Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Promise Not to Tell” as Want to Read:
Promise Not to Tell
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Promise Not to Tell

3.62  ·  Rating details ·  13,607 Ratings  ·  1,530 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)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Promise Not to Tell, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
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
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
Dec 27, 2007 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
Aug 28, 2010 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
Mar 20, 2009 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
Dec 31, 2008 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
Dawn Michelle
May 21, 2008 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 27, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Elle ✦ Pretty Little Books ✦
Release Date: April 10, 2007
Genre: Murder Mystery. Hint of paranormal.

I love Jennifer McMahon's novels and whenever she releases them I try and devour them fast because I always know I am going to be taken on a thrilling journey. This particular book is good. I didn't love it as much as I love some of her other novels, but I certainly didn't hate it either. I just felt that it was a lot slower than I would have liked. Normally, a slow pace doesn't bother me so much but the fact that this on
Jan 25, 2015 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
Jul 26, 2007 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
Tatyana Naumova
May 22, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018, wtf
Автор свалил все в кучу и такрй:"Как круто!"
Jun 05, 2007 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 09, 2013 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.
Azita Rassi
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book!! Definitely will read again.
And I did. I kind of forgot the story so it was like reading it again for the first time.
Third time's a charm. Still loving this book...
”One potato, two potato, three potato, four,
She’s coming after you now, better lock your door.”

I don’t think anything will The Night Sister for me. It was such pure, spooky perfection that my expectations for the all the author’s books were (unrealistically), sky high. And I’m sorry to say that this read was a disappointment.

Kate Cypher has returned to her tiny hometown to take care of her ailing mother. While there, she is forced to confront the memories of her childhood; in particular, her
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
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.
Jo Lisa
Dec 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Started September 10th...
Finished September 10th..
For my written review, please check out the link below:
Debra's Book Cafe

Debs :-)
Oct 30, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I hate reading slumps, which is why it took me so long to read this book. But after finishing it, it wasn't the Thriller & Suspense I thought it would be. It didn't have me on the edge of my seat. There were some scary parts but nothing really happened. It was just an ok book for me. I am not give up on Jennifer McNahon as an author, but this book just didn't do it for me, sorry. Also Kate was a nasty "friend" to poor Del. Del was such a sweetheart & Kate was always denying she was even ...more
Clayton Bye
Oct 21, 2014 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
Feb 02, 2011 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
Ceren Ünlü
Jun 06, 2012 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
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
Sep 15, 2012 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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
The Gothic Novel ...: Promise Not to Tell 13 20 Jul 03, 2015 07:15AM  
Potato Girl 6 145 Apr 18, 2012 05:08AM  
  • Vulpi (Thyla, #2)
  • Underground (The Phoenix Files, #4)
  • Remember Me & The Return Part I  (Remember Me, #1-2)
  • House of Bones (Point Horror Unleashed)
  • Sweetie
  • Broken
  • How to Marry a Warlock in 10 Days (10 Days, #2)
  • Taken
  • Eye Contact
  • The Life of a Teenage Body-Snatcher
  • Sold
  • Talking to Strangers
  • Now You're One of Us
  • Fierce September (Juno, #2)
  • Whistling In the Dark
  • Goblin Fruit
  • So Long at the Fair
  • The Forbidden Daughter
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

