Broken Promises by Donna M. Zadunajsky
Publication date: June 25, 2012
Publisher: Little T's Corner
Two years after their marriage, Jim Culback wasn't the man Clare thought he was. How many more broken promises could she accept? After packing up and moving everything they owned from Ohio to Naples, Florida, she actually thought things would get better in their marriage, but as time went by she couldn't take the beatings, the lies, and the cheating any longer. Leaving him, she came across a notebook stuffed under the sofa cushion. Could her husband be capable of doing what he wrote? Is Jim responsible for the murders of two women? A detective from Chicago is put on the case to solve the murders and has an encounter with Clare. What develops between them? Can Clare trust another man? Or does Jim have other plans for Clare?
Claire and Jim Culback appear to be a typical young couple. They have one child, own a home and are head-over-heels in debt due to Jim’s drinking and extravagances. The solution for them is filing for bankruptcy, leaving Ohio and starting all over again in Florida. But Claire quickly learns that you can't always leave your problems behind and Jim's drinking, violence, suicide threats and infidelities quickly cause their marriage to disintegrate. Claire starts a new business, leaves Jim and relocates to a smaller condo. Life isn't great but it is going fairly well until Claire finds a notebook with ominous details about a murder. Is it possible that Jim is more violent that she could have ever imagined?
Broken Promises had all the makings for a great story, but it never came together in the end. Claire and Jim meet a neighbor and after one meeting they are now best friends. Jim, her husband, becomes jealous of the attention Claire receives from Jim, the neighbor. Jim, the husband, has several affairs and even comes home one morning to say he wants a divorce, but as soon as he finds out that Claire is looking for a divorce attorney he changes his mind and wants to stay together. Claire doesn't trust Jim, the neighbor, in one chapter and then is not only attracted to him but dating him in later chapters. Claire is devastated to leave her best friend, Angel, in Ohio but only has one phone call with her in the time she's in Florida. A woman she has only a passing acquaintance with from Ohio moves to Florida and is now her best friend.
For most of the story Claire vacillates between staying with and leaving her husband. She loves him but can't tolerate his drinking and violence and refuses to do anything to resolve the situation. Later she apparently dates a guy that becomes a stalker and she has no problem with getting a restraining order against him (something she never did against her husband no matter how violent he became against her). It's hard to believe that Claire and Jim are in their early thirties as they both seem more juvenile in their behavior and thinking. I didn't find the characters very believable or very well-developed. I also had difficulties believing some of the story-lines presented, such as a police officer from Chicago Illinois is asked to review the cases in Naples, Florida. Not only does he review the case but he quickly takes over the investigation and it doesn't appear that anyone associated with the Naples police department has a problem with his behavior. Broken Promises isn't a "bad" read but just one that didn't work for me.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for free via NetGalley. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."