Reader's Comments
What She Knew By Gilly Macmillan

What She Knew

by Gilly Macmillan

PBR Book Review:

In quick order, Gilly Macmillan presents a compelling scenario and shortly after the reader will start to feel like reading throughout the night. The story revolves around a missing child and is told from the perspective of the lead detective heading up the investigation, Jim and the distraught mother of the missing child, Rachael. Parent, or not, the angst of the situation hits you hard and fast; this is a taunt pshchological thriller that is well paced, well written and suspenseful. Both of these main characters are flawed making them all the easier to relate to. But, the added bonus for me was the writing style and delivery; this is not your standard mystery, you can feel the fear and trepidation in Rachael as the search continues and Jimís remorsefulness hangs like a waterlogged cloud just before the storm. Mysteries are generally not for book clubs; but this book is the exception to the rule- the mystery is above average fantastic, but the excellent character development throws it over the top. Itís great for both the mystery lover and book clubs. And to think, this is a debut novel. Bravo Gilly Macmillan!

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*Author Website:

*Other Books by Same Author: The Perfect Girl, Burnt Paper Sky.

*Discussion Questions

1. How does the novel's title, What She Knew, relate to the narrative? What is it's significance to the work?

2. What do you think of Rachel? What kind of mother is she? How does she evolve throughout the course of the novel? And what about Rachel's sister, Nicky, who seems to know more than she lets on?

3. Talk about DI Jim Clemo. In what way does his voice serve as a counterpoint to Rachel's? His involvement in the case is professional, but how does it affect him? Also talk about DC Emma Zhang, whom Clemo recommends, perhaps unwisely, as Family Liaison Officer.

4. What role does social media play in the novel? Do you think the online reaction is realistic?

5. Almost every reviewer refers to the book as a page-turner. Did you experience it that way? What creates the book's intensity?

6. Macmillan told Huffington Post that she wrote three different endings to the book: one too pat and easy, the second too dark, and the third, "a more truthful conclusion than the other two." What do you think of the ending? Is it satisfying? Want to take a stab at what the other two might have been like (Macmillan has not said, by the way)?

Questions by LitLovers. LitLovers

Book Summary

512 pages - William Morrow Paperbacks - December 1, 2015 - ISBN-10: 0062413864

New York Times bestseller
Nominated for an Edgar Award in Best Paperback Original category, 2016
International Thriller Writers Thriller Award finalist in Best First Novel category, 2016
Indie Next Pick for December 2015
Target Book Club Pick for December 2015
LibraryReads List Pick for January 2016

Rachel Jenner is walking in a Bristol park with her eight-year-old son, Ben, when he asks if he can run ahead. Itís an ordinary request on an ordinary Sunday afternoon, and Rachel has no reason to worryóuntil 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 Rachelís newly married ex-husband to her mother-of-the-year sister. Inevitably, media attention focuses on Rachel too, and the publicís 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 parentís nightmares, but behind the familiar smiles of those she trusts the most.

Where is Ben? The clock is tickingÖ
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