence by Linda Castillo is the first in the chief Kate Burkholder series. It's only book 1 and I'm hooked already and can't wait to start the next one.
It's a book with plenty of twists and turns to keep you guessing also enough gory crimes it keep you hooked.
Rating: 3.5 Stars

I really enjoyed this book, the first in a series and the first time Ive read this author. It was very well written and I enjoyed the vast array of characters associated with the police department, most especially Kate Burkholder. The small town setting coupled with the Amish background really attracted me to this series. The story was fast paced and kept my interest from beginning to end. I dont know why, but I had the impression that this story and the series itself was
Painters Mill, Ohio Police Chief Kate Burkholder is suddenly faced with what looks like the re-emergence of a serial killer who hadn't struck in the last 16 years. The killer's signature is to leave Roman numerals carved on the murdered victim. Kate's conflicted as she's harboring a secret that relates directly to the case. Painters Mill is a town where the Amish and "English" have coexisted for years. Kate straddles both cultures as she was raised Amish but left when she was a teenager.

May 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mysteries
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
Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
May 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2016
I was lucky enough to get Sworn to Silence, the first book in the series cheap as an Ebook after being rejected on NetGalley for Among the Wicked the latest book in the series. So, all and all it was probably for the best since I did enjoy starting this series from the beginning instead of the latest book.

Police chief Kate Burkholder, ex-Amish, has to stop a vicious killer in this book that may be a copycat or a killer that murdered several women 16 years ago. However, she has personal reasons
Anna Bendewald
Sep 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Kate Burkholder is unlike any cop I've ever encountered in pages of a book or out. I only knew of the Amish from watching that movie with Harrison and Kelly MaGillis so many years ago. But the setting of Painters Mill, Ohio is a great place for us all to get down to the business of solving murder. The backstory of Kate having escaped the clutches of another killer made so much explanation unecessary--I got her!

I'm pleased she's such a prolific writer and there are several more Kate Burkholder
Dec 27, 2009 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Dec 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Sworn to Silence was my first Linda Castillo book and it did not disappoint. She is such an amazing storyteller! I was hooked at every turn.

Now to start the second in the series, Pray for Silence.

Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*
This was my first ever Linda Castillo book. It won't be my last.

Kate Burkholder, of Painter's Mill, Ohio, is not your regular Police Chief. She was brought up in Painter's Mill in the Amish faith, but left both when she was 18.

Now back, she is faced with a serial killer, one she thought she had dispatched 16 years earlier. Not only is she battling the killer, and Amish prejudices against the English, but a multi-jurisdictional task force set up by the town council, some of whom seem more intent
Oct 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Im so glad this is the first many books because I need more Kate Burkholder!! ...more
Chilling, Tense, Gripping, non-stop page turner

Sixteen years ago a serial killer terrorized the small Amish community of Painters Mill, Ohio. Fourteen year old Kate Burkholder thought she survived the terror of the Slaughterhouse Killer but left Painters Mill and her Amish faith behind when she was eighteen. She also carried a secret from that terrible time. Now she has returned ... as Chief of Police. She thought she had come to terms with the past. Until the body of a young woman who had been
Laura Peden
Oct 09, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 ⭐ This was a good start to a decent little police procedural series. Listened via Scribd. ...more
Jul 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Painters 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 victims abdomen. Has a serial killer returned? Is Kate in over her head?

Kate hides
Dec 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2018
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Böse bist du
  • A Better Man (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #15)
  • The Last Widow (Will Trent, #9)
  • The Turn of the Key
  • Someone Knows
  • The Family Upstairs
  • Vanish in Plain Sight (The Brotherhood of the Raven #2)
  • Murder in Plain Sight (The Brotherhood of the Raven #1)
  • A Minute to Midnight (Atlee Pine, #2)
  • Lady in the Lake
  • Under Currents
  • When You See Me (Detective D.D. Warren, #11; Gardner Universe, #20)
  • Faldende masker  (Roland Triel #6)
  • E niente sia (Emma & Kate Vol. 1)
  • Twisted Twenty-Six (Stephanie Plum, #26)
  • The Shape of Night
  • These Things Hidden
  • Pieces of Her
See similar books…
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

Other books in the series

Kate Burkholder (1 - 10 of 12 books)
  • 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)
  • After the Storm (Kate Burkholder, #7)
  • Among the Wicked (Kate Burkholder #8)
  • Down a Dark Road (Kate Burkholder, #9)
  • A Gathering of Secrets (Kate Burkholder, #10)
  • Shamed (Kate Burkholder, #11)

Related Articles

April is the most hopeful of months, promising warm days and sunshine just around the corner. The weather is a little unpredictable, sure, but tha...
33 likes · 5 comments
“I feel as if we're the centre of the universe and a kind God has blessed two imperfect people with a perfect moment.” 9 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.” 4 likes
More quotes…