What She Knew by Gilly MacMillan | REVIEW

reviewsWhat She Knew by Gilly MacMillan
Published by William Morrow Paperbacks on December 1st 2015
Genres: Fiction, Mystery, Thriller
Pages: 512
Format: Paperback
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What She KnewIn 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…


3 Stars

First Line:

In the eyes of others, we’re often not who we imagine ourselves to be.


COVER 🌟🌟🌟     PLOT 🌟🌟🌟



What She Knew by Gilly MacMillan is a mystery/thriller about a woman whose son vanishes on a seemingly normal Sunday walk at their local forest trail. What ensues is a day by day take on the life she lives and what she’s going through with her son still missing. With new suspects appearing in every chapter, there was never a dull moment!

My Likes

The Writing

For a debut, What She Knew read like a seasoned novel. The writing was very well done. Never revealing more than necessary, MacMillan knew exactly what she was doing. She was able to bring the characters and the story to life. What the character’s were feeling whether sadness, anger, frustration, we too as readers felt it.

MacMillan was able to cast believable doubt against all the characters we get introduced to. True testament to her writing abilities!

The Formatting

Each chapter of What She Knew was a single day in the life of Rachel our main protagonist after her son disappeared. With each passing day she begins to lose it more and more. The stakes begin to rise and she fears she will never see her son alive again. I just loved that things went in sequence with a mixture of back story that not only is helpful to the overall story, but it never slows it down just to fill word count!

I also liked that as each chapter went by MacMillan did some research into child abductions and explains what usually happens during each day a real child goes missing. It’s a bit tough to explain but I thought it was a great addition that added a bit of reality to the mystery!

The Build-Up of Suspense

A great mystery writer knows when and how to reveal key points of the mystery to reader to not only build excitement, but to build the suspense for the big finale. That is exactly what MacMillan does in What She Knew.

I never felt overloaded with information or felt too ill informed. Each chapter adds a little layer of suspense to the story which I highly enjoyed!

My Dislikes

The Big Reveal

I will say that What She Knew had me guessing for the majority of the story. I kept changing my mind about who would have kidnapped this boy. Was it her husband? His new wife? WAS IT HERSELF? There was just so many possibilities.

But in the end the big baddie gets revealed and I’m left extremely underwhelmed. I really wished it was more of an exciting character to be honest. But oh well. We get what we get.

I highly recommend this one if you like the mystery/thriller genre and like sitting at the edge of seat waiting and guessing. Let me know what you guys thought of What She Knew by Gilly MacMillan! I would love to hear your opinions as well!

Until next time,




Gilly MacMillanGilly Macmillan is the internationally bestselling author of WHAT SHE KNEW (previously published as BURNT PAPER SKY in some territories), THE PERFECT GIRL and ODD CHILD OUT, which will be available October 2017.

Gilly is Edgar Award nominated and an ITW award finalist. Her books have been translated into over 20 languages.



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