Review: Broken Promise by Linwood Barclay

Broken Promise coverBROKEN PROMISE hits the ground running and the pace rarely lets up. Jam-packed with characters from Barclay’s extensive backlist, his latest thriller is slick and twist-laden, and pulsates with ratcheting tension. Readers can safely file BROKEN PROMISE under ‘page-turner’ and ‘unputdownable.’

Former newspaper reporter David Harwood (Never Look Away) has returned to his hometown of Promise Falls to rebuild his shattered life. Unemployed, and a single father following his wife’s death, Harwood is back living under his parents’ roof. With a daily routine that consists of job applications acting as a taxi for his son, Hardwood’s easily roped into undertaking a chore for his mother: in this case, dropping off some leftovers at his cousin Maria’s nearby home. He’s not exactly looking forward to it – Maria has been struggling ever since she lost her baby, and his problems are pale in comparison. So when Harwood arrives at his cousin’s home and finds her nursing a mysterious baby – supposedly delivered by an ‘angel’ – he fears the worst; has Maria finally snapped? Could she possibly be responsible for the murder of the baby’s mother? The police investigative team – lead by Barry Duckworth (Never Look Away, Trust Your Eyes, Too Close to Home – are convinced of her guilt. It’s up to Harwood to prove otherwise, and so he embarks on a journey into the town’s seedy underbelly.

The plot of BROKEN PROMISE is intricate, but neatly unveiled. Promise Falls would make a fine locale for a soap opera. Its residents have connected histories and convoluted relationships, and everyone possess a secret they don’t want disclosed. And while many of these dangling narrative threads are tied, several are left hanging, suggesting a sequel is in the works, which shouldn’t come as a surprise. After all, this isn’t Barclay’s first foray into Promise Falls. Still, in this instance, the lack of closure on a particular plot point meant the novel’s ending lacked the gravitas all its build-up deserved.

Fans of Harlan Coben will find the transition to Linwood Barclay’s novels seamless. Both authors are proven masters of exploring the ordinary lives of middle-class citizens and throwing them into extraordinary situations. BROKEN PROMISE isn’t revolutionary, but it’s a rip-roaring ride.

3 Stars Good

ISBN: 9781409146452
Format: Paperback (234mm x 153mm x mm)
Pages: 400
Imprint: Orion (an Imprint of The Orion Publishing Group Ltd )
Publisher: Orion Publishing Co
Publish Date: 28-Jul-2015
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

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