Book Review: What She Knew by Gilly Macmillan

What She Knew
by Gilly Macmillan

Imagine that you are taking an afternoon stroll with your 8 year-old son and his dog in the woods. This is a place you have come to frequently. It has always been a nice walk ending with the swing that is at the end of the trail. Your son loves this swing. He asks if he can run ahead to the swing. It’s not that far ahead, and so you let him go with his dog scampering after. He and the dog take off. When you get to the swing your son is nowhere to be found. Where could he be? Is he playing hide and seek? You quickly realize that this is no game. He is truly missing. How could he just be gone? It’s only been a couple of minutes at the most.

What would you do? Is it your fault he disappeared? Why did you let him go ahead of you? Are you a bad mother now? What do you tell your ex-husband? What do you tell the police? Imagine there is a blog in the ether sphere that is about your son and the people who log on call you a bad mother, and then write that they believe you killed your son out of spite over the recent divorce. The police think you are guilty as well.

The themes in this novel focus on the kidnapping of Benedict Finch from the woods, and whether the mother is at fault. She appears to become crazier as the days go by, and she is judged by that as well. She blows a TV interview when she goes off the script the police provided and threatens the kidnapper. The sooner a child is found the better the outcome, but day after day goes agonizingly by, worsening Benedict’s chances of being found alive. Day after day mom becomes more and more unglued.

The novel is told in 3 different voices, mom’s, Rachel, Investigator Clemo, and Clemo’s psychiatrist. There are also some pages of the fictitious blog included in the book. There is a leak in the police department. Many secrets turn up with the potential to lead to the perpetrator and the boy or to confuse the police.

This book was definitely a page-turner. I did have a little trouble believing that the media could have such an influence on Rachel’s image. But, if I think about it, look what impact the media has on the current political scene. So, I see where negative items posted on the internet could do some damage.

This is the author’s debut novel, and she has started out with a bang. No sex scenes and only a very few cuss words. That in itself is refreshing! I am giving this book 5 out of 5 stars. It was hard to put down, but I guess sleep is important, too.

Happy Reading!

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