Kate Burkholder Books In Order

Publication Order of Kate Burkholder Books

Sworn to Silence (2009) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Pray for Silence (2010) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Breaking Silence (2011) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Gone Missing (2012) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Her Last Breath (2013) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Long Lost (2013) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Dead Will Tell (2014) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
After the Storm (2015) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
A Hidden Secret (2015) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Seeds of Deception (2016) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Among the Wicked (2016) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

The Kate Burkholder series is written by best-selling Linda Castillo. Castillo is known for her romantic novels and the series is her first step away from the genre.

Kate Burkholder grew up in an Amish community. When she was 14, she was sexually attacked by a fellow church member. This lead to some questions and doubts she had with their faith and ultimately led to her leaving the Amish community when she turned 18. As an Amish, this decision caused an estrangement between her and her family and the community she grew up with.

Years after, a 30-something Kate returned to her home place, a small town in Ohio called Painter’s mill. Years away have made Kate a more experienced person. She became a highly respected and competent police officer. Due to her Amish background and outstanding records as a cop, she was assigned as the Chief of police in the town.

Between her past and her present position as Chief, Kate Burkholder is a superb character, flawed but certainly believable. She is reserved but very efficient in her work. Author Linda Castillo has done an excellent job writing police procedures that Kate did the most readable and engaging manner. Although portrayed as a tough character, Kate is surrounded with interesting and dependable characters. She built herself a good strong team.

There is an underlying romantic theme between Kate Burkholder and the character of John Tomasetti. Their romance is recurring throughout the series.

The series

The Kate Burkholder series is set in Painter’s Mill, Ohio. In this town, the Amish the English lived in harmony but this harmony is disturbed when a killer that targets young teenage girls surfaced. Author Castillo draws a bleak and chilly atmosphere backdrop of the story through the Amish culture. This element adds to the thrill and suspense of the story making it enticing and gripping at the same time.

The series revolves around Kate Burkholder who grew up in the Amish community. She returned to this small peaceful town as a chief of police. Kate was confronted by her past when the serial killer resurfaced, although she believes that it is not the same person because she has killed that murderer of 16 years ago. This is a secret that she and her family have kept a secret all this time.

The characters of the series are relatable and highly believable. Like common people, they do their best to be good while fighting their own personal demons. Kate Burkholder is no exemption.

The series also gives the reader a good insight of the culture of the Amish community. Linda Castillo showed her writing prowess in weaving the Amish belief and lifestyle into the life blood of the story. Throughout the series, it serves a driving force in the stories aside from creating a complicated yet beautiful canvass into which the series is drawn.

Early Books

Linda Castillo received rave reviews for the first two books of the Kate Burkholder series. Being a move away from the romantic genre in which she was more famously known for, the Kate Burkholder series offered a pleasant surprise for her readers.

Sworn to Silence

The first book of the series was Sworn to Silence, published in 2009. It Chronicles the return of Kate Burkholder to the silent town of Painter’s Mill after running away from the Amish community she grew up on. Her dark past came to haunt her when a killer surfaced with the same morbid means of ending its victim’s life as a serial killer that struck 16 years ago. Kate believes she has killed the murderer 16 years ago while defending herself. Instead of reporting to the Police, her father decided to bury the dead killer and keep the information a secret. The event had seriously affected Kate which led to her leaving the Amish community.

The first victim was a teenage girl and as Kate does her investigation, she was forced to confront her past when the killer strikes again. This time the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation got involved and sent their criminal profiler John Tomasetti. The investigation becomes complicated as Kate tries to stay in-charge and keep her secrets in past from being discovered.

Pray for Silence

This second installment of the Kate Burkholder series starts with a heinous murder of a family of seven in the Amish community of Painter’s Mill. Having grown up in the Amish culture, Kate is very disturbed with the details of the murder. Once again she was forced to look back on her past when she discovered the journal of a 14-year old Mary who must have lived a double life. John Tomasetti returns to Painter’s Mill to assist in the investigation and his relationship with Kate gets traction in this book although it was plain to see that none of them are willing to commit yet.

Pray for Silence shows author Castillo’s superb writing on police procedural as we follow Kate and her team’s investigation of this horrid murder. As the investigation progresses, Kate finds her suspects increasing as the past of one of the victims gets unfolded.

Author’s Approach

This mystery in Kate Burkholder series is vividly described by Linda Castillo. Reviews described her writing as gripping and compelling. She proves to be very articulate in describing crime scenes and the investigative events that follows it. Her description of the Amish community living along with the English community is beautifully written that readers are entreated with a good view of the Amish culture, something that many readers are not very aware off. Although she can be very graphic with crime scenes, she also paints a clear picture of the life and ways of the Amish country.


The first book Sworn to Silence was adapted into a TV movie with the title An Amish Murder. The film stars Scream actor Neve Campbell who played the character of Kate Burkholder. The TV movie was released in 2013 under director Stephen Gyllenhaal and through the writing of Mark Malone. Also starring are Noam Jenkins and Billy McLellan among others.

Book Series In Order » Characters » Kate Burkholder