4/5 ⭐️ from me! I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this one: equal parts family drama and psychological suspense, this beautiful domestic noir takes us on a tour of what may or may not be the ruins of a marriage and the events leading up to a life changing night for the Connolly’s. Both Caroline and David are written purely and thoroughly with different takes on Zoe, the newly found long lost daughter of David, and her intentions for their family. What this novel lacked in shock and awe it made up for in insight and tension. I plan on picking up more Karen Perry novels soon!
Synposis, via Goodreads:
‘I think you might be my father . . .’<
hen first-year student Zoë Barry walks into Professor David Connolly's office and tentatively says these words, he is left reeling. But it is the lives of his family – particularly his wife Caroline – which are turned upside down by the arrival of this stranger.A daughter, a sister, a friend . . . an enemy?<
hough no one knows quite who Zoë is, she is soon entangled in their lives. Yet her stories don't ring true and Caroline is determined to learn if the girl is the unlucky innocent she claims to be or someone with a far darker agenda.A deadly cuckoo in the nest . . . Because by letting Zoë in, David and Caroline aren’t just leaving themselves vulnerable. They’re risking the most precious thing in the world – the lives of their children . . .
I’m so excited to be a part of the Girl Unknown Blog Tour for Henry Holt books! I know why this book was suggested to me and I can tell you – I don’t care if I have a type if it means books like Girl Unknown find me. I’ve seen this book mentioned as “perfect for fans of Tana French” (oh, that’s me! see my Top 9 of 2017…) and boy, were they right!
I was thoroughly entertained by this dark, character driven suspense novel, but I think I have to set the record straight here and say that you shouldn’t pick this novel up for the thriller its been made out to be. Girl Unknown is much more a psychological drama and study of an imperfect marriage (what marriage isn’t? amiright?) than an action packed thrill ride. But I loved this book for what it was: raw, intense, authentic and all that with the added perk of a did she, didn’t she plot line that’s enough to keep you turning the pages for more.
Girl Unknown features a split narrative, alternating from David’s side of the story (and marriage) and Caroline’s; their contrasting versions of Zoe and a time in their marriage that changed the course of their lives couldn’t be more different. After I had gone through a few chapters that featured this narrator switch I quickly realized that I deeply appreciated how close, deep and different these characters felt, so I hopped on the old google machine to figure out what was behind that – low and behold there was a reason for this… Read on!
Girl Unknown is written by Karen Perry, but Karen Perry is actually 2 people; it is the pen name for authors Paul Perry and Karen Gillece. Legend has it (and by legend I mean this interview I found online) that Paul and Karen were writer friends and had this idea to collaborate and co-write a project. They each take a character and trade off writing chapters, sending them to each other as they finish one up. This completely explains the deep, separate feel we get for both narrators so completely to me and the thought of the authors writing this book by trading off chapters just thrills me so much – like writing improv kinda!
I’m here to say that this plot was intriguing, catchy and that it managed to surprise me a couple of times, but all of that played second fiddle to the character development and family drama in this book. I’d recommend Girl Unknown to anyone who loves a good novel with multiple narrators and family crisis or anyone who can appreciate this book for the psychological suspense novel it is even if there isn’t that much “action”. Pub date is 2/6/18 – pick this one up if that sounds good to you!
More Karen Perry novels:
Thanks to Henry Holt books for this free advance copy of this novel; I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for my review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.