Promise Not to Tell
Promise Not to Tell is book two in the Cutler, Sutter & Salinas detective agency series. The story of a man and woman united by a unique childhood, it’s a mystery which highlights the stuff of which modern day nightmares are made.
For Seattle gallery owner Virginia Troy there is a before and after. Before was the dark time which included nights locked in a barn; those were the years her mother spent as a thrall to cult master Quinton Zane. The after has been her life since the fire Zane set to his own compound, a fire which killed almost all the adults, including Virginia’s mother. That event left Virginia with vivid nightmares, regular anxiety attacks and a present in which she is completely devoted to her work.
For private investigator Cabot Sutter, there has been no real after. The years since his own mother died in the fire were all training for one thing: to find the escaped arsonist/murderer Quinton Zane and bring him to justice. He has never let go of the past, whereas Virginia has never really revisited it. All that changes in one explosive night, when Virginia’s last link to the cult mails her a camera with a clue and then dies under mysterious circumstances. When Virginia hires Cabot to find out the details surrounding the death, she gets much more than she ever bargained for, including a chance at a once in a lifetime kind of love.
AAR staffers Maggie Boyd and Shannon Dyer both read this latest offering from Ms. Krentz and are here to share their thoughts on the novel.
Maggie: I don’t know how long I’ve been a fan of Ms. Krentz but I think it safe to say it has been well over a decade. How long have you been reading her work?
Shannon: I discovered Ms. Krentz’s work in the late nineties. I have fond memories of reading her books with my best friend. Both of us were wild about romances, and hers were some of our favorites.
Maggie: She’s one of those authors who had definitely stood the test of time. The characters in this novel felt very familiar, but while they seem similar to other Krentz heroes and heroines, the genius is in the details. Cabot, like most Krentz heroes is a taciturn genius lacking in social skills but capable of great love, loyalty and kindness. Virginia, like most Krentz heroines, is clever, creative and capable of seeing the value of the silent, sexy man who just came into her life. What makes them unique is their uncommon family situations and the way their shared history has affected their personalities. I liked that they were each other’s anchor in the storm during nightmare induced insomnia. I liked that they had to work a bit to make the sex great. I liked that they had a shared sense of subtle, sarcastic humor. And each of them had that perfect mix of intelligent maturity that I love in romantic suspense protagonists. I found myself really enjoying the time I spent with both of them. What did you think of them?
Shannon: I was particularly impressed with Cabot’s character. He is all of the things you said above, but so much more besides. I loved that he listened to his own intuition and respected the intuitions of others. He and Virginia made a great couple, complementing each other’s strengths and weaknesses. They support each other through both the good and the bad times, and that was a real pleasure to see. Cabot is not the typical alpha male hero, determined to be right at all costs. He treats Virginia as his equal. As far as Virginia is concerned, I liked her, but she didn’t stand out from the rest of Ms. Krentz’s heroines. She’s smart and creative, and she is more scarred than some of the others, but I still feel she kind of blends in with countless other heroines I’ve seen in previous novels.
Maggie: I think Cabot’s alpha nature reflects how wonderfully Ms. Krentz writes alphas. I really don’t remember any of her heroes being more ass than alpha, which happens to so many alpha male heroes in romance. I thought the mystery was handled well here. I didn’t guess all the key players till near the end of the story and found myself thoroughly engrossed in trying to figure out just what the heck was happening. What did you think of the mystery?
Shannon: I agree. Ms. Krentz can definitely write a good, suspenseful mystery. I didn’t guess who was behind all the wrongdoing until Virginia and Cabot figured it out. I read a lot of mysteries, and I’m often frustrated with how much I figure out before the characters in the story do. It was refreshing not to have that experience with Promise Not to Tell.
Maggie: Too true! It can ruin a book for me when I figure the whole thing out at the beginning while the characters ignore the obvious clues. My favorite secondary character wound up being the nephew who turned up at the end of the tale. It would be easy to think of him as a deus ex machina but I didn’t feel he was there to solve a problem with the plot (I think they would have resolved everything without him) but to show another side to Cabot’s character. Regardless, I enjoyed him and the twist he represented. Who was your favorite secondary character?
Shannon: I loved the nephew too. I enjoyed watching Cabot figure out how to bond with him. Even so, my favorite secondary character has to be Cabot’s foster father. I loved him in the previous installment in this series, and we got to see so much more of him here. I love his devotion to his sons and their happiness.
Maggie: Yeah, the foster dad is great. He was definitely a bright spot in the story for me. Overall, I would rate this book a solid B. It didn’t blow my mind and once you started to think too deeply about the plot there were some definite holes in it but I thoroughly enjoyed it and am eager to read the next book in the series. What about you?
Shannon: The book also gets a B from me. There were a few things that bugged me about the way the mystery was solved, but I still enjoyed the story overall. I loved the chapter at the end that gives us a glimpse of things to come. I definitely want to read the next book when it comes out.