A Promise of Water


Fiction - Mystery - Murder
326 Pages
Reviewed on 02/14/2018
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Author Biography


I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. And I’ve always loved reading. I remember reading fairy tales, the stories of handsome princes and beautiful princesses and happy endings. I enjoy poetry and writers who can create images and emotions with words. After working for newspapers, freelancing for magazines, and writing true confessions, I moved to Texas and worked for the senate for 23 years. I am concerned about clean drinking water for the planet and I admire the Texas Rangers, which led to A Promise of Water. The next book will also feature Oswald Nightingale.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Melinda Hills for Readers' Favorite

Murder, politics, small town secrets and a state-wide water shortage draw former Texas Ranger Oswald Nightingale back into action on the orders of the Governor in A Promise of Water by Sharon Scarborough. Sent to accompany the lawyer responsible for getting a reluctant property owner to sign over some acreage for a water project, Oswald quickly discovers there is more going on than he could have ever guessed. With the lawyer ending up dead and answers not very forthcoming, Nightingale walks a tightrope between the pressures from the government and his long-time friend, Roy McGowan, and the people and officials in the small East Texas town who resent his presence there, and not just because of the water deal.

With his background in the Rangers and his love for justice, Nightingale just can’t walk away when a boy is assumed to be guilty of murder because he is part Mexican. Although he has been told to stay out of the investigation and concentrate on getting the water deal signed, Nightingale just can’t take himself off the case. With the help of another former Ranger, clues are uncovered and the truth is revealed – but is it something Nightingale can live with?

A Promise of Water by Sharon Scarborough is a Texas-sized mystery with plenty of action to please any reader. In a story full of questions, twists and turns, the characters fulfill their roles and make you wonder over and over, ‘Whodunit?’ Fantastic descriptions of the location, comparisons between Nightingale’s West Texas hometown and the East Texas town he has to go to, and the human weaknesses and strengths of the characters make this an engaging read while the plot draws you in deeper and deeper to see what will happen. Well done and quite enjoyable. Great depth of characters. Nightingale is a terrific character and with Garrick, the combination is dynamic. An excellent story that leaves you hoping Scarborough will write more!

Paul F. Johnson

In A Promise of Water by Sharon Scarborough, Oswald Nightingale was a Texas Ranger and by all accounts one of the best until he got fed up and quit. Nightingale receives a summons to the office of the new governor where she makes him an offer; accompany a lawyer to East Texas and convince a landowner to sell her property to the state for construction of a reservoir. If he is successful, the governor will make sure his community of Broken Rock in West Texas has a reliable source of water.

Things start to go wrong from the start when the government lawyer dies under suspicious circumstances. To secure the much needed water for his home, Nightingale decides to finish the job, but then the landowner is murdered and a young teenager becomes the prime suspect. Nightingale reverts back to his old Ranger days to find the murderer and solve the case, and even being attacked and severely beaten won’t stop him. In the end, he realizes that he really didn’t know some people after all.

A Promise of Water is a well designed and developed story of dishonesty, intrigue, and murder. The plotting is done in a manner that keeps the reader wanting to turn the pages to see what happens next. Nightingale is likable if somewhat flawed, but when he rescues an abandoned puppy, his true character shines through. I did, however, have mixed feelings about Garrick, his old Ranger friend. The dialogue between the characters was well done. I really enjoy a good mystery story without the use of excessive violence, sex or strong language. If you prefer good, simple mysteries, then this book is for you.

Christian Sia

A great success for a debut novel, A Promise of Water by Sharon Scarborough is a character-driven Western that follows the life and the scuffles of a small town in Texas, a beautiful meld of a gritty investigation and political conflict. Meet ex-Texas Ranger, Oswald Nightingale, now back in his drought-riddled homeland of Broken Rock. He receives an offer from the governor that he can’t refuse: accompany a lawyer to East Texas and convince a landowner to sell her property to the state. That property is ideal for the construction of a reservoir that would bring water to Broken Rock. But things turn bad when the landowner is murdered and a teenager becomes the suspect. Nightingale has to choose between loyalty to the governor and his innate love for justice.

The story opens with a powerful description of the protagonist and a backstory that is so skillfully crafted into it. The reader immediately gets an idea of the man they are dealing with: “He was too tall for the small eighteenth century settee, and it was lumpy—probably still filled with horsehair from some beat-up elderly horse a hundred years ago.” And this kind of writing fills every page of this engaging story. The author’s deft handling of conflict, the cunning plot, and the genius in weaving elements of suspense and humor into the story contribute to enrich the overall reading experience. I loved the setting and the vivid images the author creates in the reader’s mind — a time of drought and hardship, which quickly becomes a desperate time for the inhabitants of West Texas. Sharon Scarborough’s A Promise of Water is a beautifully told story, fast-paced and engrossing.