Barclay's greatest strength is weaving menace into everyday situations and he delivers this in spades in Broken Promise.
If you like your crime more twisty than a bowl of fusilli pasta, then you will love Linwood Barclay and this tale of a small town newspaper reporter investigating a gruesome murder and a missing baby.
Broken Promise is a treat, full of ingenuity and flair and, what's more, it's a book that does not accentuate its effects, but assumes that the reader will be paying the closest attention.
a relentless white-knuckle ride of a thriller, set in the fictional small American town of Promise Falls... There is real storytelling craft on display here, and if ever a book deserved the description 'page turner' it's this one.
Broken Promise smoothly combines a page-turning Harlan Coben pace with a Jeffery Deaver-esque twist. There's even a hint of classic Stephen King in the presentation of an American small town with disturbing secrets. Barclay's evocation of middle-class America and the frustrations of a man forced to return to his roots form the heart of this cleverly constructed mystery that amply demonstrates why Barclay is one of the biggest-selling US writers of crime fiction. The first chapter may read simply "I hate this town", but readers will be seduced by the dark heart of Promise Falls.
Like a less surreal Twin Peaks, this is a compellingly grotesque portrait of the American dream in meltdown. And don't expect all the answers in this first volume - Barclay is keeping plenty of secrets back for parts two and three.
Like a less surreal Twin Peaks, this is a compellingly grotesque portrait of the American dream in meltdown.
Fast and smartly plotted.