Broken Promise by Linwood Barclay

‘Broken Promise’ is the first book in the Promise Falls series by Linwood Barclay, set in the small town of Promise Falls.

David grew up in Promise Falls and after years of working in Boston he has returned with his young son to be near his aging parents. The only problem is that the job he lined up has fallen through, so he finds himself unemployed and living with his parents.

David’s cousin, Marla lost her newborn baby nearly a year ago and has never fully recovered from the trauma. But when David goes to visit her, he finds her with a baby in the house. She claims that baby Matthew was delivered to her by an angel. When he tries to return the baby he finds that the mother has been murdered and Marla is the most obvious suspect. Marla’s mother – Agatha (the hospital administrator and organiser of everyone’s lives) asks David to look into what really happened.

Besides the murder of Rosemary Gaynor, Detective Duckworth has a number of other cases.23 dead squirrels are found hanging from a fence. There are a number of attacks on women at the local college with the perpetrator then shot by campus security. The ferris wheel in an abandoned amusement park is set up with a grisly display.

In addition to this, the disgraced former Mayor Randall Finlay wants to run for office again and is using underhanded techniques to obtain information and discredit others. And he has now offered David a job.

Duckworth and David are both keen to find out the real story about Marla, Rosemary and the baby.

Are there any links to the other strange cases and the re-emergence of Finlay? What is the secret that David’s father Don is keeping?


While providing a solution to the main case, the book left plenty of questions unanswered as an obvious lead in to the rest of the series.

This book was well paced and enjoyable if a bit unbelievable at times. The characters were excellent and even though there was a large cast, Barclay made is pretty easy to keep track.

I’m keen to get on with the rest of the series and look forward to the release of ‘Far From True’ next year.


Book Published 2015


See a full list of books by Linwood Barclay

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