Breaking Silence by Linda Castillo is the third book in the “Kate Burkholder” thriller series. Publisher: Minotaur Books, June 2011
The Slabaugh family are model Amish farmers, prosperous and hardworking, with four children and a happy extended family. When the parents and an uncle are found dead in their barn, it appears to be a gruesome accident: methane gas asphyxiation caused by a poorly ventilated cesspit. But in the course of a routine autopsy, the coroner discovers that one of the victims suffered a head wound before death—clearly, foul play was involved. But who would want to make orphans of the Slabaughs’ children? And is this murder somehow related to a recent string of shocking hate crimes against the Amish?
Having grown up Amish, Kate is determined to bring the killer to justice. Because the other series of attacks are designated hate crimes, the state sends in agent John Tomasetti, with whom Kate has a long and complex relationship. Together, they search for the link between the crimes—and uncover a dark secret at work beneath the placid surface of this idyllic Amish community.
Oh My! When Kate is called upon a gruesome scene, she feels connected to the children left behind. When it appears that the parents were murdered, Kate vows to find their murderer, this while dealing with a rash of hate crimes towards the Amish. I was fully immersed in this fast-action, page-turning and suspenseful drama that was hard to put down. A strong and conflicted heroine and riveting plot kept me guessing in this spine-tingling murder mystery and I blown away when the killer was revealed, especially since I did not see this one coming. This was an excellent thriller.