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Promise Not to Tell

3.62  ·  Rating Details  ·  10,870 Ratings  ·  1,311 Reviews
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. ...more
ebook, 256 pages
Published April 22nd 2008 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published April 10th 2007)
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Saara Raappana
There are two things I hate about how the Internet suggests things that I'd like based on what I've already purchased/read/watched: 1) It reminds me, by suggesting crappy stuff over and over again, that I'm a sucker for crap and 2) I'm almost powerless against suggestion, so, inevitably, I purchase/read/watch what it suggests, and the cycle of crap continues.

Okay, I admit that I sort of love that, actually. I am blessed to live in a time and place where I have access to a practially endless men
Apr 11, 2015 Melissa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ladies-writin
This could have been a nicely written, kind of creepy ghost story, but everytime someone referenced 'the Potato Girl' in some menacing way, it made me laugh. There's nothing scary about potatoes or their ghostly girls, I'm sorry. The story has more plot holes than fishnet stockings (thanks Emily!!); ***SPOILER!!!*** (view spoiler) ...more
Jan 17, 2008 Sharon rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: someone who'd read any ghosty thriller that crossed their path
Meh. This story didn't quite hit the right note for a thriller, a ghost story, or a psychological drama for me. It started out with a thriller beginning, and then failed to follow up on it. Then there was a large chunk that was about growing up poor with an undesirable best friend, and also about moving home to care for your Alzheimer's-suffering mother. I didn't think it really hit home with either of those--I could never figure out why the main character was drawn to Del or Nick or any of the ...more
Sep 04, 2010 Candy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't mind gore. An author can describe in detail how they rip open someone's belly and dissect their large intestine and I'm just fine. You tell me a ghost story though... I'm out. I made the mistake of reading this silly book while my big, bad, keeps-the-mean-ghosts-away husband was out with friends. I had to stop reading it and lay there with my eyes wide open, not blinking, stiff and terrified waiting for him to get home. I, of course, fell asleep, thankfully - but ended up having a dream ...more
Dawn Michelle
Sep 09, 2008 Dawn Michelle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Dawn Michelle by: Kelly Maister
WOW!! I just blew through this book! My friend is buying the next two, so hopefully before I leave Florida I will be able to read those as well.

This is an odd story~told in both present time AND flashbacks. It does at times get tricky keeping up with what time period you are in.
Told by Kate, this is the story of a friendship that is unexpected and what happens when you deny that friendship and hurt the one true friend you have for being part of the popular crowd. And its the story of forgivene
Dec 31, 2008 Krissy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've read two of Jennifer McMahon's books so far, this one and Island of Lost Girls, and they were both so awesome. Out of those two, Promise Not to Tell was my favorite. This author makes it so easy for me to start reading and not stop until I'm finished it, and it's rare for me to find books that I like so much. I actually passed the book along to my mother, who is currently reading it. I definitely hope that Jennifer continues to write more, since she is so talented, and I will continue to te ...more
Jan 05, 2008 Irishcoda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 26, 2007 Tressa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Although I’m not a big fan of mysteries, I am a die-hard horror fan, and when I saw the book Promise Not To Tell by first time novelist Jennifer McMahon come across my desk, I had to read it. Part murder mystery, part ghost story, it tells the story of two similar murders that take place thirty years apart in small town Vermont.

Kate Cypher is a Seattle school nurse returning to her hometown to check into nursing homes for her mother, who suffers from Alzheimer’s. On the night of her arrival, a y
Mar 20, 2009 Jennie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spooky-things
Decent writing, interesting premise, some memorable characters. But there's a fine line between writing an ending that makes you say, "OMG that was so surprising! I would never have guessed that X was the perpetrator of such a horrible crime, but looking back I can see that it makes perfect sense! Oh, you clever author, you!" and an ending that makes you say, "OMG that was so surprising, I would never guessed that X was the perpetrator of such a horrible crime, because looking back I can see tha ...more
Jun 08, 2007 Mimo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who like story & character, mystery & ghost story fans
Shelves: adult-fiction, own-it
Promise Not to Tell is an excellent page-turner with strong character development. The story goes back and forth between spring of 1971 and the fall of 2002. In the present day, main character Kate Cypher has returned home to Vermont to care for her mother, who has Alzheimer's. The night that she arrives a preteen girl is murdered in the woods. The murder is eerily similar to the 1971 murder of Del Griswold, an outcast that Kate befriended who was called "potato girl" by teasing classmates and l ...more
Jan 13, 2013 Sharon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This book gets a 5 star rating from me.I got given this book & i have to say it's not normally the kind of book i would pick up & read it's more my friends style but i'm so glad it did read it. Full of mystery & who i thought was the culprit really wasn't.Towards the end maybe i shouldn't have read it before i went to sleep as i found myself hearing things that were'nt there.
Ashton Gibbs ♥ BB&B
Promise Not to Tell – Jennifer McMahon

I was a very lucky girl and won this book in a giveaway, so of course I’m going to try my best to write an honest and hopefully helpful review for it. It was my first ever giveaway book to arrive, so I was super excited to get started.

