Monday 2 November 2015

Book ~ "Broken Promise" (2015) Linwood Barclay

From Goodreads ~ After his wife’s death and the collapse of his newspaper, David Harwood has no choice but to uproot his nine-year-old son and move back into his childhood home in Promise Falls, New York. David believes his life is in free fall and he can’t find a way to stop his descent.

Then he comes across a family secret of epic proportions. A year after a devastating miscarriage, David’s cousin, Marla, has continued to struggle. But when David’s mother asks him to check on her, he’s horrified to discover that she’s been secretly raising a child who is not her own - a baby she claims was a gift from an “angel” left on her porch.

When the baby’s real mother is found murdered, David can’t help wanting to piece together what happened - even if it means proving his own cousin’s guilt. But as he uncovers each piece of evidence, David realizes that Marla’s mysterious child is just the tip of the iceberg.

Other strange things are happening. Animals are found ritually slaughtered. An ominous abandoned ferris wheel seems to stand as a warning that something dark has infected Promise Falls. And someone has decided that the entire town must pay for the sins of its past … in blood.

David Harwood, who we met in Never Look Away, is a journalist who was working in Boston.  He moved him and his son, Ethan, back home to Promise Falls so he can spend more time with Ethan.  He had landed a job with the local newspaper, which shut down on his first day.  Until he finds another job and gets on his feet, he and Ethan are living with his parents in his childhood home.

David's mom asks him to take some food over to his cousin, Marla.  Marla is still recovering from the stillborn death of her daughter last year.  When David arrives, he discovers that Marla is taking care of a baby ... an "angel" had apparently dropped him off at her door yesterday.  David finds an address in the stroller and he figures that's where the baby's parents live.  When he goes to the address, he discovers the baby's father had just arrived home from a business trip and his mother has been murdered in the kitchen.  Needless to say, all hell breaks out.

Because Marla has the baby, it is assumed that she also killed the mother and the police focus their attention on her.  In the meantime, the baby's nanny has disappeared and everyone is looking for her for answers.

There is a lot going on besides the main story of Marla and the baby.  Dead squirrels are found tied to a fence.  Something bizarre is found on the ferris wheel at the abandoned amusement park.  There is someone running loose at the university attempting to rape women.  The former mayor, who is a sleaze, wants to run for mayor again is looking to the local police detective for favours and has offered David a job.  David is attracted to a woman who has more baggage than he does.  David's elderly mom is getting forgetful and his dad is fretting over something.

This is the first in the Promise Falls series and it should be interesting to see how the series develops.   I've read many books by this author over the years ... some I've liked a lot and some not so much.  As I was reading this one, I was enjoying it.  In anticipation of future books in the series, I guess, I found there were too many things left unanswered which I found annoying.  I thought the main story was interesting as were the subplots.  I enjoyed the writing style and thought it moved at a good pace.  As a head's up, there is swearing (lots of F-bombs).

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