Thursday, February 16, 2012

Sworn to Silence - Book Review

Sworn to Silence by Linda Castillo
June 23, 2009
Minotaur Books

Why?  This was one of those specially priced downloads that I took advantage of a while back and just now got around to reading.
What now?  I've already downloaded the 2nd book in this series...Praying for Silence...I can't wait for more of Kate Burkholder!!  

Golden Lines

Murder is rare in the Amish community.  Most often, death is from natural causes.  It's viewed as a final surrender to God and is received gracefully.  Grief is a quiet and private event.  The sound that erupts from Ezra Augspurger's mouth reminds me that not all Amish are stoic.  They are human beings, and the loss of a child begets unbearable pain.  His cry of outrage and grief goes through me like cold steel.  Bowing his head, he presses the photo to his cheek.

The alcohol burns all the way down, but I drain the glass and pour again.  The things I saw today hover in the forefront of my mind.  Amanda Horner's savaged body.  The agony in her mother's eyes.  Jacob and I digging for the remains of a man I spent half of my life believing I'd killed.  I know alcohol won't solve my problems, but if I'm lucky, it will get me through the night.


Kate Burkholder grew up Amish in Painter's Mill, OH but decided to leave the church at 18 after never recovering from a violent crime when she was 14.  Not only did Kate leave her family, but she also left secrets, secrets that involve her father, brother, and sister and the events of the fateful night so long ago, secrets long buried, secrets that need desperately to stay buried.  Unfortunately, a killer has returned to Kate's hometown, the town for which she is now Chief of Police.  Kate knows more than she's supposed to know about this killer's can she do her job investigating the horrible, evil crimes, keep anyone else from being killed in the meantime, and protect her family and the Amish community at the same time?  Kate must battle inner demons, politics, invading officials from other law enforcement groups and her own family members in the process of stopping The Slaughterhouse Killer.

What I Liked

Amish life - I've always been interested in the Amish culture so these tidbits, the setting, the Pennsylvania Dutch phrases, and the conflict between the Amish and the rest of the world kept my attention throughout the novel.  Castillo explains through Kate's investigative mind the logic behind some of the Amish actions and clues that are found...Kate chose to leave the church but doesn't hate it.  She doesn't understand some of the beliefs and does question them when Amish beliefs keep her from getting to the bottom of a crime.  

Detective facts - "most serial murderers are sociopaths from birth.  As children, many begin their dark journey with animals.  Few are made later in life."  Again, as Kate investigates this killer, Castillo walks the reader through Kate's process as she makes sense of things, including her quick, analytical mind as it works through book knowledge and how it applies to the crime at hand.

John Tomasetti - brought in from Cleveland, OH to help with Kate's case.  Tomasetti is a damaged man; like Kate he suffered a great trauma, his just in the last few years while on the job.  He struggles to get past the murder of his wife and two daughters every. single. day.  Tomasetti is at a self-destructive stage in his life when he's sent to Painter's Mill and meets Kate; it's his last chance to prove he's still worthy of his job and very possibly his last chance to find some semblance of happiness. 

The Plot - I never had any idea who the killer was...I suspected the wrong person a couple of times and even hit the kitchen counter once bc I thought Castillo was preparing me for one of my favorite characters to be the killer. I followed the logic of the profile made by Tomasetti and found myself even thinking at times like a detective...leaving out the emotion and seeing flaws in certain movements of the investigation based on logic...pretty cool stuff!

Kate Burkholder - she reminds me a little of Kyra Sedgewick's character Brenda Johnson in The Closer.  Kate is not Southern, but her family and cultural values run deep...even if she doesn't agree 100% with them anymore.  She is nervous about relationships and flawed...Absolut gets Kate through the tough times though instead of Brenda Johnson's sugar;)
While Kate does battle external politics, for once we have a protagonist, a female in a traditionally male job, who is supported and respected by those around her, men and women alike.  

What I Didn't Like

When Castillo writes about violent crime, she means violent crime.  This book is not for the squeamish.  The descriptions of the bodies and the bit by bit unveiling of what actually happened to the young women from putting together the evidence will convince you (if you need convincing) that evil does exist in this world.  There is nothing supernatural here, just a psychopath who needs to be destroyed.  Even the most lenient, criminal rights advocates would want this killer removed from the world.

