Breaking Silence

Breaking Silence

A Kate Burkholder Novel

Book - 2011
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When Solly and Rachel Slabaugh, along with Solly's brother Abel, are found dead in a hog pit, Chief of Police Kate Burkholder investigates the gruesome scene. Once again teaming up with Agent John Tomasetti, Kate reveals that the death may not have been accidental, but one of the most horrific hate crimes ever to befall the Amish community of Painter's Creek.
Publisher: New York : Minotaur Books, 2011
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780312374990
Branch Call Number: Suspense F Cas


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Jan 06, 2021

Linda Castillo’s lead character, Police Chief, Katie Burkholder, fronts many of her criminal thriller novels. Katie struggles with an, understandably, deeply unreconciled past. Although, Chief Burkholder is a strong individual and committed to her calling as a policewoman; as a character, she labours under the weight of the persistently haunting impacts of victimhood. Her social position, leadership and authority as a team member suggests Katie must be a rational actor.

Even so, while she may appear to function within an envelope of duty, obligation and legal frameworks; her daily reality illustrates she is much less disciplined and struggling, unsustainably. Operatively, Katie seems to struggle with anxiety, stress and persistent conflicts between her unresolved past trauma and a deep and committed willingness to help victims of serious criminal victimisation. Such mental ill-health loading is paired with her unwillingness to engage with her remaining family, leaving Katie socially and psychologically isolated.

Within the North American social and psychological landscape of law enforcement, prosecution and incarceration, there are a number of core cultural stressors for frontline police officers. First, the on-going gender and racial bias, repression and discrimination represented in the organisational cultural of police and criminal investigational institutions. Second, the wholly dysfunctional nationalised perspective on criminal law enforcement in relation to both criminal recidivism, rehabilitation and inmate criminal socialisation in proportion to accepted norms, patterns and incarceration levels within the American penal system. Third, there are the undeniably iniquitous levels of impact, informed by law enforcement policy, which has had, and continues to have, a devastating impact upon ethnic minorities throughout the United States. Fourth, the on-going impact of the entirely fallacious concept of the ‘American Dream’. Practically, this ideal represents a unsubstanciated neo-liberal capitalist notion.

Operatively, this socialised objective situates individuals as either icons of social success or failure as a structural function of socio-economic inequality and disparity of American society. Situationally, the cultural fabric of this third book and it predecessor, are Intersectionally influenced by all the above consequences of individual, collective, structural and institutional short-comings. Sadly, this story narrates the events of yet another female character who is cast in the role of a victim. Once again an author positions her perspective in terms which suggests a normalised attitude and tolerance towards mental ill-health until circumstances demonstrate it is an impractical impediment. One has to wonder, how many frontline law enforcements officers in North America live with undiagnosed mental disorders such as post traumatic stress disorder – PTSD?

Alternatively, I would like to see Katie Burkholder portrayed in more robust, feminist socio-political context. Whereby, her portrayal reflects the choice to adopt survivorship rather than victimhood. Specifically, I reference the unacknowledged mental ill-health problems which are systematically minimised, and thereby delegitimised, throughout the storyline. Mental-ill health, in terms of my interpetations as a reader, is treated as secondary to police operations unless formal recognition of problems, or circumstantial consequences reveal otherwise.

If the author’s illustration of small-town American policing is anyway near accurate, one can only fear for populations of small-town America. Criminality is repeatedly depicted as deviant and counter-cultural with little or no real context informed by the structural factors which situate people’s attempts at coping with life in America. One has to wonder how much of what is officially recognised as criminality is really the cultural outcomes of racial profiling and police racial bias.

Dec 25, 2020

This was a particularly difficult plot topic. I enjoyed this book but not as much as the other 7 that I've read.

Mar 22, 2020

I have read and will look forward to the books in the Kate Burkholder detective series. I enjoy the characters and following their lives and the setting among the Amish. Kristi & Abby Tabby

Dec 01, 2019

#3 in series

Jul 21, 2019

The third thriller featuring Kate Burkholder, formerly Amish, and the chief of police of a small Amish/"English" town. Like the first two, a well-written page-turner (I read it in 2 sittings). It wasn't up to the standard set by the first two, which were excellent. The central mystery wasn't as complex and get-under-your-skin disturbing; this felt a little Kate Burkholder lite. Also, Castillo dumbed down a hair and spent more time telling her reader what Kate and Tomasetti were feeling, rather than the reader discerning it herself through the characters' actions and reactions. On the more positive side, I was happy with the progression of the central characters' relationship and I remain hooked on the series, happily anticipating the next installment.

I read the first chapter and closed the cover and decided NOT to read any more of this book.
I do not need to read about sheep being butchered so cruelly right from the start. There is enough brutality and cruelty in the world and I do not need to bring that into my home. I guess I need to read lighter fare. It is really sad that authors feel they have to be so descriptive
with brutality in their books.

Jul 27, 2018

I found this crime fiction to be entertaining and challenging; the twists and turns kept me guessing right to the end. Potential readers should balance out the fact that this is "Amish" content with the reality that it is a crime story -- police generally do use colorful language, so if that is offensive to you, then steer clear. It was not over the top in my humble opinion, but it is there, appropriately for the frustration of the first responders. It is not listed as Christian fiction!

Sep 08, 2017

Terrific book! Language is not so bad as all that!! Pretty tame actually, compared to that found in other books. Great story, wonderfully written, a page-turner that's very hard to put down, with an ending that makes you think!! Well worth reading - if you like mysteries!!

5 stars for sure ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Linda Castillo has never disappointed me!

May 05, 2017

I read this book first, but now reading 2nd, so not too lost; didn't know this was a series. I have a problem with the language in the book, I think it would have been just as good without it.

Aug 05, 2016

The 3rd book in this series. This is a fast paced mystery about some Amish Country murders. I like the ending. It was different than what I was expecting. Good series.

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Jan 06, 2021

AtkinsonMH thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over


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Jan 06, 2021

Once again, lead character, Katie Burkholder struggles with the weight of her own mental ill-health while attempting to carry the moral weight of her community. Unsurpirsingly, racial bias and racial victimisation form the creative fabric of this community storyline as the characters engaged with law enforcement attempt to mitigate the violent and violating behavioural patterns of several sociopathic individuals. Unrependent, unconcerned with the human carnage of their actions, perpetrators, hell bent upon visiting their anger upon the Amish populous of the local community, illustrate the ugly side of the human race. An engaging and rather sickening tale which arguably misses the oppotunity to say something different about American smal-town culture.


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