Broken Promise (Promise Falls #1) by @linwood_barclay #crimefiction #BookReview #FridayReads

Author: Linwood Barclay

Published: September 2015 by Orion

Category: Crime, Thriller, Suspense, Book Review

The morning it all started, newspaper reporter David Harwood had plenty to worry about. A single parent with no job, forced to return with his young son to the small town of Promise Falls to live with his parents, the future wasn’t looking too rosy. So when his mother asked him to look in on his cousin Marla, who was still not quite right after losing her baby, it was almost a relief to put the disaster his own life had become to one side.

Five years ago, after his wife died, David Harwood and his young son, Ethan, left Promise Falls after David gave up his job as a reporter for the Promise Falls Standard, and accepted an editing position at the Boston Globe. It wasn’t ideal though, as David’s work meant he was out most evenings and missed spending time with his son. When he heard the Standard needed a reporter he opted to return and move in with his parents until he found a place. On his first day back at work the paper closed. Not an auspicious start but things were about to get a whole lot worse.

David’s cousin, Marla, miscarried ten months ago and is still struggling with the traumatic psychological effects. When he calls round to Marla’s at his mother’s request he finds her bottle feeding a baby, and she has a strange account of how he arrived at her house. When the mother is found murdered the evidence against Marla is damning. 

This time, when he called out her name, it was different. His voice was filled with anguish and horror. The man dropped to his knees. Before him, stretched out on the floor was a woman.

She lay on her back, one leg extended, the other bent awkwardly. Her blouse, which from the collar appeared to be white, was awash in red, and ripped roughly straight across near the bottom.

A few feet away, a kitchen knife with a ten-inch blade. Blade and handle covered in blood.

There are several story threads merging together, uncovering the wicked and dishonourable undercurrent of Promise Falls. Detective Barry Duckworth has caught a couple of seemingly random, but suspiciously disturbing cases. Added to which his son has started work for the disgraced ex-mayor, Randall Finley, who is working to his own underhand agenda in order to get back in power. It seems a lot of people in Promise Falls have secrets. This is the first of a series so not everything is tied up neatly. Some of the sub plots set up the story for the following books. 

This is my first book by Linwood Barclay but I have the next books ready and waiting. Promise Falls is well written and intricate with the main plot ending with a twist I didn’t see coming. David’s chapters are in the first person so we get a feel for his character straight away. The rest of the book is written in the third person from multiple perspectives giving a great overview of events. The diverse cast of characters are well defined, each having their own problems and issues. I love the writing style, the slow burn pacing, the imagery and the way I was kept guessing throughout.

Book links ~ Amazon UK | Amazon US

Linwood Barclay is a former columnist for The Toronto Star and the author of several critically acclaimed novels, including Too Close to Home and No Time for Goodbye, a #1 Sunday Times (UK) bestseller. He lives near Toronto with his wife.

Author links ~ Website | Twitter | Facebook 

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