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Part mystery-thriller and part ghost story, McMahon's well-paced debut alternates smoothly between past and present. In the fall of 2002, 41-year-old Kate Cypher, a divorced Seattle school nurse, returns to New Hope, the decaying Vermont hippie commune where she grew up, to visit her elderly mother, Jean, who's suffering from Alzheimer's. Kate has avoided New Hope since the grizzly, unsolved murder of her fifth-grade friend, Del Griswold, 31 years earlier. Kate fears she betrayed Del, a free-spirited farm girl. Did her betrayal cause Del's death? Who killed Del? Another local girl is murdered in a similar manner at the time of Kate's return. Could the killer be loose again? Meanwhile, Jean appears to be possessed with Del's spirit and may have the answers to these questions. As Kate investigates, she learns stunning truths about many events and people from her youth. McMahon does a particularly good job of portraying the cruelty of school children. (Apr.)
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This assured, ambitious debut novel offers an unusual mix of mystery novel and ghost story, with particularly well-drawn coming-of-age themes. School nurse Kate Cypher returns to her hometown in Vermont to care for her mother, who is suffering from Alzheimer's. It's not a happy homecoming, since Kate never liked the cultlike atmosphere of the commune she grew up in. Not long after her arrival, a local girl is murdered in the same way Kate's childhood friend, Del, nicknamed the "Potato Girl" by her mean-spirited classmates, was killed 30 years ago. Seriously spooked, Kate reconnects with her childhood sweetheart, who is utterly convinced that Del's ghost is afoot in the woods and intent on seeking revenge. McMahon deftly juggles a complex narrative, which smoothly interweaves the past and the present, while also credibly introducing supernatural elements by presenting them through Kate's skeptical viewpoint. But McMahon's real coup is her touching characterization of the brave and desperate Del. It is through that portrait that McMahon drives home the cruelty of childhood bullying. Joanne Wilkinson
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PROMISE NOT TO TELL was a page turner from the very beginning. Great character detail, amazing descriptive prose, tight pacing and solid plotting are the marks of a terrific... Read morePublished 4 days ago by Francesca E. Miller
This was a very good read. I liked how the story bounced from the present to the past and crescendoed at the end. EnjoyablePublished 12 days ago by LoriAnn Mottolo
I really enjoyed "Promise not to tell"! This is story of a woman, damaged and scared looking for redemption. Read morePublished 12 days ago by B. White
Perfect suspense. Each chapter unfolded the pieces. Looking forward to other books by this author. Age 16+ would be appropriate for reading this.Published 26 days ago by Andrea Creeden
The storyline was two dimensional, and the plot was easy to "see through."Published 27 days ago by Danik of Landor
Ive never been a fan of ghost stories & had I known that this was what this novel was, I probably never would've read it. Read morePublished 28 days ago by loves2read2011
When my previous boss let me borrow a stack of her books, Promise Not To Tell immediately caught my eye. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Darcus Murray
I read this book at the beginning of the year and I still catch myself thinking about the potato girl every now and again. Some books just stick with you and this is one of them. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Haley R