If a thriller is any grittier than Linda Castillo's books, I won't read it. And, it's quite possible that the only reason I read her books are because they're set in northern Ohio in Amish country, an area I'm very familiar with. Pray for Silence, her latest thriller, is definitely not for the squeamish.
Painters Mill, Ohio had 5,300 residents, one-third of them Amish. Violence wasn't an everyday occurrence in the town, particularly in the Amish community. Police Chief Kate Burkholder and her small team had really never seen a killing scene as brutal as the one at the farm of the Amos Plank family. None of the seven family members had been spared, and the killing of the two teenage daughters was particularly brutal. It was evident to everyone on the scene that "There are monsters living among us."
Although Kate was determined to control the investigation, she called on the BCI, the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and Identification, hoping John Tomasetti would assist in the case. Despite their troubled pasts, or, maybe because of them, she and Tomasetti had become more than coworkers on a previous case. Now, she wants his help, and his presence, although she's afraid it will stir up his memories of the loss of his wife and daughters to a violent killer.
Tomasetti already has problems. He's forced to take a leave of absence because of past history, just when Kate needs his help. She knows, "He's a troubled man with shadows so deep I haven't been able to penetrate them." What she doesn't realize is that her own history, and her identification with the troubled Plank daughter, Mary, will lead her to her own tragic depths of emotion.
Castillo doesn't spare the reader, or her characters. The author vividly portrays violence against a peaceful group of people. It is hard to see how Kate or Tomasetti can continue in their jobs, with their own histories, and their resulting actions because of the past. I haven't even decided if all of the graphic detail was necessary in this book. It's enough to give a reader, let alone Kate Burkholder, nightmares. Pray for Silence is a graphic story of evil. Be prepared for a story that makes you want to shut your eyes even as you read. And, even at the end, the reader will wonder if the two wounded heroes will ever be whole again after their own tragedies, and the brutal nature of the crimes in Pray for Silence.
Pray for Silence by Linda Castillo. St. Martin's Minotaur, ©2010. ISBN 9780312374983 (hardcover), 320p.
Linda Castillo's website is www.lindacastillo.com
FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a review copy, in hopes I would review it.