Published by Harper Audio, William Morrow Paperbacks on December 1, 2015
Genres: Psychological Thriller
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.
#MissingChild #DebutNovel #PsychologicalThriller @GillyMacmillan @DBrucelockhart @PenelopeRawlins
When I sat down to write the review for What She Knew, author Gilly Macmillan’s debut novel, my first observation was that this book has something in common with the book I reviewed last week. Both authors, rather bravely, explore the effect the press can have on an investigation. Just as Scott Burroughs in Before the Fall rapidly descends from the status of hero to a person of interest in the plane crash he survives, Rachel Jenner, a grieving mother whose child vanishes after she briefly lets him out of her sight on a trip to the park, plummets from being an object of sympathy to an unfit mother when she is vilified by the press. What She Knew is a psychological thriller written from the POV’s of both Rachel and Detective Inspector Jim Clemo, the chief investigator of the crime. As time passes and Rachel’s son isn’t quickly found, both of them are tried and convicted in the court of public opinion and in the press. I was almost positive who the abductor would turn out to be, but I think Gilly Macmillan gives readers and listeners a chilling run for their money as she peels back the layers of the abductor’s life before the identity is revealed.
Narrators Penelope Rawlins and Dugald Bruce-Lockhart, who happen to be married to each other, give excellent performances in the roles of Rachel Jenner and Jim Clemo. The characters require the narrators to use a variety of accents and ages for men, women, and children and these two handle the task well. The narration is clear and the accents are never hard to understand.
What She Knew is another book I highly recommend. It is suspenseful and psychologically exhausting, so not something you want to choose if you’re into light reading. If you are a parent, it will definitely make you stick a little closer to your children for awhile.