2015 Book 366: WHAT SHE KNEW by Gilly Macmillan

What She Knew by Gilly Macmillan
ISBN: 9780062413864 (paperback)
ISBN: 9780062413871 (ebook)
ASIN: B00WR12MEC (Kindle edition)
Publication date: December 1, 2015 
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks


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…  


Rachel Jenner is dealing with every parent’s nightmare, the disappearance and possible abduction of her eight-year-old-son, Ben. As the hours tick by, the police and the public begin to suspect Rachel, her ex-husband, her sister, and more without any real leads. Rachel’s despair mounts in What She Knew by Gilly Macmillan.

Rachel Jenner is a divorced single mother. She has been forced to make a new life for herself and her son Ben since her ex-husband, John Finch, walked out after last Christmas. Rachel didn’t handle the separation and divorce well, but the only shining light in her life has been Ben. She blames herself for allowing Ben to run ahead into the forest towards the swing. She feels guilty, not because she did anything to Ben to cause him harm, but because she didn’t protect him the way a parent should. As the days pass, Rachel is at her wit’s end and only wants her son to be found. The police aren’t really providing any information to her or to John. The online world has eviscerated her as a bad mother and her sense of failure mounts. The detective in charge of the case, DI James Clemo, is very close-mouthed about the investigation and the tension and emotions explode when he confronts Rachel’s sister Nicky with their family’s past. It’s been seven days and it doesn’t seem like the police are any closer to finding Ben then they were hours after he disappeared. Could Nicky have had something to do with Ben’s disappearance? If not, who took Ben and is it possible he’s still alive?

I found What She Knew to be a fast-paced and engaging read, as well as one that was difficult to put down. I enjoyed the alternating narratives of Rachel and DI James “Jim” Clemo, as it made it feel as if I were being presented with both perspectives of a missing child story — the investigative and the family’s sides. Both Rachel and Jim are well-developed and realistic characters with plenty of flaws. There are many facets to a police investigation that the public never gets a chance to see, despite the plethora of television shows about police and their investigations. This story provided some insight into the emotional impact this type of investigation has on police officers. Ms. Macmillan takes the reader on an emotional roller-coaster ride with this story, as there are numerous twists and turns and we think we’re heading in one direction only to be led in another direction. No, this isn’t a police procedural. What She Knew is a taut, psychological thriller that does not disappoint (note: What She Knew was originally published in the United Kingdom as Burnt Paper Sky). No, I’m not going to tell you if Ben is found safely or not…read the book! I thoroughly enjoyed reading What She Knew and look forward to reading more from Ms. Macmillan in the future.

Disclaimer: I received a digital copy of this book for review purposes from the publisher via Edelweiss and Partners In Crime Tours. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Enter the giveaway:

Enter to win 1 of 5 copies of What She Knew by Gilly Macmillan. This giveaway is hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours for Gilly Macmillan & William Morrow Books. The giveaway begins on December 1st, 2015 and runs through January 3rd, 2016. For US residents only.


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Author: thebookdivasreads

I'm a reader, an avid reader, or perhaps a rabid reader (at least according to my family). I enjoy reading from a variety of different genres but particularly enjoy fiction, mystery, suspense, thrillers, ChickLit, romance and classics. I also enjoy reading about numerous non-fiction subjects including aromatherapy, comparative religions, herbalism, naturopathic medicine, and tea.

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