Broken Promise, by Linwood Barclay

The morning it all started, newspaper reporter David Harwood has plenty to worry about. A single parent with no job and living with his parents, his future wasn’t in the best shape. So when his mother asks him to pay a visit to his cousin Marla, it was almost a relief to put the disaster of his own life to one side.

However, the relief doesn’t last long after he arrives at Marla’s home to find a blood smear on the front door and his cousin nursing a baby she claims was delivered by an angel. When a woman’s body is discovered across town, it looks like Marla has done something truly terrible. In order to save his cousin from jail, David begins to unravel the town’s secrets.

Broken Promise is a fast paced novel with a lot of action, characters and twists and turns. The story is told through various characters – including a Detective, David’s mother and a man who just lost his wife – but it is easy to follow. Every character adds their own unique voice and each point of view of the happenings around Promise Falls adds to the story. The characters are also quite believable and well rounded.

The book is long, over 480 pages, but it is an easy read. Every little piece of the puzzle is so well set up, that you can’t help but be sucked in. Barclay drops little clues as to the answer of the awful secret at the heart of the book throughout. But, they aren’t enough to reveal the whole story, just enough to feel like you’re ahead of the game.

I was confused about all the little sub-plots in the story and how they were left unanswered at the end. It was then that I discovered this is the first in a new trilogy. Several of the characters also feature in Barclay’s previous novels Too Close To Home and Never Look Away, but it isn’t necessary to read them first. While the answer to this book’s specific crime has been answered, the ending has definitely hooked me in and I look forward to reading the remaining of the series.

Promise Falls is a small town, but it has one almighty secret. I can’t wait to see what happens next.

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TITLE: Broken Promise
AUTHOR(S): Linwood Barclay
PUBLISHER: Hachette
RRP: $37.99
ISBN: 9781409146452

Rebekah is an Otago-based mother of two young girls. The former journalist and primary school teacher has a soft spot for New Zealand authors and young adult fiction. Follow her on Twitter.

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