Friday, August 7, 2015

"Broken hearted melody, won't you bring her back to me." Lyrics

I've been a long time fan of Linwood Barclay. In "Broken Promise" he leads the reader up to a grand finale but the conclusion of the story leaves the reader disappointed.

David Harwood is a widowed father, raising his nine-year-old son, Ethan, on his own. He was working for a newspaper in Boston but felt he'd have more quality of life by moving back to Promise Falls, where his parents were living.

When he arrives in Promise Falls, he learns that the newspaper that promised him a job has folded. With no job in the near future, his mother asks him to look in on his cousin, Marla. Marla has been having a rough time since she gave birth to a still-born child a number of months ago.

When David reaches Marla's home, She's caring for a nine-month-old baby. She tells David that an angel delivered baby Matthew to her. Incredulous, David sees an address on the baby stroller and when he goes to that address, he sees that the woman living there has been murdered.

The story is told from David's perspective with alternating chapters from the point of view of other characters. This works well in making the reader appreciate the characters and caring for them.

Through the remainder of the novel, David attempts to find answers to the murder. A subplot involves the number 23. Twenty-three animals are killed and left in an obvious place to be discovered. There is action at a closed theme park with three mannequins on carriage twenty-three and  note stating You'll Be Sorry.There is also a man though to be a rapist at a local college with an associated number.23.

The writing is polished and the characters well described. The evidence points in one direction but the reader wonders who else might be involved and what would be there motive.

The smooth action continues until the conclusion. It's almost as if Barclay was writing for a sequel and pens "stay tuned for the next book to learn what happens." There are a number of unanswered questions around the number 23, and a woman David met who claims he set her up.

What did the officials mean when they state in concluding moments..."Our guy's come back...or maybe he never left."

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Broken Promise