The victims are young women, and Castillo includes us not only in the investigation but in the human side of Kate's job such as notifying the family members...these were some of the most difficult scenes to a parent, I couldn't help but thinking about the real-life events on which Castillo must have modeled these scenes.  I don't wish anything like this on even those I dislike the most..on anyone, as a matter of fact.

Overall Recommendation
Though I've not read all of her books, I think readers of Patricia Cornwell would like Linda Castillo's foray into forensics, police work, murder, etc.  There's just enough crossover here to keep science fans guessing and putting the puzzles together as there are mystery elements.  

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Wanna Be More Organized Wednesday

I'm on strike.
My dishwasher is still not fixed.
Ti, I've tried to find enjoyment in handwashing my dishes this past week; I thought after your comment that maybe I was missing something somewhere.  I wasn't.  I have not been able to find any joy in hand-washing our dishes...I even switched to Ivory...still nothing.
When I told the Head of My Household that I was striking (Sunday night), he got a different dishwasher fella to the house that very next night :/  Imagine that.

Still, the dishwasher fella says that the heating element is out as well as the control panel....might as well buy a new dishwasher for the price it will cost to repair all that...especially the control panel.  Turns out my empty dishwasher, sitting there plugged up but dead all the same, is actually a fire hazard...electricity shooting constantly into a giant plastic bucket that never responds apparently is an accident waiting to happen.  
Who knew?

On the bright side, I'm excited about how much reading I've been doing.  It's amazing how much reading a girl can accomplish when she's not cooking or washing dishes :)  
The first review of the Kate Burkholder series will be posted tomorrow.  I wanted another fast paced series to start after this short one, and I contemplated Kay Scarpetta, Temperence Brennan and Rizzoli and Isles.  After a pretty good bit of research (reading author websites and bios of the main characters of each series), I decided to started with the Temperence Brennan series by Kathy Reichs.  The first book, Deja Dead is downloaded on my Nook waiting on me :)

I was not enthralled with the whole publisher send me some books and I'll try to read and review them process.  It overwhelmed me to no end...but when I decided a few months ago to lightly step back in, I chose to become a member of Net Galley.
They don't send me anything I don't want.  
I can download the selection straight to my Kindle.
The reviewing process is straightforward and there is no pressure.
Reviews also seem to be followed closely...I actually received a Tweet from Kathleen Flinn when I reviewed her book Kitchen Confidential :) 
Right now I'm reading Gentleman's Agreement about a journalist who pretends to be Jewish for a period of time in order to investigate hidden anti-Semitism in post war New York City.  A complete total change of pace from the pulse quickening murder stuff I've been racing through, but that's generally the way I roll.  

Please don't ask me how many papers I need to grade. 
I'll think about that tomorrow.

I'm going to read now.

**Disclaimer...the legs nor cats in the photo above are mine...BUT THOSE ARE MY FAVORITE HOUSE SHOES!!!!!!!!

Just call me Granny :)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Things I Love - Happy Valentines Day!

Things I Love - The Valentine's Day Edition
Faith - is it silly to "love" faith?  I don't think faith sustains me...when I am on the floor as down as I can be without any idea of how I'm going to get up, my faith gives me something solid to hold on to.

Family - if you know me, you know this is a no brainer.  You can mess with me all you want, but do not mess with my people.  

 Animals - Another surprise, right?  We currently have 3 dogs, 3 cats and a hamster.  We've even fostered a couple of squirrels along the way and helped a stray or two find its way back home.  

Blousy Blouses - Whoever decided to bring these wonderful midriff hiding wardrobe essentials back into circulation has my undying gratitude.  I'm 43; the midriff ain't what it used to be; thank God we're moving away from that skin tight, curve forming stuff that made me look like a Sharpei.

Coffee - the elixir of the is honestly the very first thing I think about when my alarm clock goes off in the morning.  

