Peter Swanson’s Every Vow You Break (Morrow $28) has a great premise and has gotten nice reviews (NY Times). But it may be the worst book I’ve ever reviewed. A great writer can take a well-worn premise or an old story like A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley (based on King Lear) and make it riveting. A fabulous cover can make you pick up a book. But ponderous writing could have killed Hamlet.

Every Vow begins with Abigail at an expensive bachelorette party thrown by her fiancé. After her buddies have gone to bed, she chats with a guy at the bar, who seems to have a lot in common with her, and it’s clear she’s going to sleep with him. After all future hubby is a continent away, she’s half-drunk, and not entirely sure future hubby is really the one.

All seems harmless until the one-night-stand guy shows up on her honeymoon. With that intro a page-turner could have been born. Instead, most of the book consists of long-running, worried, introspection in Abigail’s POV. About halfway through I was ready to toss it aside. I didn’t solely because I kept thinking something has got to happen.

Swanson follows Chekhov’s maxim about showing the gun that you know pages and pages in advance how our little Abby is going to escape the bad guys. Although there’s a bit of a twist in the end, upon reflection it’s not very twisty.

Save your money and time.

Steve E Clark as seen in the New York Times is Author of  Justice Is for the Lonely  and  Justice Is for the Deserving,  Kristen Kerry Novels Of Suspense. Steve is a 2017 NY Big Book Award winner and a 2018 Independent Book Awards recepient. You can purchase his books via or request it at your local book store.  Want to know more about Steve Clark, read more reviews or speak directly with Steve?  Learn more about Steve at