A Perfect Thriller: Broken Promise

Full disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Penguin Random House of Canada in exchange for an honest review.

In my books there is nothing better than a long weekend spent reading crime fiction in the sun. There is something about reading stories of the terrible things people do to each other while you sit in glorious weather that just feels so right.

So when I got some book mail that included Linwood Barclay’s Broken Promise just in time for the long weekend, I was in heaven. I devoured this book. When I stopped reading it, it felt like I had been holding my breath the whole time. I took down those 484 pages in less than 24 hours.

broken promise

David Harwood had returned home to Promise Falls to live with his parents. He left his job in Boston to take a job at the paper back home so that he would have more time at home with his son. On his first day back, the paper folds. Since he has nothing to do, his mom asks him to please take over some frozen meals to his cousin Marla. She’s been having a hard time the last 10 months, ever since her baby daughter died at birth. Marla even tried to steal a baby from the hospital. When David arrives he finds a baby with Marla, a little boy, who she says was left on her doorstep by an angel. Knowing Marla’s history, David fears the worst, especially when the baby’s mom is found dead.

According to Goodreads, this is book #1 in the Promise Falls series. But a lot of stuff was referenced in this book that made it feel like there had been other books before. It made me want to run to the library and find all of his other books and catch up.

This book was fast paced. Something changed or happened every few pages. We get perspectives from a number of different characters: Marla’s mother, the hospital administrator intent on making sure that nothing bad happens to Marla, the detective charged with solving the case of the dead woman as well as looking into strange occurrences all over town, the detective’s son who recently got a job with the disgraced former mayor. There are so many layers to this story, so many pieces that have to fit together in order for the big picture to make sense and Barclay ably juggles them all.

That said, when I finished reading this book I almost threw it across the lawn. Ask my mother-in-law. Turns out that Broken Promise is the first book in a trilogy of linked novels, which means I’m going to have to wait another nine months to get some of the answers I seek.

On the bright side, that should give me some time to familiarize myself with his other work. Next to crime fiction reading in the summer, crime fiction reading at Christmas is my favourite.

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13 thoughts on “A Perfect Thriller: Broken Promise

  1. I’ve heard such good things about Linwood Barclay as an author, but it’s definitely committing to a series and not knowing character backstories that makes me hesitate to read anything by him. But it sounds like you really enjoyed this book.

    • I had no idea about anything going in but it sounded like the kind of story that I would enjoy. You definitely get a sense that there are more stories to be told but it never impacted the current story. I was just left wanting more. I think I’m a Linwood Barclay addict!

  2. Barclay is so good at writing page turners!! He is far more popular in the UK than in Canada, which is odd. But over here he is a big name. I haven’t read one of his books in years since thrillers aren’t really my thing, but he’s great at what he does.

    • Thrillers are something I never thought I would like but I really do! I can’t read them all the time and some of them are terrible but when they are good, they are great. Barclay *is* so good at writing page turners. I almost hesitate to run out and get another one of his books because I won’t have time or patience for anything else while I read.

  3. I’ve read two books by Linwood Barclay (Trust Your Eyes & A Tap on the Window) and both were really good, so I’m definitely adding this to m TBR. I have to agree that summer is one of the best times to read crime fiction. So intense!

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