The Promise by Teresa Driscoll

A review of the psychological detective thriller The Promise by Teresa Driscoll.

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The Promise, described as a chilling psychological thriller, tells the story of a secret between three best friends—Sally, Beth, and Carol—who meet as school children. Something occurs during this time that results in the disappearance of Carol, and the others promise that they will take the secret to their graves. Now estranged, Sally and Beth enlist the help of a private investigator, named Matthew, to find Carol. With very little to go on, and with Beth and Sally unwilling to tell Matthew the whole story, this proves quite a challenge. The story then follows their search for Carol, and their desperation as their secret threatens to be revealed.

Driscoll tries to evoke empathy and add depth to the three main characters by moving between the past and present. However, it feels like a complete waste of time. In my opinion, the characters are one-dimensional and evoked no feelings whatsoever. The main character is whingy, whiney, and totally self-absorbed. As well as this, Driscoll tries to drip-feed the backstory into the narrative, but just manages to add more useless information, presenting readers with a great example of how not to character build, or drip-feed for that matter.

The plot is banal, can be worked out really quickly, and is totally predictable. The ‘secret’ is neither shocking nor believable. The actual exposé was, I believe, written to disturb and upset, rather than explain. The plot twists are frankly mediocre and cliché.

The Promise is a genuinely awful book, with very few redeeming features. I found it to be neither chilling nor thrilling. Advertised differently, maybe as a study about childhood promises taken into adulthood, it might be worth considering.

Although easy to read, as it has no depth whatsoever, I cannot recommend this book at all—unless to learn how not to write a thriller.

Cassidy grew up in Thanet and lives here with her family.

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