ISBN-13: 9781780622088

Publisher: Indigo
Publication Date: 2014
Format: Paperback, 255 pgs
Source: Purchased

Kate Cypher and Del Griswold are two misfits in school. The former is more of a hippie girl who lives in a tepee while the latter, whose father owns a run-down farm, gets shunned by her schoolmates. As if that isn't enough, they also named her "Potato Girl". Kate doesn't want to be friends with Del initially, but Del intrigues her and on top of that, Del is the one who talked to her first. Although they aren't close on surface, Del has shared some of her secrets with Kate. As much as Kate doesn't want to be seen with her, she sees this as a way of trading secrets with the other popular girls in school so she could fit into their social circles. That is, until Del got murdered in the woods. They couldn't find the killer, and the mystery remains unsolved and some secrets are left buried. However, the stories of the Potato Girl travel among the small town, and she'd somewhat became their 'urban legend'; ghost stories to be told over and over. 

Thirty years later, Kate returns to New Canaan, Vermont, to find that another murder is committed; the victim's death quite similarly to Del's. Ten-year-old Opal is sure something sinister is going on surrounding her best friend's death. After all, Tori Miller died wearing her jacket when she wandered deep into the woods. There are stories of the Potato Girl coming back from the dead to haunt those who had teased or bullied her. What if Tori's death is a result of mistaken identity? Is the murderer a human being or is Del's ghost seeking revenge after all these years? 

Told between flashbacks in 1971 and what happens currently in 2002, Promise Not to Tell is an absorbing thriller about friendship, secrets, betrayal and of course, murder. Aside from the premise and the characterisations, what made this story such a compelling read is the paranormal element in it, which I felt made the overall setting to be creepy and atmospheric. And then there is Kate's mother, who has Alzheimer, certainly leads readers in doubt of the things she remembered or said. Speculations or truth? Human or specter? These are the things that had me wonder all the time while reading this book right up to the climatic moments towards the ending.  A very promising debut I'd say by Ms. McMahon. I'd definitely check out her other releases. 

10 Responses
  1. Kay Says:

    I like this author's books so much - well, the ones I've read. She has a knack for making the reader unsure whether what happens is a plain ordinary mystery or something supernatural. I read this one a few years back and kind of remember it, but actually not so much. I likely need to do a reread of it. Jennifer McMahon's books are certainly unique. Glad you enjoyed it!

  2. Melody Says:

    Kay - I agree Jennifer McMahon's books are unique. I liked the way she set up the atmosphere.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    I hear nothing but awesome stuff about Jennifer McMahon, but I still haven't read anything of hers. The Winter People sounds hella creepy.

  4. jenclair Says:

    I've read a couple of McMahon's books, but something about them puts me off. I liked The Winter People better than Don't Breathe a Word, but felt manipulated more than involved.

  5. Melody Says:

    Jenny - The Winter People would be the next book I gonna read by her!

  6. Melody Says:

    Jenclair - Now you've me intrigued about Don't Breathe a Word. I've gotta check out that book too!

  7. This sounds really good, Melody. I have a book by this author on my Kindle (can't remember the title at the moment). This one appeals to me because it has the supernatural versus ordinary mystery feel to it. I read another one like that recently which I enjoyed.

  8. Melody Says:

    Wendy - I really enjoyed reading this novel. It had me engrossed all the time. So what's the title that you'd read recently? Now you've me intrigued. :)

  9. Iliana Says:

    I have another book by this author on my shelves and I remember it got a lot of great reviews. Also thriller/supernatural type. This one is also going my list. I really like the sound of it.

  10. Melody Says:

    Iliana - I hope you'll enjoy reading this as much as I did, Iliana. :)

Post a Comment

Thanks for stopping by! I would love to hear from you.