Bane of Kings writes a short review of Ian Fox’s self-published Promise Me Eternity, a psychological thriller with a medical aspect.
“An enjoyable novel, if a bit flawed.” ~The Founding Fields
Ian Fox is one of the many self-published authors out there, and one of the few of those that I’ve read. The other authors that I’ve read who have had their work self-published would be Dan Johnson, and John Charles Scott, whose work I enjoyed, but both had their flaws – and although Promise Me Eternity is, I believe it’s safe to say, somewhat enjoyable, it still has flaws. However, despite that, I managed to plough through Ian Fox’s novel, and get it read as an e-copy over several bus journeys.
Below is the plot for this novel, taken from the Goodreads page, that If I’m honest, gives away quite a lot of the plot:
Dr. Simon Patterson is a successful and well-respected neurosurgeon at Central Hospital in the town of Medford. Married, though without children, he keeps himself so busy that one day is not much different from another. Until, that is, he saves the life of the powerful mobster Carlo Vucci.
At a dinner in honor of Dr. Patterson, Carlo Vucci introduces him to his alluring wife Christine. Simon is entranced by her beauty.
Three weeks later, Christine shows up at the hospital, complaining of terrible headaches. Dr. Patterson offers to help her, but Christine did not come to see him just because of her headaches. A series of shocking events follow that turn Dr. Patterson’s life into a nightmare. Among other things, he finds himself in court being accused of murder in the first degree …
I haven’t read many psychological thrillers before, especially with a medical edge to it, in fact – I believe that Promise Me Eternity might just be the first one that I’ve read that falls into that category. Sure, I’ve read a fair bit of thrillers before (James Patterson’s Alex Cross series and David Baldacci’s Split Second spring to mind here), but defiantly I haven’t read anything quite like Promise Me Eternity. It’s unpredictable, filled with suspense and contains a good mystery within its pages as well.
Promise Me Eternity however struggles to keep the reader hooked, and there were times that I felt like shoving aside the novel completely, or at the very least, skipping forward a few pages – but it’s worth the read. Although the novel may not look like much, it should be pretty enjoyable.
There were many twists and turns within Promise Me Eternity, and you didn’t quite know what was going to happen next, and Ian Fox isn’t afraid about putting his main characters through hard times, and on top of that – nobody is safe. You get this feeling that somebody is seemingly too important to die, and then, right when you’re least expecting it… they die. The suspense is there, all the way throughout the novel. Anybody could die next, especially with the way that many characters develop, and by the end of the novel, some are very different to what they started out with.
There is a whole host of characters inside the pages of Promise Me Eternity, with Dr. Patterson at the centre of them all. Although they’re not particularly memorable characters, and neither are they particularly likeable, Ian Fox manages to make up for that by the way that they all tie into the plot, and it doesn’t feel like there is a character that is a waste of space.
The pace of Promise Me Eternity is pretty uneven. Some moments it’ll be fast, whilst others will feel like slow, to the point of where you want to skip on a few pages, which is a bit disappointing for me, and I believe that Fox could have created a novel that kept the same pace throughout the entire novel, and he probably should have. Thrillers are meant to be fast and action packed. This one wasn’t, in my opinion at least.
I reckon I probably would have enjoyed Promise Me Eternity more if I had been more into the particular genre of psychological/medical thrillers, so maybe it was not the best book for me. However, I’m glad that I stuck with it, and if Fox improves with his next novel, I’ll be willing to give that a try as well.
More by Ian Fox: Promise Me Eternity, Only the Strong Survive