When I heard that Linwood Barclay had a book coming out in September, I was determined to read it as soon as possible. I’ve read a lot of his work before and they’re always books that I power through within a few days, despite my efforts to try and slow down. I think part of that comes down to his writing style; it’s so fast-paced and keeps you on the edge of your seat. His plots are always gripping, too, brimming with suspense and twists.
Broken Promise focuses on David, an out-of-work journalist who has moved back into his parents’ house with his son. When going round to visit his cousin one day, a strange woman who lost a baby in the last year and is verging on going mad, he comes across a strange sight: there is his cousin sat nursing a child. When pushed further, she confesses that an “angel” brought him to her, but David realises that this must mean someone, somewhere, is missing their baby. But it’s only when he figures out where to take the infant back and stumbles across a dead body that all hell breaks loose. Is his cousin a murderer? Who was this “angel” that delivered the baby to her? And what else is going on in this wretched town?
I have a nasty habit of trying to predict where a book is taking me, but I just could not guess how this one was going to pan out. For starters there are a lot of characters, all connected in one way or another as you’d expect in a crime thriller such as this and in such a small town. I like the way that Barclay has sub-plots running alongside his main story, so that you never know what’s connected and what isn’t.
It can get a little confusing at times, though. Perhaps it was just my eagerness to know what happened, but every character seemed to have a secret (some small, some RIDICULOUS) and in wanting to find them out, it was at times difficult to remember where we’d gotten up to in every plotline.
There is also one other issue I have with the novel, which isn’t actually a bad thing at all, unless you’re impatient like me of course. I’m keen to not reveal any spoilers, so I will just say that if you like the kind of novel where every single loose end is tied up, this probably isn’t the book for you. It’s great though, and I’ve already recommended it to Alex, and I’d recommend it to others as well. I’m already keen for Barclay’s next book as I’m hoping we may see some of Broken Promise’s characters again (or else I may go mad with not knowing certain things).
If you want to read Broken Promise, you can get it here.
Have you read any of Linwood Barclay’s books?