Monday, March 21, 2011

Review: Promise Not to Tell by Jennifer McMahon

Promise Not to Tell
By Jennifer McMahon
Release on April 10, 2007
By HarperCollins Publishers
Genre: Murder Mystery

The Story: (from Forty-one-year-old school nurse Kate Cypher has returned home to rural Vermont to care for her mother who's afflicted with Alzheimer's. On the night she arrives, a young girl is murdered—a horrific crime that eerily mirrors another from Kate's childhood. Three decades earlier, her dirt-poor friend Del—shunned and derided by classmates as "Potato Girl"—was brutally slain. Del's killer was never found, while the victim has since achieved immortality in local legends and ghost stories. Now, as this new murder investigation draws Kate irresistibly in, her past and present collide in terrifying, unexpected ways. Because nothing is quite what it seems . . . and the grim specters of her youth are far from forgotten.

More than just a murder mystery, Jennifer McMahon's extraordinary debut novel, Promise Not to Tell, is a story of friendship and family, devotion and betrayal—tautly written, deeply insightful, beautifully evocative, and utterly unforgettable.

My Review: Although I am not usually a fan of ghost stories I picked this one up when it caught my eye at the book store. Part murder mystery, part ghost story, it tells the story of two similar murders that take place thirty years apart in small town Vermont. The story goes back and forth between the spring of 1971 and the fall of 2002. Kate's story of her friendship with the first murdered girl Del (dubbed the Potato Girl by her classmates) is slowly feed to the reader as the present day story unfolds.

All the while, present day sightings and fears of Del's ghost are haunting the main characters that were involved in the past. The cover of the book says you will be looking over your shoulder for the Potato girl for years to come, and I admit I have checked mine a few times and have felt the hair raise on the back of my neck! The paintings and messages sprinkled through the book with messages like.... "one potato, two potato, three potato , four - she's coming after you now, better lock your door" or "potato girl, potato girl, smells so rotten she'll make your nose curl" The delivery of these messages made me have flash backs to Nightmare on Elm Street movies. I asked myself a number of times how do you actually outrun a ghost, because she seemed always hot on their trail.

The book leaves you guessing through out and I began to suspect people a number of times just for it to be changed in the next chapter. Was it Kate, the brother, the ghost of Del, Kate's mother, one of their classmates et. et. This to me makes it a great mystery. It was refreshing to read something outside of my usual genre. I highly recommend this book if you enjoy a good ghost story, with lots of suspense and a good mystery.

1 comment:

Lisa said...

This novel sounds really interesting. The girl on the cover is really haunting and intriguing at the same time.