Promises to Keep: A Short Story by Elizabeth Haynes
|Promises to Keep: A Short Story by Elizabeth Haynes|
|Category: Short Stories|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: A short story which is well up to Haynes usual high standards but be aware that the story is not as long as you might expect.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 41||Date: February 2014|
I'm a big fan of Elizabeth Haynes: I was blown away by Into The Darkest Corner and since then I followed her with enthusiasm, so when I was pointed in the direction of Promises to Keep and told that for the time being it was free I couldn't believe my luck. I promised myself that it would be my treat.
Jo is haunted by the death of a teenage asylum seeker whilst in police custody and she only hangs on to her fragile sanity by running. Whilst she's out in the woods (where she'd been warned that she really shouldn't go) she discovered a young boy living rough and she knew that she had to do everything in her power to keep him safe. There were complications. Her partner was DS Sam Hollands who had a direct involvement with asylum seekers - and the boy living rough in the woods was the younger brother of the dead teenager. Sam wanted to get her relationship with Jo back onto an even keel, but one night she returned from work to find a stranger in her house.
Short stories are difficult: there's only a limited amount of time to create a story and develop the characters. Elizabeth Haynes does this remarkably well and she's brilliant at creating atmosphere: I was stunned by the sheer menace which came off the page whilst Sam was running in the woods. I knew enough about the main characters to empathise with them - but I was completely under the spell of that eleven-year-old boy who came into the country hidden behind the wind deflector on the top of a lorry.
There's an old saying about mouths and gift horses, but I'll confess to a feeling of disappointment at the end of this story - although not at the ending. As I read my Kindle told me what percentage of the 'book' I'd read and I was delighted: there looked to be a novella here rather than a short story. Then 65% of the way through - the story finished and the balance was an excerpt from one of Haynes' full-length novels. I know you can't be short-changed when you haven't paid for the story but it felt like being given a big box of chocolates only to find that there isn't a bottom layer. Please don't be put off reading the story - it's very good and it's enlightening - just adjust your expectations about how long your pleasure is going to last.
For another crime short story you might like to try Cherringham - Murder on Thames: A Cozy Crime Series by Matthew Costello and Neil Richards, but whilst it might be longer it doesn't have the same quality as Promises to Keep.
You can read more book reviews or buy Promises to Keep: A Short Story by Elizabeth Haynes at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Promises to Keep: A Short Story by Elizabeth Haynes at Amazon.com.
Like to comment on this review?
Just send us an email and we'll put the best up on the site.