*Originally published 2015/09/15
BROKEN PROMISE (Promise Falls: #1) Written by Linwood Barclay
2015, 484 Pages (Doubleday Canada)
Genre: mystery, suspense, fiction
Let me first preface this review with the disclaimer that “I received this ARC from Netgalley”; and also, that this book is actually the first in a new series by Barclay (a novella in this series will be out in the new year, Final Assignment). Barclay has written another series called Zack Walker, which was his debut book – Bad Move. He has also written a novella that he later extended into a full-length novel and two books that also connected – No Time For Goodbye and No Safe Houses. I have read 5 novels and one novella by Barclay and am a fan of his suspense thrillers.
Ah, it is that lovely time of the week where we discuss mysteries! Today’s review is of a suspense thriller…
I enjoy the fast action and the intense suspense of his mysteries. He writes a story of an “every day person” who finds themselves in a bad situation with even worse options to try and get out of it. It is a throwback to the mysteries of 30s and 40s (think James M, Cain novels) but with more suspense chills. I would put him in the same category as my go to suspense/thriller/mystery master, Harlan Coben as they have a similar writing style.
I was very excited to be approved for an ARC of this newest suspense novel. It is a longer book with almost 500 pages so I knew I would need a good chunk of time before I started it. (I am not sure if this length is usual for Barclay but I really noticed how many pages there were in this one). Barclay is usually a guaranteed “stay-up-till-the-end” kind of author so I was surprised at how long it took me to finish this novel. The signature suspense, plot and talent are definitely still evident, but oh my gosh, does this book drag with over descriptions. There were points I wanted to skim past some stuff and found myself shouting “what is going on now” and just doing other things than reading. Here’s the thing…Barclay is going into this series knowing that it is a trilogy and while there are three different “cases” there will also be one overall story arc. Not that there is anything wrong with that approach, but I felt like he was trying to get too much into this book, to explain everything and anything, that the actual story gets lost sometimes and that is what makes the story drag.
David Harwood (Yikes, I already forgot his name and had to look it up) has lost his wife and his job as a journalist and is now living with his young son at his parents home. While searching for work he does his mother a favour and delivers some food to his cousin, Marla (I remembered her name!). When he enters her home he finds her with a baby boy that is not hers…she lost her own daughter in childbirth and has already tried to kidnap another infant. To solve the situation he takes her to the home where the baby belongs, but finds the mother deceased, the nanny missing and his cousin, charged with murder. Out of guilt and because his mother asked, David now uses his journalist experience to uncover the truth. Okay so that is the main story in the book…but there are other shifty things happening with almost everyone introduced in this book. To list them would probably drag this blog.
HOWEVER, I am trusting Mr. Barclay with my time and patience and will be continuing the series. I have already invested a lot in book one to just abandon ship, and am honestly curious enough to want to know where this is all going. After reading reviews for Bad Move this just might be his way of starting series – looooooong descriptions with too much going on but not fast enough. I am taking one for the team- rest of the team being you all- and will keep you posted with this series. I am hoping that book 2 will have a higher rating than this one.
In the meantime I recommend his standalone novels: