In her enthralling debut, Gilly Macmillan explores a mother's search for her missing son, weaving a taut psychological thriller as gripping and skillful as The Girl on the Train and The Guilty One.
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....
©2015 Gilly Macmillan (P)2015 Oakhill Publishing Ltd
This book was hard to put down. I'm really surprised that it isn't a #1 bestseller. You know from the description that it's about a boy who turns up missing and the media gets overly involved, pointing fingers at the mother and others. There's much more to this book than that. Surprising family secrets come out and just when you think you've solved it, another twist will come into play. You will keep guessing until the end!
If you like mysteries, this will be a great pick for you.
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I enjoyed the story but given the subject matter I was not anticipating the pace to be this slow.
It was not a page-turner, but that does not mean it wasn’t interesting - it was just not rushed. In a way, it reminded me of the pace of “Broadchurch” – suspenseful and interesting yet takes it’s time getting to where it wants to be.
I particularly liked the element of the blog comments which could be considered a form of cyber-bullying. It’s so easy to be cruel and self-righteous when you are anonymous! It demonstrated how destructive a mob mentality can be: Read an article in the paper, don’t bother to think about the other side of the story, take for granted that what you are reading is 100% accurate fact and denounce everyone involved.
Passing cold judgment on people you don’t know with no regard to their feelings or their families… It struck a chord with me.
I loved all the different voices the narrater did for each character, it was natural and believable and made it easy to distinguish between people during dialogue.
The story itself was good, not great, but I did enjoy it. A little slow and slightly repetitive to start, but it did give you a chance to really get to know each character. I liked the different perspectives (Doctor, first person, websites, etc.). I can't say I saw the ending coming, but it wasn't incredibly suspenseful either. I did like the jump back and fourth at the very end, definitely kept me guessing.
Overall I think I would recommend this book.
Excellent psycho thriller from beginning to end, and I changed my mind about "whodunit" more than once. Very well narrated as well. I would definitely recommend this one
A serial listener. I average about 300 books a year 📚 + 👂= 😊
Yes. The reading was brilliant!
Rachael. The mother. She speaks with harsh truth and gut wrenching pain.
They bring the story to life. Both of them are exceptional readers who do the different voices of the characters very well.
All of it. I listened to it all day and most of the night and the next day until it was finished.
As an avid audio book listener, I highly recommend this edge of your seat thriller that is full of suspense and beautiful writing. They should make a movie about it.
Audible Addict since 2012
I really wanted to like this book. I rate the books I read based on how often I find myself daydreaming when listenening or how often I choose to listen to something other than the book. I got to the point where I was dreading getting in the car to listen. I don't know what happened to the kidnapped boy and although part of me wants to know, I can't listen for another minute. I kept waiting for something to happen, waiting for the story to finally capture me. I felt no connection to the characters and the story was just monotone. The narration was also not great. The voice made for the little boy was annoying and the male narration sounded like he had just finished running a marathon and was yelling. I can only assume the ending was good if so many people liked the story. Just not for me I guess.
Bound to be a bestseller. I loved this book. Intriguing story, every evolving plot, wonderful character development. Narrators were perfect. Rarely write reviews but this book is exceptional. You will enjoy it.
As a mother myself, I could feel the agony and understand Rachel's rage. No parent should have to experience this torment. No child should suffer the terror of being stolen from his family, his life and certainly shouldn't be robbed of his childhood. So well written and narrated. I felt like I was right in the story. Thank you.
The fact that we have a little boy who goes missing when he and his mother are out for a walk in a park. He disappears. So who got him and why? Was he kidnapped? Will his dead body show up? Where is he? His divorced parents work with the police to do anything that they can to help the authorities find him. We are presented with a number of secondary characters related to the major, but they do not involve us very much. The main character is the mother, Rachel, who, of course, is beside herself with anxiety and fear and then is put upon by the public for having been a careless mother, who allowed her son to run ahead to the slides. But he was eight. She blames herself and so do the unfeeling outsiders. So, the book is about the mother, and a dedicated detective who is determined to find Ben. And that is about it.
No. I stuck with the book, because I kept thinking more was going to be forthcoming. But, no, it was a story about a rather neurotic mom and how the police seemed not to be able to learn, or find out much. The reader for Rachel, the mom (and other female voices) was insipid sounding. Annoyingly weak, ineffectual, self-hating, Somewhat more effective in portraying the peripheral females.
Dugald read his part so fast, I found it hard to follow. Penelope did better on the roles that were not Rachel. So three words, are adequate, blah, and so-so.
The story ended. And, then more of the story was told in epilogue. I felt like this was a novel written by a psychologist concerned with mothers and their relationships with a child.
All characters seemed to need therapy.
I was intrigued by the possibilities of this book. The abduction at the center of the story is the trigger for an intense and wide ranging set of emotions experienced by all parties involved. It also presents an opportunity for bigger issues to be addressed (sexism, judgment, vilification, misogyny, the impact of viral media, what it means to be a mother, our harshness with one another, and so on). The author does address some of these issues, but it felt rushed and incomplete.
It's a decent story. I was eager to finish and figure out the mystery. The narration was mediocre. The male narrator's voice had a frantic pressured quality that I found irritating. He sounded as if he had just run up a flight of stairs. The female narrator was decent, however, she would often use this soft whispery voice (to convey grief??) and I could barely hear it. I kept having to crank the volume way up. It got really annoying.
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