Wednesday, March 16, 2016

No One Knows

No One Knows by J. T. Ellison
Gallery Books: 3/22/16
eBook review copy; 368 pages
hardcover ISBN-13: 9781501118470

No One Knows by J. T. Ellison is a recommended mystery with an unreliable narrator.

Aubrey Hamilton's husband, Josh, disappeared five years ago under mysterious circumstances and has now been officially declared legally dead by the state of Tennessee. Aubrey was the main suspect, but after she was acquitted, the investigation seemed to stall, leaving Aubrey with many questions and no answers about where Josh is and what happened to him. He disappeared the night they were attending friends' bachelor and bachelorette parties at a hotel - leaving few clues and a large amount of blood at their home. They were childhood sweethearts and adored each other, so perhaps that is why Aubrey holds out hope that he is alive and believes she has saw Josh from time to time over the years.

Josh's mother, Daisy, always hated Aubrey. She is the one who pushed the state to declare him legally dead. Then Daisy is planning to fight Aubrey for the 5 million dollar insurance policy payoff. Aubrey says she doesn't want the money; she just wants Josh back.

When Aubrey meets Chase Boden the day Josh is declared dead, something about Chase's walk and mannerisms makes her think of Josh and she falls for him. Aubrey has believed Josh is still alive for years, but perhaps it is time to let go of that hope and start anew. But, when new information comes to light about Josh, Aubrey doesn't know what or who to believe.

Ellison tells the story from multiple points of view and different time periods in the characters' lives, jumping back and forth from the present day to some point in the past. As the novel  progresses, it becomes clear that Aubrey is not a reliable narrator and the truth lies in the clues she provides.

The writing is very good and the character of Aubrey is well developed. All of the flashbacks were, perhaps not necessary and made sections of the novel seem overly long. The story drew me in at the opening, but then I'll have to admit that I had several niggling questions and doubts that kept creeping in about the plot. To be honest, I figured out or suspected the plot twists ahead of time and will admit to some eye rolling over the convenience of some of the details and coincidences.

These doubts were set in place early on for me. Chase's appearance and Aubrey's immediate attachment to him was too convenient and I found it hard to believe that a woman who is pining away for her husband would suddenly jump into bed, drunk or not, with a stranger on the day her beloved missing husband is declared legally dead. Future events make this even less likely. Then there were times I'd be saying to myself, "Wait, didn't she say xyz before and now it's abc." Sure Aubrey's an unreliable narrator, but I still want firm details while you make the context fluid for your unreliable narrator. 

I did read the novel to the end, though, which counts for something. If you just want to read a well written suspense novel and not follow facts or details too closely, this will fit the bill.

Disclosure: My Kindle edition was courtesy of Gallery Books via Netgalley for review purposes.

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