SWORN TO SILENCE
Castillo's hardcover debut should come with a warning: Pick up when you have time to finish. Excitement, danger, mystery, a fascinating setting and a conflicted heroine make this a book you won't put down. The setting, Ohio's Amish community, is well drawn, and the bind the mystery places the heroine in has no simple resolution. The conflict couldn't be greater. Add a romantic hero with his own sharply drawn issues and the tension never lessens.
When the tortured and murdered body of a young woman is found in the tight-knit Amish town of Painters Mill, Ohio, no one is more stunned and frightened than Police Chief Kate Burkholder. Sixteen years before, there was a similar series of murders and Kate was 14 and living with her Amish family. But she left the church when she turned 18, and now feels like an outsider. Kate has to find the murderer while also keeping a secret that could ruin her life and career. State agent John Tomasetti is assigned to help her, but he has his own demons, and Kate isn't sure the case can be solved without destroying everything she loves. (MINOTAUR, Jul., 352 pp., $23.95)