Review: “What She Knew”

IMG_0956“What She Knew,” a new novel by Gilly Macmillan, faces the challenge of kidnapping, family affairs, social media, and tragedy all in one. This novel takes you on a blind path with no sign of what lies ahead.

Many of us wonder before diving into a book, is this worth my time? Let me just say, this novel is totally worth your time.

“What She Knew” is a New-York Times Bestseller and is also recognized as a worldwide bestseller.

“What She Knew” is one of those books where you will find yourself flipping through all your emotions. You will constantly find yourself making deep self reflections, bringing your own thoughts and feelings into the novel.

Macmillan knew just what she was doing when she collided the worlds of divorce, love, loss, kidnap and media into one story. The layout the author chose is beautiful and intriguing.

Macmillan chose to write “What She Knew” from the perspective of the two main characters: Rachel Jenner, the mother of the missing 8-year-old Ben, and Detective Ben Clemo, the head detective on the case. Macmillan writes this book in such a way that the reader feels as if they’re reading each character’s diary, receiving every ounce of the character’s thoughts and feelings. There’s no question the way Macmillan writes this story escalates it; one minute you are suspecting the sister, the husband, the mistress, the teachers, strangers until finally the suspect is uncovered.

Readers are quickly immersed into a whirlwind when Ben is kidnapped in the middle of the forest during Rachel and Ben’s typical Sunday evening walk. The reader then discovers that Rachel’s husband left her and Ben on Christmas morning for another woman.

Meanwhile, Rachel’s sister secretly has an obsession with Ben, even creating a laptop password — Benedict Finch — using Ben’s full name. Ben’s assistant teacher is caught on camera crossing the bridge exactly 15 minutes before Ben is kidnapped.

Finally, Rachel plays Ben’s online computer game to help feel closer to her missing son when the message “user already online” appears.

This was Macmillan’s first novel, and because of the reader she is, Macmillan knew just what direction she wanted to take her first novel as the writer of “What She Knew.”

“I wanted to write a page-turner, because I love to read them so much, and I wanted a scenario that many people could imagine happening to them so that my story would have the potential to resonate with a wide readership,” said Macmillan during an interview with the New York Times.

“I have put aspects of myself into my main character Rachel, for example, I have worked as a photographer, and I am a mother. I also drew on my own experiences to try to imagine the very raw emotions that Rachel goes through after her son disappears,” said Macmillan when asked about Rachel’s character.


At a glance:

“What She Knew”

Written by: Gilly Macmillan

Rating: 5 stars

Plot: The perfect kidnapping thriller

Price: $12.71

Available at Target, Fred Meyer, Amazon and Barnes & Noble.


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