Pray for Silence by Linda Castillo

Title:  Pray for Silence
Author:  Linda Castillo
Release date:  June 22, 2010
Publisher:  Minotaur Books
Pages:  320
Genre:  Mystery, thriller
Source:  Library

Kate Burkholder, chief of police of Amish town Painter’s Mill, has solved her share of crimes.  But when the seven members of the Plank family are found brutally murdered in their home, she is as stunned as anyone.  Who would want to kill these God-loving, Plain people?  Between Kate, her team of police officers, and her sometimes-boyfriend, John Tomasetti, this case must be solved, as it quickly becomes clear that a killer is on the loose in Painter’s Mill.

I’d been looking forward to reading this second book in the Kate Burkholder series ever since I was surprisingly impressed with the first one, Sworn to Silence [my review].  While I enjoyed the time I spent with Kate Burkholder in this novel, I have to admit to being a bit disappointed in this one.  I think the main reason I feel that way is that this book is so similar to the first one, and not really in a good way.  Allow me to explain.

When I read books in a series, I want to see some character development as the series progresses, I want to see people grow and change and basically become more complete characters as the series goes on.  Unfortunately, I don’t feel that Castillo accomplished that with Kate’s character.  She was essentially the exact same character that she was in the first book, with literally no character development in her between the two stories.  She didn’t really grow or learn anything from one book to the next.  The most frustrating part of that, though, is with her relationship with John Tomasetti.  I felt like their relationship gained some ground in the first book, yet in Pray for Silence it was almost as if they were back to square one.  They were still unable to form a true adult relationship, not able to verbalize their feelings for one another or even attempt to develop those feelings.  It was frustrating because I actually like them together, but I felt like the relationship was just going nowhere.

That being said, I did enjoy the experience of following along with Kate as she solved the mystery, of piecing together the clues that she had along with her, and of finally finding the Planks’ killer.  The mystery was well done and as I don’t read many thrillers these days, it was a nice break from the rest of my reading.  I am still on the fence about whether I’ll be picking up the next book in the series when it comes out.  Either way, I do enjoy Kate Burkholder as a character and this small Amish town of Painter’s Mill, I just wanted more from this book.

10 thoughts on “Pray for Silence by Linda Castillo”

    1. It can definitely be done, and typically the only series’ I really like are the ones with real character development. A shame, too, because I sort of like this series!

  1. Yes, that is one thing that I despise as well — I need to see some sort of progression in a person’s character, and when it seems like it’s back to the same from the first novel, it gets a little frustrating. I mean, you know where the book left off so what’s the deal with the next one? That’s how I usually feel about something like that, and I don’t like to see it happen–where is an editor to help the writer maneuver through the minefield of the “second book hurdle?”

    1. I totally agree. Never really thought about it in those exact terms, but there really is that hurdle with the second book. And if the second book isn’t done well, chances are people won’t pick up the third and the fourth, and so on…

  2. I was probably a bit more disappointed in this book than you were – I agree that the Kate/John thing didn’t move ahead at all and both of their characters were fairly stagnant. I also found the violence much harder to deal with this time around as the descriptions of what was done to the two girls seemed to go on forever in a quite unnecessary way.

    1. You’re right about the violence, although I didn’t think about it too much because I sort of expect that kind of thing from a thriller. But I completely get your disappointment in the book.

  3. This sounds really interesting. I like the premise. I feel that sometimes mystery series don’t have as much character development as I would hope for. Tess Gerritsen comes to mind; from what I’ve read of her forensic series, the focus is usually on the case and not the character’s personal lives. I agree with you; I prefer to see some kind of progress in the lives of the main characters, to show some growth.

    I’m curious about this series, though. Thanks for the review!

  4. I won the first one and have yet to read it, but I will keep your thoughts in mind when and if I decide to go on to book #2. You’re not alone in feeling this way as I’ve read many reviews similar to yours in being disappointed.

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