Book Review: Broken Promise by Linwood Barclay

August 11, 2015 Book review 6 ★★★★

Just as you would expect from a Linwood Barclay, this book is brimming over with action, drama and mystery.

Book Review: Broken Promise by Linwood BarclayBroken Promise (Promise Falls, #1) by Linwood Barclay
Series: Promise Falls, #1
Published by NAL on July 28th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Psychological, Suspense, Thriller
Pages: 512
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Buy on Amazon

After his wife’s death and the collapse of his newspaper, David Harwood has no choice but to uproot his nine-year-old son and move back into his childhood home in Promise Falls, New York. David believes his life is in free fall, and he can’t find a way to stop his descent.

Then he comes across a family secret of epic proportions. A year after a devastating miscarriage, David’s cousin Marla has continued to struggle. But when David’s mother asks him to check on her, he’s horrified to discover that she’s been secretly raising a child who is not her own—a baby she claims was a gift from an “angel” left on her porch. When the baby’s real mother is found murdered, David can’t help wanting to piece together what happened—even if it means proving his own cousin’s guilt. But as he uncovers each piece of evidence, David realizes that Marla’s mysterious child is just the tip of the iceberg.

Other strange things are happening. Animals are found ritually slaughtered. An ominous abandoned Ferris wheel seems to stand as a warning that something dark has infected Promise Falls. And someone has decided that the entire town must pay for the sins of its past…in blood.

First Line of Broken Promise by Linwood Barclay:

“A couple of hours before all hell broke loose, I was in bed, awake since five, pondering the circumstances that had returned me, at the age of forty-one, to my childhood home.”

My Thoughts on Linwood Barclay:

When I think of authors that add the thrill to thriller, Linwood Barclay is one of those authors that springs straight into my mind.  Linwood has a very distinctive writing style and this book is a perfect example of this.

Things I loved:

Short and snappy chapters.  But don’t think this makes it easy to find a place to stop, every chapter is a cliff-hanger and you find yourself reading and reading to seek some answers.

Mysterious plot line!  Lots of random events that seem totally unrelated.  If I was doing a jigsaw, I’d wonder had I mixed up some different puzzles by mistake!  Just to give you an idea there were dead squirrels, a rollercoaster moving at night in a closed down theme park, a murder, a shooting, a baby being delivered by an angel!  I know!!

Interesting Characters: I can’t help but get drawn into their lives.  Oh and we’ve met lots of them before in other books too which was a pleasant surprise.  David is widowed father, jobless and living his parents after making some life decisions that were in the best interest of his son but that went badly wrong.  He is sharp though and you know he won’t be down and out for long.

Witty dialogue.  I love the wry humour and sharp one liners.

Complex Family Relationships:  Aren’t they always knotty and this family has their share of screwy problems to untwist.

Overall this is a very entertaining read.  You won’t be bored as there is SO MUCH DRAMA and I just flew through it.  And I’m very happy that it’s the first in a trilogy, I’m hooked in!


Rating Report
Did I feel it?
Overall: four-stars


Who should read Broken Promise by Linwood Barclay?

Highly recommended to those who like domestic-style thrillers with lots of drama, action and interesting characters.  Fans of Linwood Barclay’s books should enjoy this one.  I also think if you like Harlan Coben, Lisa Scottoline or James Patterson that you should give this one a go.

Thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Group Berkley for giving me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest unbiased review.


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