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What She Knew
Cover of What She Knew
What She Knew
A Novel
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THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLERIn her enthralling debut, Gilly Macmillan explores a mother's search for her missing son, weaving a taut psychological thriller as gripping and skillful as The Girl on the...
THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLERIn her enthralling debut, Gilly Macmillan explores a mother's search for her missing son, weaving a taut psychological thriller as gripping and skillful as The Girl on the...
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  • THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

    In her enthralling debut, Gilly Macmillan explores a mother's search for her missing son, weaving a taut psychological thriller as gripping and skillful as The Girl on the Train and The Guilty One.

    In a heartbeat, everything changes...

    Rachel Jenner is walking in a Bristol park with her eight-year-old son, Ben, when he asks if he can run ahead. It's an ordinary request on an ordinary Sunday afternoon, and Rachel has no reason to worry—until Ben vanishes.

    Police are called, search parties go out, and Rachel, already insecure after her recent divorce, feels herself coming undone. As hours and then days pass without a sign of Ben, everyone who knew him is called into question, from Rachel's newly married ex-husband to her mother-of-the-year sister. Inevitably, media attention focuses on Rachel too, and the public's attitude toward her begins to shift from sympathy to suspicion.

    As she desperately pieces together the threadbare clues, Rachel realizes that nothing is quite as she imagined it to be, not even her own judgment. And the greatest dangers may lie not in the anonymous strangers of every parent's nightmares, but behind the familiar smiles of those she trusts the most.

    Where is Ben? The clock is ticking...

About the Author-

  • Gilly Macmillan is the Edgar Nominated and New York Times bestselling author of What She Knew. She grew up in Swindon, Wiltshire and lived in Northern California in her late teens. She worked at The Burlington Magazine and the Hayward Gallery before starting a family. Since then she's worked as a part-time lecturer in photography, and now writes full-time. She resides in Bristol, England.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    November 23, 2015
    British author Macmillan alternates between two narrators in her haunting first novel: Rachel Finch, a grieving mother whose eight-year-old son, Ben, disappears from the Leigh Woods in Bristol 10 months after her husband left her for another woman; and Det. Insp. James “Jim” Clemo, who tirelessly searches to find Ben. Rachel can’t forgive herself for letting her son run alone in the forest, and Jim blames himself for not solving the case sooner. In the aftermath of the investigation, Rachel learns
    disturbing things about her past and comes to the painful conclusion that she can trust only a few people in her life. Meanwhile, Jim suffers from severe depression that leads to acute insomnia and panic attacks, causing his department to mandate counseling sessions. The suspense intensifies as suspects are ruled out, and the media relentlessly pursue Rachel for negligent supervision of her son. Readers will have a tough time putting this one down. Agent: Nelle Andrew, Peters, Fraser and Dunlop (U.K.).

  • Kirkus

    The search for a missing boy is seen through the split perspective of his frantic mother and the police detective determined to solve the case, despite its deleterious effect on his psychological health. Newly divorced photographer mum Rachel Jenner thought she was giving her 8-year-old son, Ben Finch, a bit of freedom when she let him run ahead during a walk in a Bristol park. But when Ben vanishes, Rachel immediately blames herself, and the media is quick to paint her as a neglectful parent, too. Macmillan, in her debut, leans a bit hard on the "bad mother" trope, one that's been well-trodden in recent fiction, but she creates a compellingly complex investigator in DI Jim Clemo. The narrative is split not only between Rachel's and Clemo's perspectives, but also Clemo's post-investigation sessions with a department-ordered shrink, indicating that however the Finch investigation turned out, it wasn't pretty. As Rachel waits and frets at home, often in the company of her high-achieving older sister, Nicky, who clearly knows more than she lets on, Clemo and his fellow officers, including his secret girlfriend, DC Emma Zhang, whom he perhaps unwisely recommended as Family Liaison Officer for the case, try to piece together a case from a dearth of physical evidence. The requisite family secrets come to light, though Macmillan gets credit for some truly clever red herrings. While there's little new ground broken, the missing child scenario, when done reasonably well, as it is here, is a reliable hook, and with Macmillan's taut pacing, this is an engaging debut. COPYRIGHT(1) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • New York Times Book Review "Gilly Macmillan introduces some smart variations on the [missing child] theme in her debut mystery...Macmillan enlivens the narrative with emails, newspaper headlines, passages from professional journals, even transcripts from Inspector Clemo's sessions with a psychotherapist. But her best move is to include vicious blog posts that go viral."
  • Saskia Sarginson, author of The Twins "This accomplished, intelligent debut should come with a warning—it's completely addictive. A nail-biting, sleep-depriving, brilliant read."
  • Rosamund Lupton, international bestselling author of Sister "Every parent's nightmare, handled with intelligence and sensitivity, the novel is also deceptively clever. I found myself racing through to find out what happened."
  • Lisa Ballantyne, author of The Guilty One "Tightly focused and fast-paced. You won't rest until you really know what happened."
  • Sunday Mirror "Heart-in-the-mouth excitement from the start of this electrifyingly good debut...an absolute firecracker of a thriller that convinces and captivates from the word go. A must read."
  • Liane Moriarty, New York Times bestselling author "What an amazing, gripping, beautifully written debut. WHAT SHE KNEW kept me up late into the night (and scared the life out of me)."
  • The Daily Mail "One of the brightest debuts I have read this year - a visceral, emotionally charged story....heart-wrenchingly well told and expertly constructed, this deserves to stay on the bestseller list until Christmas"
  • Reader's Digest "A terrific debut"
  • Good Housekeeping "A very clever, tautly plotted page turned from a terrific new writer"
  • Kirkus Reviews "An engaging debut."
  • Publishers Weekly "Readers will have a tough time putting this one down.
  • Birmingham magazine "...a clever, dark, compulsive read... If you liked <em>All the Missing Girls</em> by Megan Miranda, you'll also enjoy this one."
  • Halle Berry "If you like a good nail-biting, scary read...[t]his was a brilliant read!...This story is fast-paced, smart, technologically current, and every parent's nightmare! If you enjoyed the film I did, Kidnap, you'll love this addictive adventure."

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