You know that spark you get, sometimes, when you walk past a hitherto unknown stranger? Where your eyes lock, and your pulse quickens, and your lips pull up into a small smile as you think to yourself I want to be with that person…
..and then you meet that person, and their smile is cute, their talk is witty, and before you know it, you have a significant other…
But then, after those first hunger pangs have been satiated, you realize that this person you thought was so amazing is actually kind of boring and dull and bad in bed?
And you realize, that spark you felt upon locking eyes with this person lied to you, and now you need to end this relationship so you can sob into a pint of ice cream before putting yourself together to meet the true love of your life?
That’s sort of how I felt reading John Locke’s novella Promise You Won’t Tell?
Part of a mystery series featuring spunky detective Dani Ripper, Locke’s work starts off as a ridiculously compulsive read, with quirky, quippy dialogue that proceeds at a fast pace and barely makes sense. This description may not sound like a compliment, but it is. I loved the zaniness of the story, the liveliness of its’ characters, and rubbed my hands with glee as I thought to myself I will never know where the hell this story is going… It’s fun, after all, sometimes, to read a mystery that is… you know… a mystery.
… But then, the actual plot for the novella started, and immediately, the novella became less interesting. First, there is the subject matter of the novella, which sounded like it might be intriguing, but really, was just a constant reminder that a lot of men suck and as a result, a lot of girls get really hurt. I could go into further detail about some of the specific problems associated with the multiple molestation issues dredged up in this short work, but that would involve a lot of spoilers, so I will just point out that there is a lot of molestation in this book.
Ultimately, Locke’s book starts off strong, which in essence creates a promise which, unfortunately, Locke fails to deliver. Locke’s writing starts off so strong, and there are brief moments of ridiculous, sheer insanity that show glimpses of what Locke’s work could be… of what, to be frank, I want it to be. Perhaps some of Locke’s other work is more coherent, delivers a consistent level of quality and sensibility. Or perhaps Locke’s future work possesses these qualities, and this work is a stepping stone onto bigger and better things. I definitely wouldn’t write Locke off completely because of this book, I just don’t know that I would recommend it.
Have you read this novella, or had a similar experience with your reading? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!