Saturday, September 5, 2015

PROMISE NOT TO TELL – JENNIFER MCMAHON

Isn't finding a good book to fit your mood like trying to settle on a good recipe for dinner? When nothing on the shelf seems to hit the spot the library is always a great place to browse. I just wish libraries hired reader advisory people to let you bounce ideas off of and get good ideas from, and librarians are trained NOT to give you an opinion. So I returned home with several in the supernatural vein and settled on this little tome. Just what I needed, a one afternoon read with a combination of ghost story/mystery/coming-of-age. Yeah!

Kate Cypher is now 41, divorced, and a public school nurse. Her mother, Jean still lives in a declining Vermont hippie commune where Kate grew up. But now she needs help and is suffering from Alzheimer’s. Kate reluctantly returns home to help out and to make arrangements for her mother's care. Upon her return a murder occurs which seems eerily similar to one thirty years earlier.

In 1971 the local school outcast, and Kate's secret friend, Del Griswold was brutally murdered. In 2002 two young girls sitting with boys at a campfire are telling ghost stories of Del when one of them is murdered in a similar manner. The murder is close to Jean's cabin and that night Jean had been wandering the woods returning home with blood on her hands. Kate is forced to relive her coming-of-age years when she was one of the “hippie kids” and desperately wanted to be accepted at school. She loved her wild and spirited friend Del but she kept their friendship a secret because Del, taunted as “The Potato Girl,” was the school outcast. Her family was poor and rough and scary. Del's death scarred Kate with guilt and grief. When Kate escaped the commune life she never intended to return. But her return immerses her in the two crimes. She reconnects with her old flame and embarks on a quest to solve the murders.


There is enough supernatural intrigue, romance, conflict, and tension to keep the reader turning the pages. You won't be disappointed if you need a short read of a ghostly nature. I really think that the author did an excellent job of illustrating how childhood bullying occurs and insight into the mind of a child that so wants to fit in that she cannot speak out or try to stop abuse of a friend. 

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