Audio Review: What She Knew by Gilly Macmillan

Posted July 18, 2016 by Jonetta in Book Review | | 6 Comments

Audio Review: What She Knew by Gilly MacmillanWhat She Knew by Gilly Macmillan
Narrator: Dugald Bruce-Lockhart, Penelope Rawlings
Published by HarperAudio on December 1, 2015
Genres: Mystery
Format: Audiobook
Length: 11 hours, 53 minutes
Source: Library

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...


Icon Library Bookicon mysteryicon AUDIOBOOK

Rachel Jenner lets her son run ahead of her in the park and in that brief moment he disappears. What happens next is a disturbing portrait of how theses cases are handled by law enforcement, the media and the public using social media outlets with the family caught in the middle.

It soon became obvious to me that this story was less about a mystery and more about the psychological examination of those involved in child disappearances, from family and friends to the police charged with finding the child on through those on the perimeter (media, citizenry and those just interested). It wasn’t pretty but unfortunately rang true to life.

The outcome wasn’t as predictable as I thought it might be and I was left with a sense of uneasiness and discomfort. Kudos to the author for a thought provoking exploration of our social system on so many levels. The speed in which the mother is vilified in this story was heartbreaking, primarily because we get her point of view. We can thank our bad experiences with other high profile cases for the current public cynicism and rush to judgment, when outrage should have been properly directed to the mothers but we bought their innocence.

The audio performance was outstanding with two narrators used to present the points of view of Rachel and the lead investigator. They set the tone for the story perfectly. This isn’t a whodunit or a suspenseful mystery so be prepared to just observe and reflect. I found it a very interesting story.


Listen to a clip!

About Gilly Macmillan

Gilly Macmillan grew up in Swindon, Wiltshire and also lived in Northern California in her late teens. She studied History of Art at Bristol University and then at the Courtauld Institute of Art in London.

She worked at The Burlington Magazine and the Hayward Gallery before starting a family, and since then has done some lecturing in ‘A’ Level photography.

Gilly lives in Bristol, UK with her husband and three children and now writes full time. She’s currently working on her third novel.

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I LOVE reading and am just crazy about so many series and writers. I’m open to exploring new authors and genres and appreciate those who not only write well but can deliciously craft a character and a tale. Your suggestions for new authors and titles are very much welcomed.

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6 responses to “Audio Review: What She Knew by Gilly Macmillan

  1. I would’ve been sitting on the edge of my seat while listening to this. I probably would’ve been in tears and having fits of anger while listening. Gosh, I’m almost scared to place this only TBR. Great review.

  2. Sounds like a very interesting story. I would’ve guessed it would be a mystery about who took the child. I love that the author took it in a different direction. We are all quick to place blame on the parents when something happens to a child (myself included, for sure). I think it would be interesting to see this from all the POVs involved. I saw similar aspects in Before the Fall, which is about a guy who survives a plane crash with a boy who becomes a multi-billionaire after both of his parents and his sister die. The way the media can spin things and how little things are taken out of context. Great review.

    • Thanks, Melanie! The mystery is still there…it’s just secondary to all the other stuff that goes in motion. It was fascinating.