Mystery & Thrillers Deals

  • The Bricklayer (Steve Vail, #1)
    $5.99 $1.99
  • Among the Wicked (Kate Burkholder #8)
    $7.99 $2.99
  • The Snow Garden
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Breath of Malice
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Everything We Keep (Everything #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Almost Dead (Lizzy Gardner #5)
    $5.99 $1.99
  • Fatal Frost (Dewberry Farm Mysteries, #2)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Remains of Innocence (Joanna Brady, #16)
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Finding Claire Fletcher (Claire Fletcher, #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Outfoxed
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Huntress Moon (The Huntress/FBI Thrillers, #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • What the Dead Know
    $8.74 $2.99
  • Ragdoll (Detective William Fawkes #1)
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Zeroes
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Last Witness (C.J. Townsend Thriller)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Dead Weight (Lizzy Gardner #2)
    $5.99 $1.99
  • Weekend Warriors (Sisterhood)
    $5.99 $0.99
  • The Lullaby Girl (Angie Pallorino, #2)
    $5.99 $1.99
  • Eye for an Eye (Dewey Andreas, #4)
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Short Drop (Gibson Vaughn, #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Bridged (Callahan & McLane, #2)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • You Only Live Twice (James Bond, #12)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Thunderball (James Bond, #9)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Casino Royale (James Bond, #1)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • For Your Eyes Only (James Bond, #8)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Live and Let Die (James Bond, #2)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Dr. No
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Moonraker (James Bond, #3)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Diamonds are Forever (James Bond)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • The Spy Who Loved Me (James Bond, #10)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • From Russia With Love (James Bond, #5)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • The Blinds
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Little Boy Lost
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Blonde Faith
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Flush
    $6.99 $1.99
  • A Deadly Business
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Private Justice (Newpointe 911, #1)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • The Cutting Room (C.J. Townsend Thriller Book 3)
    $5.99 $1.99
  • First to Kill (Nathan McBride, #1)
    $5.49 $1.99
  • In the Barren Ground
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Blood Moon (The Huntress/FBI Thrillers, #2)
    $5.99 $1.99
  • Lie In Wait (Canaan Crime #1)
    $2.99 $0.99
  • The Legacy
    $10.99 $1.99
  • A Fierce Radiance
    $9.74 $1.99
  • Her Final Breath (Tracy Crosswhite, #2)
    $5.99 $1.99
  • The Taxidermist's Daughter
    $7.74 $1.99
  • Depraved Heart (Kay Scarpetta, #23)
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Standing in Another Man's Grave (Inspector Rebus, #18)
    $9.99 $2.99
  • One Moment
    $9.99 $1.99
  • In the Clearing (Tracy Crosswhite, #3)
    $5.99 $1.99
  • Cop Hater (87th Precinct, #1)
    $4.49 $1.99
  • The Jekyll Revelation
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Truth Be Told (Rogue Justice #2)
    $2.99 $0.99
  • The Book of Beloved
    $4.99 $1.99
  • A Merciful Death (Mercy Kilpatrick #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Afterlife
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Vines
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Obsessed (Lizzy Gardner #4)
    $5.99 $1.99
  • River's Edge (Cape Refuge Series, #3)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Known (Bone Secrets, #5)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • A Pedigree To Die For (A Melanie Travis Mystery Book 1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Vanished (Callahan & McLane #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • In a Cottage In a Wood
    $3.99 $0.99
  • All the Beautiful Lies
    $13.00 $3.99
  • The Perfect Mother
    $13.00 $3.99
  • Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Hidden (Bone Secrets, #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Kane and Abel (Kane and Abel, #1)
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Bone Music (Burning Girl, #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • In the Blue Hour
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Cold Moon (The Huntress/FBI Thrillers, #3)
    $6.49 $1.99
  • Stirred (Jacqueline "Jack" Daniels #8)
    $5.99 $1.99
  • Raven Black (Shetland Island, #1)
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Trapped Girl (Tracy Crosswhite, #4)
    $5.99 $1.99
  • The Neon Lawyer (Brigham Theodore, #1)
    $4.49 $1.99
  • Coyote Waits (Navajo Mysteries, #10)
    $6.99 $1.99
  • The Sinister Pig (Navajo Mysteries, #16)
    $9.74 $1.99
  • Claiming Felicity (Ace Security, #4)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Snowblind (Dark Iceland #1)
    $7.09 $2.99
  • All the Beautiful Brides (Graveyard Falls, #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Bitter Medicine (V.I. Warshawski, #4)
    $8.49 $1.99
  • A Merciful Truth (Mercy Kilpatrick, #2)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Cape Refuge Collection: Cape Refuge, Southern Storm, River's Edge, Breaker's Reef (Cape Refuge Series)
    $7.99 $1.99
“the dead can blame” 8 likes
“Call me a skeptic, but I’ve always thought that it takes more than organic vegetables and talking circles to make an ideal society. Raven” 1 likes
More quotes…