Sunday, February 10, 2008

PROMISE NOT TO TELL by Jennifer McMahon

My review of PROMISE NOT TO TELL is now online. This book is not marketed as a mystery, although it does involve two murders, one thirty-year-old unsolved crime and a current murder that has startling similarities to the original case.

The book description bills PROMISE NOT TO TELL as "more than just a murder mystery" (honestly, I wonder what the last book I read that was "just" that was) but don't hold that slightly insulting phrasing against McMahon. There are no real spoilers in the review, as this is the type of book that wears its heart on its sleeve and you're being told about the secret truths that will be revealed from the opening pages.


John McFetridge said...

That's such a great line, Sandra, when was the last time I read a book that was "just" a mystery?

Put that together with Kevin Burton Smith's, those who can do, those who can't transend, and we're onto something.

Sandra Ruttan said...

Honestly, if I hadn't gone looking for the book, if I'd been strolling through picking up books and flipping them over and read that, I might very well have put the book back.

If you looked at the review you know I had a very favourable opinion of the book and it isn't often I polish off a book in pretty much one sitting, but I started this one after supper last night and finished it after midnight. That says a lot about the book...

So I don't meant to take anything away from it when I say that books like Dirty Sweet are every bit as much about "more" than "just" a mystery. Can you imagine if Dirty Sweet came out with "more than just literature" on it? People would have a fucking stroke.

And as much as I had many good things to say about this book, I did think the author could learn something about weaving timelines from Laura Lippman. Hush my mouth, learn from a crime fiction author? What is the world coming to?

(All of that bears no reflection on McMahon at all, just what I consider to be an extremely poor choice in phrasing from the publisher in terms of how they marketed this book.)

Sandra Ruttan said...

PS I can learn something from Laura Lippman about weaving timelines too. I'd like to think I have begun that process, but the simple point is, it's no insult to say a new author can learn from a multi-award winner.

I just don't mean that to sound critical. Weaving timelines is challenging stuff, and Laura's one of the best out there - regardless of genre.