Promise Not to Tell follows the story of Kate Cypher, who has just returned home to look after her ill mother when a young girl is murdered... in exactly the same way her best friend, Del, was 30 years earlier. What seems to
Janie Johnson
This was a decent book for the Author's debut novel. And it got better the further I went into it. I think the characters were pretty strong. Again this story takes place in a small town setting. I find that I like that the best, makes the story a bit more exciting to know that your neighbor could be a psycho killer.

This is a great tale of both deceit and the bonds of friendship, learning to trust, growing up, and moving on. Kate, one of our main characters was forced to choose between trust and
Sarah Rosenberger
When middle-aged Kate returns to her hometown to find a care facility for her dementia-stricken mother, she learns that sometimes the past won't stay buried.

When Kate was a child, her best friend Del - a poor girl who was bullied and called the Potato Girl - was the victim of a brutal, unsolved murder. The night Kate returns home, a local teen is killed in the same way, and one of the witnesses swears that she saw the Potato Girl near the body. Who murdered the girls? Does the ghost of the Pota
Jan 26, 2015 Sheri rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This is the first book in quite some time that I finished and discovered that I had not put in a single note on my kindle.

Alas, I just don't have a lot to say about it. I have heard good things about McMahon's newest book (and in fact, have it checked out to read) and I remember seeing this on my public library's "too good to miss" shelf last summer. And so I grabbed it.

It is a decent story, moves rather quickly and is compelling enough. And that's about it. Nothing profound and nothing very spe
Clayton Bye
Oct 21, 2014 Clayton Bye rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Jennifer McMahon
HarperCollins Publishers, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-06-114331-1
250 pages
Mystery/Ghost Story

Kate Cypher has returned home to deal with her dementia stricken mother. As a nurse Kate knows the answer to all of her mom’s problems is an assisted living home, but as a daughter she feels a lot of guilt. After all, she has been gone for a long time, leaving her mother in the care of friends. She wants to do the right thing, but Kate keeps getting side tracked by some awful thing
Sep 01, 2014 Mindy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Creepy, haunting and heart-wrenching. This one will stay with me for awhile. I thank my RL best friend for finding this one. She hadn't read a book in so long and this was a good one to bring her back. I would definitely recommend this quick and creepy read.
Mauoijenn ~ *Mouthy Jenn* ~
Whooooa! Creepy one here.
This one had me thinking it could have been 3 different people at one time.
There was just a lot of good story twists and this was a good afternoon read.
I'm a big fan of Jennifer McMahon, but for some reason I had never gotten the chance to read her debut. I'm glad I finally read it--it's definitely has the very best of her style in it.

The story is one which is common in McMahon's books: a current-day murder shares eerie similarities with one in the past, and the narration swaps from each time period to tell the separate stories. Clearly, both murders are linked, and the reader is left guessing as to what the common thread may be.

I really love M
Feb 02, 2011 Christie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourite-books
Jennifer McMahon’s novel Promise Not To Tell is a gem of a story which, as promised on its cover, once I started reading, I couldn’t put down.

"Part ghost story, part whodunit, and part coming-of-age tale…[it] takes you through the twisted world of adolescent friendship, betrayal and murder," says author, Pam Lewis. Yeah, I know these little endorsements are meant to entice readers- but Lewis is telling the absolute truth.

Kate Cypher returns to rural Vermont to care for her mother- who is showing
Sep 16, 2012 Nina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own-digital
The thing I love about Jennifer McMahon's books is that they scare the crap out of me. LOL. I'm not really a person who likes scary things. I skip the scary and gruesome movies, avoid horror books and generally stay away from anything that is going to keep me up at night. I like Jennifer's books because they scare me just enough that I'm freaked out a bit, but not so much that I can't fall asleep.

