The Promise, by Teresa Driscoll (Review)


The Promise
by Teresa Driscoll

Genre: Psychological Thriller, Mystery

Length: 309 Pages

Release date: February 7, 2019

Publisher: Thomas and Mercer

Synopsis: 

The chilling new psychological thriller from the #1 bestselling author of I Am Watching You.

It was their darkest secret. Three schoolgirls made a promise – to take the horrible truth of what they did to the grave.

Thirty years later, Beth and Sally have tried to put the trauma behind them. Though Carol has distanced herself from her former friends, the three are adamant that the truth must never come to light, even if the memory still haunts them.

But when some shocking news threatens to unearth their dark secret, Beth enlists the help of private investigator Matthew Hill to help her and Sally reconnect with estranged Carol ­– before the terrible act they committed as teenagers is revealed.

Beth wishes she could take back the vow they made.

But somebody is watching and will stop at nothing to ensure the secret stays buried. Now, with her beloved family in peril, can Beth still keep the promise?

rating

three

My thanks to NetGalley and Thomas & Mercer for sending me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and are not influenced by the publisher. 

Teresa Driscoll first came onto my radar last year when I read I Am Watching You with my book club. While I wasn’t a huge fan of the ending of that novel, I did find it an overall really enjoyable reading experience, so I was quick to request a copy of The Promise when I saw it on NetGalley. The basic premise of the story (three women with a deep, dark secret going back to their boarding school days) was super intriguing to me and was giving off some Ruth Ware vibes.

Unfortunately, I think some of that promise was lost in the execution. Part of what fell flat for me was the sheer number of separate perspectives that Driscoll is trying to juggle within this book. The reader will spend time in the heads of Beth, Sally, and Carol, as well as Matthew, a private investigator which fans may recognize from Driscoll’s prior novel (I Am Watching You). I think limiting this to one or two perspectives may have made for a better reading experience. I’m not one to dislike multiple perspectives on principal, but I don’t think it worked very well here.

My other main issue with this was that the pacing felt rather slow. Almost 70% of the book is spend leading up to a big reveal which becomes a bit too easy to guess before you actually get to it. (Interestingly, this was the opposite problem I had with Driscoll’s last novel, which I thought dropped far too little foreshadowing and left me feeling a little cheated. This can be a really difficult balance to strike and may even vary from one reader to the next, so your mileage my vary.)

All that being said, there were some things that I really enjoyed about this novel. The relationships between the three women throughout the years were really fun to explore, and the story was atmospheric and full of suspense. The last quarter or so of the book picks up the pace in a huge way and made up for some of what I thought was lacking early in the story. This would be a good selection for a lot of fans of Ruth Ware, Liane Moriarty, and of course, Teresa Driscoll’s past work.

Purchase links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | IndieBound

Thank you for reading! Does guessing the big twist ruin a mystery novel for you? Would you rather be surprised by the ending or validated in your suspicions? Let’s discuss in the comments!

Capture2

Other places to follow me…
Tumblr | Facebook | Instagram | GoodReads

Review, Lies by T.M. Logan


Lies
by T.M. Logan

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Length: 418 Pages

Release date: September 11, 2018

Synopsis: 

WHAT IF YOUR WHOLE LIFE WAS BASED ON LIES?
When Joe Lynch stumbles across his wife driving into a hotel car park while she’s supposed to be at work, he’s intrigued enough to follow her in.

And when he witnesses her in an angry altercation with family friend Ben, he knows he ought to intervene.

But just as the confrontation between the two men turns violent, and Ben is knocked unconscious, Joe’s young son has an asthma attack – and Joe must flee in order to help him.

When he returns, desperate to make sure Ben is OK, Joe is horrified to find that Ben has disappeared.

And that’s when Joe receives the first message . . .

rating

four

“Cats don’t need anyone, they can do fine on their own. They live in the moment and trust their eyes and ears, what they can see in front of them – I think we can all learn something from that.” 

I’ve read a few seriously lackluster psychological thrillers lately that had me wondering if many this genre as a whole was just no longer doing it for me. Lies was a pleasant surprise that reinvigorated my affection for these kinds of books. Lies is fast-paced and filled with tension from start to finish, with twists and turns to keep you turning the pages.

The main drawback for this novel is that it is sometimes repetitive in that condescending way that seems to imply the author doesn’t feel the reader is capable of keeping up. For example, at one point, the protagonist listens to a voicemail from someone, and then recaps for the reader who that person is and how he first made contact with them. All of this had already been included in the narrative, and not terribly far back.

These sections, however, are brief and few and far between. For the majority of the novel, it doesn’t feel like Logan has given the readers too much or too little information. The author leaves just enough breadcrumbs for the mystery to be a fun puzzle. Combined with the fast pace and the high stakes for the protagonist, it’s immensely easy to get emotionally invested in the story.

