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Breaking Silence

Minotaur: St. Martin's. Jun. 2011. c.320p. ISBN 9780312374990. $24.99. M
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Police Chief Kate Burkholder (Pray for Silence) is once again trying to balance the needs of the Amish community and the Englishers in Painters Mill, OH—a challenging task after a series of hate crimes against the Amish. What started out as harassment has escalated into the killing of farm animals and physical attacks. Kate's problem lies in the unwillingness of the victims to press charges or give her much evidence to work with. Things come to a head when three members of the Slabaugh family die in what initially looks like an accident but in reality was murder. Did they die in a hate crime gone wrong? Or did someone closer to home have reason to want them dead? With the help of the new county sheriff and state agent John Tomasetti (who, as always, makes her emotional life confusing), Kate has to find the answers before someone else dies.
VERDICT Castillo really hits her stride here and tones down some of the graphic violence present last time around. Think of this as a cross between Karin Slaughter, with her darker outlook on human nature, and Julia Spencer-Fleming, who balances the darkness with moments of hope. [125,000-copy first printing; national tour.]

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