I received a copy of this from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
As with all of best-selling thriller writer Linwood Barclay’s novels, when reading Broken Promise you can’t take anything for granted. Nothing is at it seems; the story is packed with twists, turns and plenty of action.
The book’s protagonist is David Harwood, whose life has taken a series of unfortunate turns which find him living back with his parents in his hometown, bringing his son Ethan with him. He hopes for a little downtime for him to get back on his feet. He of course gets nothing of the sort.
David’s unstable cousin Marla has been troubled since losing her baby last year, so when he turns up at her house to find her looking after a baby she claims an ‘angel’ delivered to her doorstep, he’s not convinced. Things take a darker turn when the mother of the baby, Rosemary Gaynor, is found murdered, and David decides to conduct his own investigation into events.
Alongside David’s storyline, we’re introduced to local detective Barry Duckworth, the disgraced ex-Mayor Randall Finley and a few other key figures in the small town. Rosemary’s murder isn’t the only drama to take place that day – there’s been a series of gruesome goings-on involving a bunch of squirrels, a rollercoaster and a potential rapist on the local college campus.
Fast-paced is a little bit of an understatement for this novel – from the beginning, there’s lots going on and Barclay adds layer upon layer of small town mystery and intrigue. At times, it’s almost too much – there’s a lot of seemingly unconnected strands and various viewpoints so it can be a little difficult to keep track.
I was hoping they would be tied together nicely in the conclusion of the story but, whilst it was satisfactory, it still leaves a lot more to be explored and explained as this novel sets up the beginning of a new series. Barclay has definitely created an intriguing little town here with a great cast of colourful characters; perfect for a series but the ending isn’t the best if you’re just trying to read the novel as a standalone.
Still, this is a great little book which kept me guessing. It’s fun, action-packed and engaging with colourful, well-drawn characters. Barclay has definitely set the stage nicely for the sequel next year.