Regular readers may have noticed that I have cut right back on my consumption of those books that are touted as the next Gone Girl, Girl on the Train etc. despite the fact I was a fan of both, the problem being like death by chocolate, you can overdose on them! That said the memory of how good they can be is still alluring and so in 2016 I have limited my selection, but this is one that got past my well-known restraint! And I’m glad that it did, as here is one twisty domestic based psychological thriller that has all of the best ingredients, and even the title doesn’t have that overused word in it!
So what is it about? Well we first meet Aubrey Hamilton her husband, her childhood sweetheart, has been missing for five years and has just been declared dead. Aubrey however just can’t shake the feeling that he may still be alive, after all who goes missing at a stag do for their best friend the night before the groom’s wedding? It appears that Josh simply vanished from the hotel that the couple were staying at with no sight nor sound of him since. And now a new man has walked into her life and he reminds her so much of Josh. In short Aubrey examines her life before Josh disappeared looking for clues in their happy marriage to see if she can discover what really happened to her beloved husband that night.
The success of these books is to have one foot rooted far enough in reality to keep the reader hooked while allowing the other to roam freely so that coincidences and random occurrences can flow freely unimpeded by reason. J.T. Ellison has the balance absolutely right! I’ve also found it best if you read these types of novels in longish stretches which helps to keep you in the moment, following the twists and turns wherever they may take you.
The part where domestic noir often fails is with the characters; I think the success of the two currently touted books proves that the protagonist doesn’t have to be likeable and flaws are actually welcome but their characters do have to have an element of a real person. Aubrey is actually quite a nice character, her only flaw being that she wasn’t good enough for her future mother-in-law, having been in care following the death of her parents. In this book the award for the nastiest character goes to Josh’s mother, a woman who is going to sue Aubrey for Josh’s life insurance money which can now be paid out on his death.
Lastly a domestic noir books must have the unexpected which is now compulsory, the more outrageous the better – I think J.T. Ellison has earned her stripes here too with more than one bombshell to blow what you think you know to smithereens.
So did I enjoy it? Yes, I did, as pure entertainment and wonder at how an author can come up with such a plot, it had me gripped and intrigued as to how the author was going to resolve it all, the answer was satisfying. Better still I didn’t feel like I couldn’t face another in this genre for a few weeks!!
I’d like to say a huge thank you to the publishers Gallery Books for allowing me to read a copy of No One Knows before publication on 22 March 2016. This review, my honest opinion, is my thanks to them.