PROMISE NOT TO TELL Jennifer McMahon HarperCollins Publishers, 2007 ISBN: 978-0-06-114331-1 250 pages Mystery/Ghost Story
Kate Cypher has returned home to d PROMISE NOT TO TELL 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 things—the day she arrives the daughter of an old school mate is killed in the same manner as her best friend was killed three decades earlier. And other strange happenings prey on her mind until Kate begins to wonder about her sanity. The questions she is left with are, “Who is the murderer?” and “Are ghosts real?”
Promise Not to Tell is an easy book to read. The pages flow by as you wait breathlessly for more information about the “Potato Girl.” Written with two time-lines, Jennifer McMahon could easily have lost her readers. But she goes back and forth almost seamlessly, leaving you to wonder at the fact that this is a debut novel.
This book could have been a thriller if the author had been willing to take us a little deeper into the darkness. As it is, however, McMahon has given us a mystery and a ghost story. Not so frightening as a thriller would have been, nor so scary as a horror story, Promise Not To Tell manages to be something uniquely strange. At times, because of the 30 year-old timeline, the book has a juvenile feel, then in the present it becomes ever more an adult ghost story—to the point that the two strands become completely entwined.
Do I like the book? Yes. Do I think it could have been “more?” Again, yes. But here I must confess that it is the intricate storytelling that even makes the book possible. So, should I really expect “more?” Not if I want to be fair to the author. This leaves me struggling with my gut, which says this is a four star book, and my head which proclaims Promise Not To Tell as a five star performance. Let’s go with the pundits and give Jennifer McMahon five stars for one hell of an effort.
Faithful Place By Tana French Hodder & Stoughton, 2010 ISBN: 978-0-340-97761-3 Trade Paperback 434 pages Character Study/Mystery/Crime
The Blurb: “The couFaithful Place By Tana French Hodder & Stoughton, 2010 ISBN: 978-0-340-97761-3 Trade Paperback 434 pages Character Study/Mystery/Crime
The Blurb: “The course of Frank Mackey's life was set by one defining moment when he was nineteen. The moment his girlfriend, Rosie Daly, failed to turn up for their rendezvous in Faithful Place, failed to run away with him to London as they had planned.
Frank never heard from, or of, her again.
Twenty years on, Frank is still in Dublin, working as an undercover cop. He's cut all ties with his dysfunctional family. Until his sister calls to say that Rosie's suitcase has been found…”
The Review: Frank Mackey is what I would call an anti-hero. Having cut all ties with his dysfunctional family, he works hard, drinks hard, has an ex-wife whom he still loves and a child he adores. He tries to be honest but is, on the other hand, ruthless to a fault. And when it appears his first love had been murdered instead of dumping him 20 years earlier, he also throws away the rule book. He takes time off and goes back to his old life.
Nothing has changed. And just when Frank thinks he can't take any more of his crazy family, his brother Kevin is murdered. To make matters worse the murder squad blames his brother for Rosie's murder and decides that Kevin killed himself by taking a header out of a window in the same abandoned house where he had supposedly killed her.
Frank knows the investigators have it wrong and he sets out to find the local he knows has killed his brother. But what he finds threatens to be his undoing. Frank feels the whole world breaking apart and he doesn't know what to do--at first.
It is at this point the novel finally begins to move and take on the feel of a thriller. Prior to Frank's discovery Faithful Place is a rather plodding sort of mystery. Dealing more with relationships and the creation of characters who are real and interesting, Tana French gets too involved with the little world she's building, making the novel more of a character study than a mystery or a crime novel. Faithful Place is definitely not the thriller one would expect from French.
This is a group of stories about man's inhumanity to man. The book is thoughtful yet entertaining. It is unlike other detective stories yet it captureThis is a group of stories about man's inhumanity to man. The book is thoughtful yet entertaining. It is unlike other detective stories yet it captures our attention. The title is a clear nod to Poe. And the writing is superb.
If you want something different to read tonight...something unlike anything you've read before...writing the way it should be, then pick up a copy. You won't be disappointed.
Bare Knuckle MBA is a book that focuses on any every aspect of operating a business from the generation of an idea for a product to the day-to-day managing of affairs. Mr. Bye shows his readers how to do market surveys needed to inform the prospective business owner what products stand a healthy chance of making the business successful. He teaches the business person how to create a business plan/profile of expected expenses and income surrounding the product of choice and how to implement the plan. Techniques for specialization are explained.
Mr. Bye teaches marketing procedures designed to 'position' your business in people's minds so that when the product is mentioned, the consumer immediately thinks of you. Techniques on choosing employees and training them are outlined. Even a person with no business skill can easily adopt this plan to become a success. Mr. Bye's explanations of each section are clear and thorough. Bare Knuckle MBA is actually the plan he teaches as a business consultant. Last, Mr. Bye outlines his own marketing plan by which a reader can see clearly how these techniques work together to make the business a success.
I liked this book because it teaches Mr. Bye's techniques in easy to understand language in a step by step manner that's simple to put into use. I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in developing a business, to those who already have a business and need help in a tough spot, and to those, like me, who have absolutely no business skills at all. If you're an employer, I suggest considering Mr. Bye as a consultant and bringing him in to train yourself and your employees.
Another (mixed) Review:
Bye, Clayton (2008) Bare Knuckle MBA: What You Really Need To Know About Running A Profitable Business Chase Enterprises: Kenora, Ontario, ISBN: 13: 978-0-9739933-9-4 (215 pages) hardcover $120.00
Bare Knucle MBA asks questions to help the reader determine whether (s)he is a good investment risk and promises to lead the reader into a better business position, namely, to an increase in business profits.
In fact, the book purports to distill an MBA. The author says that with the information he shares, the small business person will not have to hire someone with an actual MBA, and can still have a significant increase in profits on a continuing basis.
The book is organized well. Bye sets out to meet his goal through a series of twenty-five short chapters, each with a stated objective, some for the reader, some for the writer, and others for both.
Chapters include examples from the world of business or life in general, most from Bye's new business: to sell his workshop and book. Given that the method Bye teaches should work for any "business"--he includes education in his target group--other examples from his extensive business experience would have improved the mix.
On the other hand, the extensive look into his business plan for his book and workshop combination is instructive. His chapter on selling as relationship is developed well, probably because of his previous experience in sales.
In contrast, the chapter on distribution, which he says, "is crucial to your success," (p.124) warrants only three pages.
A book on business that supports a business workshop does well when it is written with its market firmly in mind. Bare Knuckle MBA's stated purpose is to support the one-day workshop of the same name, and it often seems it would fulfill that purpose. At other times is seems more like an ad for the workshop.
Bye compares his text to those produced by John Wiley and Sons. I would encourage him to consider the physical aspects of Wiley's books. Bye's book feels cramped in comparison because of the heavy dark boxes around much of the text and the absence of white space. Students would appreciate a place to write notes during the workshop. Even the hard cover, usually an indication of value, does not meet industry standards given the price of the book. A workbook format would have been a better choice in my opinion.
I appreciated the section on how to handle problems. The advice was unexpected and seemed to work for life in general as well as in business.
I am a small business owner and therefore part of Bye's target market. I have not taken the workshop this book supports, so I cannot evaluate it in that light. I would never pay the asking price of the book as a stand-alone. Since Bye does not intend to sell the book to many people apart from the workshop, my concerns about its perceived weaknesses may not matter at all.