Linwood Barclay's new book - Broken Promise. I didn't read any synopses - I knew I would love it, (as I have all his other books) and wanted to be completely surprised.
Well, wasn't I surprised to find many characters I already knew and enjoyed living in the pages of this new book....
Newspaper reporter David Harwood (Never Look Away) moves back to his hometown to provide a better life for his young son. But he loses his job shortly after returning and is forced to move back in with his parents. He's on an errand for his mom when he stops in at his cousin Marla's house and discovers her with a baby that 'an angel dropped off.' Marla's baby died at birth - so whose baby is this?
Promise Falls Detective Barry Duckworth (a favourite character of mine who was in Too Close to Home, Never Look Away and Trust Your Eyes) has his hands full. In addition to the baby case, someone has ritualistically slaughtered and displayed 23 squirrels, a ride at the defunct amusement park in town is up and running - with mannequins in seat 23, and a rapist is on the prowl at the local college.
Uh huh, lots going on.....I wondered how is Barclay going to tie all of this together?
I find Barclay's storytelling so engaging. We are introduced to many of the residents of Promise Falls. Backgrounds and personal storylines are detailed - some more than others. The reader is never sure who is going to play a part - and how large and in what capacity. I loved the detail and the ensemble cast - it somewhat reminded me of Stephen King's narrative style. (King calls Barclay "A suspense master.")
But are these the only crimes in Broken Promise? Or just the only ones we know about? There's lots of hinting at events in the past that may paint a larger picture - snippets and tendrils tease the reader. Clues to many of the current crimes are quietly inserted at the end of some chapters, slowly building the answers to whodunit. I did figure out one of the crimes before the end, but I was happy to discover that I was not completely right. And that there's more to the story of Promise Falls.
Now, I've read that a few readers feel cheated at the ending as not every loose end was tied up. This reader? I loved it - especially now that I know there will be two more novels in the 'Promise' series! The next book, Far From True, is due out in March 2016. A must read for me!
Read an excerpt of Broken Promise. You can connect with Linwood Barclay on Twitter as well as on Facebook.
Want even more? Hazlitt Magazine has a great four part podcast, bringing even more of Promise Falls to you. Barclay himself is the reader.