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Pray for Silence: A Thriller    by Linda Castillo order for
Pray for Silence
by Linda Castillo
Order:  USA  Can
Minotaur, 2010 (2010)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

Police Chief Kate Burkholder and her small force of deputies are at a complete loss as to why anyone would viciously slaughter all seven members of the Amish Plank family, who only recently moved to Painter's Mill, Ohio. The deaths of the two teenage daughters are particularly unnerving, as their bodies show signs of torture. With very few leads to go on, Kate is forced to call in the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, including her occasional lover, Agent John Tomasetti. It's not until Kate discovers a diary belonging to Mary Plank that she begins to see a possible motive for the killings - and comes to the heartbreaking realization that an innocent and naïve young girl's first taste of love eventually led her into the immoral world of Internet pornography.

Furious that her community hosts a cunning and consciousless sexual predator, Kate vows that his days of freedom are numbered, despite her own - and then John's - apprehension that the very disturbing details of this mass murder might test the limits of their battered emotions. The dark and persistent memories of Kate's brutal rape as a young girl ripped away the innocence of her own Amish upbringing. For John, it's the horrific murders of his wife and two daughters at the hands of a vengeful con. Kate isn't sure she can trust herself with the killer once she tracks him down and John eventually reveals that he shouldn't even be helping Kate - he's on suspension for failing a drug test and under compulsory psychiatric care. Despite these combined setbacks, Kate vows that she'll do whatever it takes to catch the killer before he destroys any more young and innocent lives.

A well-drawn supporting cast and Castillo's flair for procedural detail and edge-of-your-seat action sequences help make this second go round of the Kate Burkholder series shine - despite Kate's taking a few foolish risks during the course of the investigation. What doesn't really work here is Kate and John's interaction, which is often stilted and forced, especially in John's case as his dialogue reads like a series of repetitive clichés. Even so, Pray for Silence is a dark, disturbing and gripping suspense story.

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