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Thursday, December 29, 2016

Taut, Terrifying Page Turner Keeps Me Up Way Past My Bedtime

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Rachel Jenner is already unsettled after the recent breakup of her marriage.  The last thing she needs in her fragile state is another traumatic event.  But that's exactly what she gets when she takes her 8-year-old son for a walk.  It's an ordinary outing on an ordinary day.  Until Ben runs ahead of his mom and vanishes in the forest.  As the minutes tick by without the boy's reappearance, Rachel grows concerned, then worried, then panicked.  Where is Ben?  What has happened to her son?

When searchers fail to find the child, an official police investigation is launched.  Clues lead in all kinds of directions, with suspicion falling on strangers as well as everyone with whom Rachel has ever been close.  Even Rachel, herself, is viewed with distrust.  All she wants is to find her son.  But who took him?  And why?  Is Ben even still alive?  Gripped with guilt for allowing Ben to disappear, Rachel will do anything to bring him back.  Detective Inspector Jim Clemo is just as obsessed.  Will their efforts pay off or come to naught?  The clock is ticking and everyone's a suspect ...

Anyone who reads this blog with any regularity knows I love me a good psychological thriller.  And, let me tell you, What She Knew by Gilly Macmillan definitely qualifies.  The story is taut, terrifying (especially for a mother), and twisty.  I fell for every one of the story's red herrings, which made the whole novel a riveting page turner for me.  It wasn't until 1 a.m. that I finally put the book down, having finished it in a day.  Engrossing is a vast understatement of an adjective!  What She Knew offers everything I love in a psychological thriller—a complex plot, relatable characters, and tight prose.  If Macmillan's debut is any indication, she's definitely a writer to watch.  I can't wait to snatch up her newest thriller, The Perfect Girl, which was released in September. Sleep is overrated, anyway. 

(Readalikes:  Reminds me a bit of The Widow by Fiona Barton)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for language (a dozen or so F-bombs plus milder expletives), violence, and disturbing subject matter

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find


  1. Really? I'm reading this one now and struggling. I used to read books like this a lot and I'm just so burned out. I'm interested to see what happens but I hate the detective's point of view and all the police lingo. It's driving me nutso. I just want to read Rachel's point of view. I hope the ending makes it worth it because, dang, this ones a long book!

    1. Really? I was totally engrossed in this one. I read it back in August, so I don't remember all the POV details, but I loved the book overall.

    2. Well, I'll stick with it. For some reason books with police or detective books turn me off.

  2. I liked this one a lot too and also The Widow.

    1. I didn't like THE WIDOW nearly as much as this one, but they do have similar plots.

  3. I really want to read this author! What a great review. I've read a couple of similar missing child/missing mother plots this year, and am reading one right now-- The Missing Hours by Emma Kavanagh. But I enjoy them, so will check my library for this one-- thanks! ☺

    1. THE MISSING HOURS sounds so good, but my library doesn't carry it :( I couldn't find it at Barnes & Noble either. I finally ordered it on Amazon. Thanks for the rec! I can't wait to read it -- unfortunately, it's going to take a few weeks to get here :(


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