In keeping with my recent trend of pure escapism reading, I picked up Jennifer McMahon’s Promise Not to Tell at the airport the other day.

Synopsis (from the publisher)
Forty-one-year-old school nurse Kate Cypher has returned home to rural Vermont to care for her mother, who’s afflicted with Alzheimer’s. On the night she arrives, a young girl is murdered—a horrific crime that eerily mirrors another from Kate’s childhood. Three decades earlier, her dirt-poor friend Del—shunned and derided by classmates as “Potato Girl”—was brutally slain. Del’s killer was never found, while the victim has since achieved immortality in local legends and ghost stories. Now, as this new murder investigation draws Kate irresistibly in, her past and present collide in terrifying, unexpected ways. Because nothing is quite what it seems . . . and the grim specters of her youth are far from forgotten.

Overall, the story was entertaining.   There were definite twists, trying to figure out the “Whodunnit” and more importantly, the Why?

The poignant part of the book is how we as children too often single out that one child to ostracize and pick on. And hopefully as we grow up, we see how truly terrible that behavior is, and never act that way again.   As the story is told in Kate’s flashbacks to her childhood and her friendship with Del, contrasted against her desire to also be one of the popular girls, I think more than one reader will recognize Kate’s conflict. And what we learn as part of the story is that true courage comes in many forms.

That’s the part of the book that spoke more deeply than I anticipated.  Now, without spoiling, I didn’t really go for how parts of the mystery were revealed.  While entertaining, I mostly believe they are implausible. Not a plot contrivance, exactly, but for someone on the more skeptical side, it just doesn’t ring true.

That being said, I had fun reading the book, and learning the who and the why.  I felt terribly sorry for Del, who had her own unique courage, and who must have worn a  heavy mask.  While I didn’t love the reveal of the bad guy, I’d still say this one is a decent, quick, escapist read.