What She Knew: A Novel by Gilly Macmillan

What She Knew: A Novel

byGilly Macmillan

Kobo ebook | December 1, 2015

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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...

Details & Specs

Title:What She Knew: A NovelFormat:Kobo ebookPublished:December 1, 2015Publisher:HarperCollinsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0062413872

ISBN - 13:9780062413871

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Customer Reviews of What She Knew: A Novel


Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good Read! When you think you have it figured out it all changes again!! Keeps you guessing
Date published: 2017-09-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An all time favorite! The writer is brilliant with keeping you guessing. Very hard ending to figure out. This novel hits heartstrings! recommend it to any new mom! Makes
Date published: 2017-09-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Outstanding debut thriller! Highly recommended! Despite my hearing wonderful things about this novel, for one reason or another it has sat on my TBR for far longer than I would have liked. Now, finally, I’ve had a chance to read it – only to find that all the praise it received was very well deserved. WOW! What an outstanding debut! Rachel Jenner, recently divorced from pediatrician husband John Finch, is still smarting from her marriage break-up. She is now the single Mum to her eight-year-old son, Ben. Ben is the much loved centre of her life. Since her divorce she and Ben live in a small house in Bristol. One Sunday in October, Rachel, Ben, and their spaniel go for their usual walk in a woodland park. Ben is, as usual, full of childish energy and wants to run ahead to reach a swing. Rachel allows him this small bit of independence. A decision she will come to regret deeply – for when Rachel reaches the swing, Ben is nowhere to be found. Panicked and increasingly desperate, Rachel looks for Ben, eventually enlisting the help of strangers and then the police. “I frightened people because I was someone to whom the worst was happening, and they turned on me like a pack of dogs.” The policeman in charge of the case to find Ben is Detective Inspector James Clemo. We know he is ardent in his search for Ben because we meet him through his interaction with a psychologist after the case’s resolution. We know that the case has left him emotionally unstable. He no longer feels in control of his career or of his personal life. He suffers from debilitating insomnia and panic attacks. His meetings with Dr. Francesca Manelli were a condition set forth in order for him to maintain his police career in CID. Rachel is distraught. She has lost her anchor and finds her life meaningless without Ben – her intelligent and sensitive little boy. She sleeps in his bed at night, breathing in his scent via his sheets and stuffed toys. The writing is magnificent making Rachel’s loss palpable. To further worsen her plight, she is vilified in the press and on social media. A blog is published with the sole purpose of blaming her for her dereliction of duty as a mother by letting him run ahead unattended. Journalists are parked outside her house, hounding her as she leaves and enters. Under extreme duress she behaves badly at a press conference, adding fuel to the fire that seems to want to consume her… The police are looking into everyone in her life – and Ben’s life. All her family, friends, and acquaintances. All Ben’s friends and the staff of his school. No one is free from their purview and Rachel is aware that even the police see her as a suspect. During the course of the investigation, family secrets are revealed that forever change Rachel’s life and her view of what she has ever known to be true is now under question. “Trust is like that. Once you lose it, you begin to adjust your attitudes toward people, you put up guards, and filter the information you want them to know.” Not only did I immensely enjoy the story of “What she knew“, I also very much relished the many beautiful sentences scattered throughout the narrative. “Dawn crept in in fits and starts, the pall of total darkness reluctant to retreat.” This book is a cautionary tale of what happens when we judge another person and find them wanting. Of what can happen if our trust is misplaced. It reinforces the motto “Carpe Diem” and reminds us to cherish the little things in life. DI Jim Clemo was very likable, but I found him to have almost too much empathy to be a policeman. I wanted him to suffer less. “What she knew” takes place over a nine day period. The anguish Rachel Jenner suffers during this brief period is intense. As a reader, you find yourself flipping the pages manically in order to find out how her plight will unfold and if Ben will be found… Highly recommended to all who enjoy a well written police procedural/psychological thriller. “What she knew” is the first novel in the police procedural mystery series featuring Detective Jim Clemo of the Bristol Police. The second novel in the series is “Odd Child Out“ which is a new addition to my TBR.
Date published: 2017-07-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Must Read! This book was so thrilling and interesting that I could not put it down. I read it so quickly - but then regretted it because I wanted the experience to last longer!
Date published: 2017-07-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Couldn't Put it Down Rachel and her son Ben are taking their weekly stroll in the park through the woods when Ben asks if he can run ahead, Rachel agrees and this decision haunts her until the end of the novel as Ben goes missing. The police determine he is kidnapped. Told in the perspectives of Rachel and Detective Inspector (DI) James 'Jim' Clemo as they both experience the events unfolding to determine how to handle the situation. Rachel is vilified by the media, immediately labelled a 'bad mother'. Jim on the other hand is unable to process the events of the case, especially his own errors. Secrets are revealed throughout the book to each of the characters that makes Rachel and Jim question who they can trust as their thoughts on the people close to them dramatically shift. Gilly's account of the case - which is fictional - is excellent including her use of adjectives. Her descriptions are vivid to the woods, the police station to the raw emotions of the characters. Gilly also incorporates social media writing fictional blog posts and comment sections. She has done thorough research for this novel citing information from scholarly articles at the beginning of each chapter. The book opens by asking we are not who we imagine ourselves to be in the others. There are many twists and turns from here.
Date published: 2017-07-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it! Page turner - I could not put it down. If you liked Gone Girl, this is right up your alley. A must read this summer.
Date published: 2017-07-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I loved it Keeps you guessing till the very end. Couldn't put it down!!!!
Date published: 2017-07-03