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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...
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful.
In all fairness, the author does state this book is for a listener to take in all of the thoughts and feelings of the main narrator, but it was a slow read with and anticlimactic ending. It's a decent book, but I wouldn't call it a thriller, or even much of a mystery.
147 of 161 people found the following review helpful.
The plot of What She Knew is simple on its face. Young Ben Finch suddenly disappears while on a walk through a familiar park with his recently divorced mother, Rachel Jenner, and the family dog. What follows is the harrowing tale of the search for Ben, told directly to the reader by Rachel, and to a police department psychologist by lead detective, Jim Clemo.
As the clock ticks, many people in law enforcement and in Ben's family are forced to reveal secrets. Rachel is accused of being a bad mother, which she now begins to believe. After all, if she had kept Ben at her side rather than giving him a taste of freedom, this would not have occurred. She is forced to deal with her ex-husband's new wife, realizing that she has been unfair.
When her sister drops a bombshell, Rachel feels that she can trust nobody. When Jim Clemo's girlfriend devastates him with her secret, he is shattered. Ultimately everyone surrounding Ben becomes suspect, and trust issues abound.
This is a realistic page-turner. I felt as though I were in the middle of a law enforcement investigation, complete with blog and Facebook posts, and I gained even more sympathy for a family to which this crime has happened. I look forward to Gilly Macmillan's next book.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful.
By Yi-Ching Hsieh
Truly terrible. I just finished it and my overwhelming feeling is that I just wasted my time. The writing is okay. I generally like the alternating person POVs and this was probably the best part of the book. The general story is also basically interesting. The book gives you an insight into the police procedure work that goes into a case of child abduction. However, the writing is long winded and the author is unable to drive the plot forward with any conviction. I felt the book could have shaven off a third of its pages. I skimmed through significant parts of it waiting for the payoff. Unfortunately (no spoilers here), the payoff is completely not believable. The ending left me feeling ripped off.
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