Broken Promise A Thriller (Promise Falls Trilogy)


Please let me begin with a disclaimer.  I’m a fairly easy going gal.  I don’t throw temper tantrums, I seldom raise my voice and it takes a whole lot to make me angry.  

It is at this point that I would like to congratulate Linwood Barclay for raising my ire AND my blood pressure.

Barclay is one of those rare writers who excels in character development, and this book is no exception.  Every single player here, from Marla, the broken woman with more than a few issues, to David, a single father forced through circumstance to live with his parents, is believable.  


What I most appreciate about Barclay’s work is his ability to keep each character’s actions/dialogue and reactions true to the persona he creates.  Nothing is arbitrary, but rather each character interaction furthers that brilliant development and encourages empathy or enmity–occasionally, as in the case of Agnes, simultaneously.

I will also offer props to Barclay for his ability to weave a plot and be able to follow it.  He must have a very large storyboard somewhere, as that would have been the ONLY way I could have kept up.  

It’s a sad commentary when the lack of a graphic interface prevents the reader from being able to fully enjoy the story.  


Ok, major spoilers are to come, so reader, beware!  You’ve been warned.

Barclay, WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?  From the very start, I made a conscious effort to follow the Marla thread.  I appreciated how it had woven into its tapestry the threads of Dr. Strauss and the Gaynors.  No, really, that was awesome.  

But there were other threads…loose threads.  Threads that kept me page turning to find out how they were to be related.  

So why am I angry?  BECAUSE THEY NEVER CAME TOGETHER.  Instead, Barclay strings us along for a wild ride that ends in the middle of a damn desert–barren and thirsting for the hours it took to read this novel to be returned in some time-travel scenario.  


It’s about as ridiculous as assuming the reader would in any way be content.  

So, Mr. Barclay, if by chance you’re reading, I have a few suggestions and questions.

1.  If this was a sequel piece of which understanding and appreciation came with a prereading prerequisite, TELL THE READERS BEFORE THEY BUY THE BOOK.

2.  What the hell was up with David’s father, Don?  Why was he so sullen?  What did Walden say to upset him?

3.  What the hell was up with Trevor’s father, Barry?  What did Finley have on him?

4.  Why add Arlene’s leg injury?  What purpose did it serve?

5.  Who killed the squirrels?

6.  Who put the mannequins on the ferris wheel?

7.  Who killed Rosemary?

8.  Who killed Olivia?

There’s a start.  I’ve left out questions about the banality of including the Carol/Gill nonsense; about Fenwick’s phone conversation that appeared to be leading to gratuitous phone sex; about the quick lay at Sam’s; the number 23: the Thackery College buffoons.  

My GOD, the list is endless. For me, this read like an installment of a serial story, like those that used to appear, one chapter at a time, in various publications.  The difference here is that folks waited impatiently, prognosticating and predicting, full of great anticipation for those serial pieces.  

With this book, I’ve abandoned all hope on this bait and switch and will be seeking my closure in a stand alone novel that actually comes to a conclusion.