February 28, 2012

Promise Me Eternity by Ian Fox

In Ian Fox’s “Promise Me Eternity,” Dr. Simon Patterson seems to live a normal life: he enjoys a successful career as a neurosurgeon at Central Hospital, has been married for 15 years, and he spends his free time performing research in his basement. Unfortunately, things are not that simple. Simon’s wife, Helen, is obsessed with spending money they do not have and constantly argues with him about her unhappiness, causing him to retreat even farther into his basement laboratory.

Simon’s world is suddenly turned upside down after he saves the life of a powerful and deadly mob boss, Carlo Vucci. Not realizing this man’s deadly and widespread circle of power, Simon agrees to dinner with Carlo and his wife, Christine. Arriving at their ornate mansion, Simon realizes that Carlo is not just involved in real estate. As he discovers more about his patient, he begins to understand the danger him and his wife have suddenly found themselves in. As events begin to unfold, Simon finds himself encountering jealous colleagues, extramarital affairs, and being accused of first-degree murder.

Not knowing the solution to this mysterious murder drives the reader to keep turning the pages of this enticing novel. As several storylines proceed throughout the novel, Fox keeps the reader guessing and certainly surprises everyone at the end with the answer. Fox successfully transforms a classic whodunit novel and adds sex and complicated plotlines. Everyone seems to have a motive in this novel, except for the confused Dr. Simon Patterson. Poor Simon trusts the wrong people and has a naïve view of the world. This character flaw forces the reader to seek justice for Simon.

The beginning of the novel is dedicated to character development, where the reader grasps an understanding of how mundane Simon’s life really has become. However, Fox adds other characters and their problems to keep the story moving along. Jerry Duncan, a jealous assistant surgeon, Dr. Miner, the plastic surgeon obsessed with getting beat by women, and Christine Vucci, an unhappy mob wife, all add more spice to this mystery novel. Compared to these people, Simon seems ordinary and incapable of murder. But if Simon did not commit the crime, who did? As the reader follows Simon in his quest to clear his name, Fox promises that the ending will be filled with nothing but shock and unbelievable twists.

4.5 stars

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