PRAY FOR SILENCE is the second installment in Linda Castillo's Kate Burkholder Series. Kate is the Chief of Police of small town Painters Mill, Ohio, which includes a large Amish community. She is no stranger to the Plain Life, being born into an Amish family herself. However, after enduring a traumatic event as a young girl, when Kate became of age, she decided not to join the church, which resulted in her being banned by the church, the Amish community and her family. Even though she doesn't live the Amish life, she still respects their beliefs and strives to keep a balance between the two cultures.
The peacefulness of small town life was brought to an abrupt end when an entire family was found brutally murdered with no apparent motive and little evidence left at the scene. The fact that the murdered family was Amish was even more baffling. The Plank family had recently moved to Painters Mill from Lancaster, Pennsylvania and had become well liked and respected by the other families within the district.
Even though Kate didn't personally know the Plank family, she felt a connection to them and given the brutal manner in which the two young daughters were assaulted, it affected Kate more than she cared to admit. It triggered painful memories of her own past that she has tried to put behind her.
Once again Kate enlists the help of Detective John Tomasetti, from the Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation in Columbus, to help with the case and offer a profile of the murderer. But Kate also has her own personal reasons for wanting him there. They'd become quite close some ten months earlier when they first met while he was assisting her on a previous murder case. Their relationship is complicated yet she feels a certain reassurance and comfort from him that she neither expected nor knows how to handle.
When Kate finds a diary written by one of the daughters it begins to shed some light on what may have happened that terrible night and reinforces the fact in Kate's mind that even the Amish have secrets. It may well have been Mary Plank's secrets that got her entire family murdered.
As in the first book, the story takes off right away with the quick discovery of the murder victims and subsequent criminal investigation. It's been roughly ten months since we first met Chief Burkholder and her small but effective staff. The list of suspects begins to grow. Not a lot of attention is put on the relationship between John and Kate, although there is a definite connection there. We do learn that John has been put on leave until he deals with some of his own issues, namely his addiction to prescription medications. He can not return to his job until he passes a drug test that he previously failed. His suspension, however doesn't keep him from assisting Kate on her murder case. What I like is that even though these two characters have such a strong chemistry, their relationship doesn't take away from the main theme of the book, which is the murder case. However, I actually found myself wanting there to be more going on with them.
The murder case is just as realistic and believable as the serial killer case in the first book and since most of the characters are carried over from the first book, I felt like I already knew them. The new characters involved in the investigation are equally as original and help give the story twists and turns.
The bottom line is that even though I wasn't as on the edge of my seat with this second book, I did enjoy the story and was completely satisfied with the outcome of both the murder case and how things were left between John and Kate. I think Ms. Castillo is smart in developing this relationship slowly and not making it center stage where it may take away from the main theme of the book. I look forward to seeing what the next case brings and if the romance will continue to grow. I would like to thank Mnotaur/St. Martins Press for supplying my review copy.
PRAY FOR SILENCE
Author: Linda Castillo
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Published: June 2010
You may also be interested in my review of SWORN TO SILENCE found here.