Donald Pliner heels - I love heels...but I ain't gonna wear something uncomfortable.  A little on the pricey side, these heels don't feel like you have on heels...and they are sassy enough that the firstborn even sneaks them out of my closet every now and again when I'm not looking.  I have a beautiful sophisticated black pair that I rooted from my mom's shoe closet a couple of years ago and they are still in the greatest shape :)

Black Orchid perfume by Tom Ford - I lucked out mom was allergic, and I was the lucky recipient.  Mom's hand-me-downs ROCK!

Books - almost every single room in my house has kidding :)

Naps - Seriously, you have no, REALLY have no idea.

Aveda Hair Products - It's no fun to reach the hair coloring age only to find out that you are allergic to hair color :(  BUT, Aveda makes plant based products to which I am not allergic!!!! 

Blogging - um, duh??

Taking photographs - the only way I can explain this addiction is that it is so far away from what I's a challenge to get good photos in low light, fast action situations but somehow I manage to do it...I'm always thrilled when I get a few great ones :)  And, I LOVE to share :)

Chapstick - the original kind and any kind with peppermint or eucalyptus in it...we have tubes of Chapstick all over our house, in the car, at my office, etc.

Iphone - I never thought I'd be a convert....a cell phone is a cell phone, right?  Guess what? 

My Iphone Otterbox - You have no idea how difficult this decision was for me...I didn't want my phone to look like anyone else's...I wanted it to mean something to me since I really didn't want any kind of cover in the first place but knew I had to have one for the day that I will inevitably drop my Iphone.   I searched high and low...I found several I "liked" but just wasn't really "feeling" the love...until I stumbled onto this beauty just last night.

Power, Strength, Love, Courage, Endure

Anxiety meds - I refuse to be embarrassed about taking meds...they are the reason I am sane.  I've also seen the serious damage that can happen when people take the need for medical help too lightly...I am not weak because I need meds; I'm strong because I realize that I need them and I take them. 

Cuties - have you seen these little oranges that almost slide out of their peels and have NO SEEDS!!  I can eat 5 of them!!! 


Monday, February 13, 2012

Media Monday - I Don't Know How She Does It

The other day at work my friend/sister Missie asked me if I had ever seen the movie "I Don't Know How She Does It" with Sarah Jessica Parker.  When I told her I hadn't, she told me that I had to see it because all the way through the movie all she could think about was me.  

She then began to describe this happily married with children working mom who tries her best to handle everything for everybody and somehow still keep all her balls in the air.  She is organized but not ahead on anything...she knows what has to be done and does it fairly well but flies by the seat of her pants while keeping the juggling act going.  Missie also specifically mentioned how SJ Parker's character Kate shows up to work dressed well with hair in ponytail and sometime foreign substances on her lapel ;) 

I was intrigued no doubt, so I downloaded it from Amazon Instant Video which is now my favorite Video service, topping Netflix by miles.  I was so tickled as I watched this movie...for one, Missie was right...Kate reminds me of myself...there's one scene in particular where Kate is standing in her closet looking for something to wear...she picks up a blouse, looks for stains, food, etc. and then triumphantly exclaims something like, "Oh my God! It's clean! I have something to wear!!" 
Um, yes, what's clean generally does guide my wardrobe selection from day to day.
And, yes indeedy, I do show up from time to time with foreign substances or even dog hair...I have a lot of black in my wardrobe and my dogs have white hair...Oy.  I've since bought some of those rolly thingies that roll that hair right off my clothes...there's one in the house, my car and even in my office drawer :)

The other aspect of this movie that kept jumping out at me is that Kate is a loveable character, no matter how crazy she drives some of those around her.  Missie is my Mo Mo (if you've seen the movie, you'll know that Mo Mo is Kate's ultra organized, all business sidekick)...and even though they are opposites, they are a dream team!! Missie's new nickname is Mo Mo...I plan to begin using that moniker tomorrow morning :)

This is a fun movie for a working moms...I'll probably purchase this one and keep it for one of those nights that I'm feeling down about letting some ball drop somewhere.  This one's a happy, feel good about yourself even if your not perfect kinda movie :) 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Think I Might Get this for Valentine's Day?? For Myself??

If you are a teacher, don't even try to convince me that this little gadget doesn't tempt you...even just a little bit ;)