This is the second book of this author's I've read. I really enjoy her writing and I'll probably pic
Ceren Ünlü
Jun 06, 2012 Ceren Ünlü rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
[Jennifer Mcmahon]
Söylemeyeceğine Söz Ver kitabı göz yaşları ile okundu, bitti. Kitabın başlarında yazarın dili biraz tuhaf gelmişti, farklı fakat akıcı bir dili var. Okudukça alışıyorsun ve elinden bırakmak istemiyorsun.
Söylemeyeceğine Söz Ver ilginç bir kitaptı. Değişiti... Güzeldi... Hüzünlüydü...

Aslında bu roman bir hayalet hikayesi. Yada Çöl Gülü ile Patates Kız'ın dostluğunun hikayesi...
Kate 10 yaşındayken en yakın arkadaşı Del öldürülüyor. Hiçbir zaman kimin yaptığının bulunamamasının yan
Renee Bowlay
there were hints of Gillian Flynn here, a year after Sharp Objects was released, so I am uncertain if there was any influence. at times, the writing seemed like that of a first time novelist's, as it was. given that, I'm curious to see if/how her other books read. even with some of it's faults, I have to say that the character which the story centers around has been on my mind since finishing. the haunting continues...
Jul 02, 2014 Martha☀ rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook, own
Yet another story about crime scene manipulation which leads to an unsolved murder case. Sheesh! This theme has been way too prevalent in my reading lately!
Katy returns to her childhood home after 30 years away. Coincidentally, a young girl is murdered that night in the exact same manner that Katy's childhood friend was all those years ago. The ensuing piecing together of facts is supposed to send chills down your spine as the childhood friend's spirit takes over Katy's aging mother's demented
Mar 08, 2016 Allison rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was such a great book, it really had me on the edge of my seat. It was mysterious most parts of it but, overall it was an amazing book. Rated 4.5 stars.
Mar 14, 2016 Justin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
McMahon's debut novel follows the story of Kate who returns to her hometown to care for her ailing mother at the same time of a girl's murder similar to the Potato Girl, Del. The story alternates between the present and the past, exploring Kate's childhood and her secret friendship wiht the outcast Del. McMahon creates some emotional and heartfelt moments as well as ones depicitng the ugliness of school kids' behavior. Anyway, the mystery element includes a bit of ambiguous ghost elements blurri ...more
Mar 30, 2016 Madalina rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
'Promise Not to Tell' is a suspense novel, part thriller, part ghost story, with some drama aspects sprinkled on the top.

The book follows Kate Cypher in two narrative timelines. In the past timeline she is a 10 year old outcast, mainly due to her family of hippies and her being new in town, in New Canaan, Vermont. Despite trying to stay away from her, Kate becomes best friends with Delores, the school 'freak', constantly picked on and nicknamed 'The Potato Girl'.
In the present timeline she is a
Jan 12, 2016 Amanda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Promise Not to Tell, a helluva story. Brilliantly written; wonderful story telling. I was disappointed by the ending... I demand a rewrite of the last 10 pages!!!!
This story had a lot of twists and turns - certainly some surprises. Del was by far my favorite character of the story - so strong willed, I admired her. So mistreated that I pitied her and loathed anyone who came to harm her; which seemed to be everyone, even those who were closest to her.
This is all I can say without giving the plo
Feb 01, 2016 Kim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A nice mix of ghost story, mystery and family drama, this book follows the story of Kate, a school nurse who returns to her hometown to care for her aging mother. But when a young girl is murdered in the woods nearby, she is immediately brought back to the eerily-similar childhood murder of 10-year-old Del. This brings back Kate's own guilt of what happened to her secret best friend as a kid. And the book continues to work through the clues of how the two murders are connected. In the process, e ...more
Oct 14, 2015 Leah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Promise Not to Tell was McMahon's debut?!!

Once again McMahon nailed atmosphere and characters. She really gets adolescence, best friends, first loves, the turmoil of being an outcast, the burden of secrets. That intuition manifests a story filled with people not characters. And the seeming ease with which she elicits setting: a character I felt I knew immediately without an official introduction. All topped off with a mystery that refused to let me put it aside for too long.

A true storyteller. I
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The Gothic Novel ...: Promise Not to Tell 14 15 Jul 03, 2015 07:15AM  
Potato Girl 6 138 Apr 18, 2012 05:08AM  
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I'm the author of seven suspense novels, including Promise Not to Telll, The Winter People, and most recently, The Night Sister . I live in central Vermont with my partner and daughter, in an old Victorian that some neighbors call The Addams Family house.
More about Jennifer McMahon...

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