My review of Beginner's Greek will come after it posts to Curled Up, but here are my thoughts on Promise Not To Tell by Jennifer McMahon
Promise Not To Tell by Jennifer McMahon is the story of Kate Cypher, a nurse working in Seattle. She receives a call from some old friends back home who tell her that her mother, who suffers from dementia and Alzheimer’s, is rapidly deteriorating. Kate goes home to confront the difficult situation with her mother, who does not want to go into a home. However, there are other issues waiting for Kate upon her return. 31 years earlier, Kate’s best friend, Del Griswold, was murdered, and the killer was never found. Now there is another murder that is frighteningly similar to Del’s – is it coincidence that it happened right after Kate’s homecoming? And what really happened the day that Del was murdered?
I really enjoyed Promise Not To Tell. The pacing was quick, and at a concise 256 pages, there really was never a dull moment. The author foreshadowed well, increasing the reader’s anticipation, but never gave too much away. It is frustrating when an author’s use of foreshadowing actually ruins the book due to poor placement and revealing too much information (Michael Crichton’s The Andromeda Strain is the best example I can think of for really irritating foreshadowing).
The book was definitely spooky and a little bit creepy, but it definitely wasn’t too scary for those of you that have difficulty with horror novels (like me.) Besides the unfolding of the mystery, the element I honestly liked best about the book was its length. Too often, my main complaint about a novel is that about 100 pages could have been trimmed off without any significant impact on the plot or character development. While I don’t mind long novels, I’m a big proponent of the idea that a book shouldn’t be any longer than it really needs to be. McMahon seems to have had that same idea in mind when writing Promise Not to Tell.
I also think McMahon did a great job portraying school children. As much as many of us liked to romanticize our childhoods, the fact is, kids can be incredibly cruel. I think many of us, especially those of us who enjoy escaping into books as we’ve become older, have been at the receiving end of taunting and bullying. I think through the way the author writes Del and Kate, she really drives home the point of how cruel children have the capacity to be. It’s very well written, but not horribly uncomfortable to read, which is a welcome surprise.
Overall, I really enjoyed the book and would definitely recommend it!