Joe Lynch is in serious danger of going down for a murder he did not commit, a murder he’s not convinced has even happened at all. As the evidence piles up against him and seemingly everything that can go wrong does go wrong, he comes to the soul-sucking realization that he cannot trust anyone. If anyone is going to clear his own name, it’s him. This is a high-tension Gone Girl scenario, except the reader doesn’t have the benefit of knowing the fate of the missing person; we are kept in the dark with the protagonist.

Technology was heavily involved in the plot of Lies in a way that felt very natural and fun. From spyware on cell phones to forensic analysis of Facebook posts, the novel feels very modern. I’ve found that a lot of books either ignore ubiquitous technology such as social media, or force it in awkwardly. Joe uses Google like it’s his job and Facebook stalks people for clues.

Twisty and dark, this is a perfect October read to get you into the Halloween spirit. One you get into it, you won’t be able to put it down.

Capture.PNG

Purchase links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | IndieBound

Also by T.M. Logan…

29 Seconds 

Give me one name. One person. And I will make them disappear . . . 

When Sarah rescues a young girl in trouble, she expects nothing in return. But her act of bravery puts a powerful and dangerous man in her debt. He lives by his own brutal code, and all debts must be repaid – in the only way he knows how.

He offers Sarah a way to solve a desperate situation with her intolerable boss. A once-in-a-lifetime deal that will make all her problems disappear.

No consequences. No comeback. No chance of being found out.

All it takes is a 29 second phone call.

Because everyone has a name to give. Don’t they?

Thank you for reading! What’s the best psychological thriller you’ve read lately? Have you read Lies? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Capture2

Other places to follow me…
Tumblr | Facebook | Instagram | GoodReads

Review – Silent All These Years, by T. A. Massa

40541124.jpg
Silent All These Years 
by T. A. Massa

Genre: Thriller

Length: 203 Pages

Release date: September 11, 2018

Synopsis: 

A broken daughter’s search for the truth unwinds a spiraling journey of panic, lust, and murder in this manipulative thriller from debut author T. A. Massa.

Melanie Stewart has just been left ten million dollars by a man she never knew. Should she accept the money? What if it means her mother, Marilyn, who died when she was only three years old, was murdered by the man who left it to her?

Melanie is trapped with crippling anxiety after the loss of her mother at a young age and the fatal stabbing of her fiancé on the night of their engagement.

When she discovers she has been written into the will of Roger Andrews, a name linked to the mysterious death of her mother, Melanie must trudge down a path of buried memories, reliving painful heartache, all while attempting to restart her life and trust a new admirer.

Told from the alternating perspectives of Melanie’s investigation and Marilyn’s last weeks leading up to her death, the clues unravel one by one, leaving you guessing until the final climax. Who should Melanie trust? What happened to Marilyn all those years ago?

rating

twoI received an ARC of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to T. A. Massa. All opinions are my own and not influenced by the author. 

Silent All These Years has one of my biggest pet peeves for a thriller: the whole plot depends on the protagonist being ridiculously, unbearably gullible. The villain is painfully obvious from the moment they appear in the story, and Melanie ignores red flag after giant, waving red flag as she walks blissfully into danger. When the threat is so obvious (not just from the reader’s perspective, mind you, but when there are countless things that should truly give the protagonist pause) and the protagonist remains so oblivious, it becomes difficult to get invested in the character.

You know that moment in a bad horror movie where the person being chased runs up the stairs instead of out of the house to call for help? That’s what this whole book felt like this for me. What are you doing, Melanie? What is going through your head? Do you want to get murdered, Melanie? Because this is how you get murdered . 

I also had a difficult time empathizing with the trauma that has left Melanie with PTSD, mainly because the deceased fiancé never feels like a fleshed-out character. There are a few sparse flashbacks to when Nathan was alive in Melanie’s chapters, but never enough to give the reader any kind of an idea who he was as a person. Nathan exists in the story solely as a means to explain Melanie’s fragile state. The problem is that without a clear picture of Nathan and his relationship with Melanie, it feels very hollow. The readers are not made to feel Melanie’s pain, we are simply told that she is in pain.

I did enjoy some of the chapters which were written from Melanie’s mother’s perspective, however. Marilyn’s love for her daughter is palpable and tender. Her last days aren’t spent mourning her own impeding death, but the realization that she won’t be there for her young daughter anymore.

The story is fast-paced and does have some unexpected twists in regards to the mystery of the mother’s death. Fans of Riley Sager or Mary Kubika may find this an entertaining read.

You can purchase the Kindle edition of Silent All These Years here. 

Thank you for reading! Have you read Silent All These Years? Please share your thoughts in the comments!
What’s most important for you in a thriller?

Capture2

Other places to follow me…
Tumblr | Facebook | Instagram | GoodReads