Title: Broken Promise (Promise Falls #1)
Author: Linwood Barclay
Genres: Contemporary | Mystery | Psychological Thriller
Length: 484 pages | 8860 locations
David Harwood just lost his job and had to move back in with his parents, along with his 9-year-old son Ethan. One morning he wakes up and finds his cousin Marla with a baby in her arms. She claims an angel gave the baby to her. Whose baby is it? What is the connection with a woman who was just found dead and other weird events that have been having throughout town?
Broken Promise was a pleasant surprise.
I enjoyed the characters; there were so many of them but each had plenty of depth.
I was engrossed following David and other secondary ones around, trying to figure out what was happening. Even if I had a bit of trouble connecting with David (I definitely never got what he saw in Sam), I was sympathetic with his struggle as a jobless single parent, living with his parents. That entire dynamic was very believable – comical and frustrating at the same time.
I am not sure many men would be as understanding to their wife’s condition as Don was – in my brief knowledge of such situations, they tend to lash out due to their denial -, but I can see it happening and it was lovely.
Detective Duckworth and his struggle with the scale was endearing as well, even if the whole donut thing was a cliché.
These characters had thoughts any normal person would have and I thoroughly appreciated that.
Until roughly halfway through the book, there were only one or two hints that something else was going on besides what I was being told and I was content just moving along, watching things unfold. Then I started getting more clues and forming plots in my head. I wanted to know what came next more urgently.
One thing I did not appreciate was realizing things before the characters, like all the numbers 23 lying around and how Sarita had been the one to drop the baby at Marla’s. I mean, she worked in a nursing home, who else could have been wearing a uniform that resembled an angel? That revelation came much too late in the story, in my opinion.
There were some instances where I did not get why the story would take such a turn, especially when it came to police procedures. It seemed sloppy; there wasn’t even much talk about fingerprints, for instance.
And even though I appreciated each character, I thought some of them used specific expressions that could have been exclusive to one character, making her or him unique.
But I was still surprised on several occasions and the story carried me away, for the most part.
I enjoyed the dynamic between David’s parents, Agnes, even Marla. It is not easy to write about someone who has any kind of mental problem. The author made her a very special character. One minute she sounded truly disturbed and the next there was a perfectly reasonable explanation for behaving like that and then she was crazy all over again.
The ending left me wanting. I knew this was the first book in a series but I was hoping it would have been wrapped up more nicely. Instead, I never knew what the deal with the number 23 was, who the guy who ordered the ‘social experiment’ was – even though it’s obvious it was the killer, which I really wanted to have found out -, what the story behind the mayor was, what Don regretted, what the deal with David’s wife was that made him think everything he knew about her was a lie or even what the broken promise that gave the book its title was…
I still enjoyed the book, recommend it and would definitely read more by this author.
Disclaimer: I would like to thank the publisher and Netgalley for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Read from Aug 31 to Sep 04, 2015