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And She Was (Brenna Spector #1)

3.75  ·  Rating Details ·  2,096 Ratings  ·  329 Reviews
On a summer afternoon in 1998, six-year-old Iris Neff walked away from a barbecue in her small suburban town . . . and vanished.

Missing persons investigator Brenna Spector has a rare neurological disorder that enables her to recall every detail of every day of her life. A blessing and a curse, it began in childhood, when her older sister stepped into a strange car never to
ebook, 384 pages
Published February 21st 2012 by Harper Collins US
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Mar 17, 2012 Rick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My first read by this author and definitely not the last. Absolutely riveting! Gaylin knows how to ratchet up the suspense. Using as her main character a woman who has the ability to remember everything photographically was fascinating and a real stroke of characterization brilliance. It makes this thriller, interesting enough on its own, stand out in a truly unique way. Solid mystery/thriller and highly recommended.
A little too much back and forth in the timeline...
James Thane
Brenna Spector was inspired to become an investigator who searches for missing persons largely because her own sister disappeared mysteriously years earlier and was never seen again. Divorced, Brenna shares custody of her young daughter and must juggle her professional and parental responsibilities.

The thing that sets her most apart, though, is that she suffers from Hyperthymestic Syndrome, a very rare disease whose victims have perfect autobiographical memory. Brenna can recall in perfect deta
Cheryl Karkoff
Apr 06, 2012 Cheryl Karkoff rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
After 50 pages just didn't interest me.
Brenna Spector has an unusual neurological syndrome which makes her remember everything. One of the interesting things about this book, is we get to see a bit of how this works in her internal dialogue. A disappearing child in the past and woman in the present make a complex investigation for her and Detective Morasco who is working with her.

Her disorder makes it challenging for her in her work and personal life but also makes for an interesting story.
Apr 12, 2012 Kelly rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I don't know if it's fair to rate this book because I didn't finish it. I was halfway through the book when I just couldn't read any more. The main character, Brenna, is so dull and boring. The story was dragging on and on without anything exciting happening.
Max Everhart
Mar 18, 2014 Max Everhart rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I’ve been looking for a new series to obsess over, and well, the search is over. And She Was by Alison Gaylin stars Brenna Spector, a forty-something private detective who specializes in missing person cases. And here’s the intriguing bit about the protagonist: she is stricken (if that’s the right word) with Hyperthemesia. (It means she has an incredibly detailed autobiographical memory…yeah, I had to look it up, too.) Spector recalls, with breathtakingly stunning clarity, practically every sing ...more
Joop Liefaard
Apr 02, 2014 Joop Liefaard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
Brenna Spector lijdt aan de uiterst zeldzame neurologische aandoening hyperthymesia. Hierdoor kan zij zich tot in detail alles wat zich in haar leven heeft afgespeeld, herinneren. De aandoening ontstond als gevolg van een trauma dat optrad toen haar oudere zusje Clea op een dag bij een vreemde in de auto stapte en verdween. Brenna is nu prive-detective en gespecialiseerd in het opsporen van vermiste personen waarbij de aandoening waaraan zij lijdt van grote waarde is.

De zesjarige Iris Neff verdw
Q. Kelly
“And She Was” by Alison Gaylin is billed as a novel of suspense (on its cover, anyway), but it doesn’t quite fit that billing. Nevertheless, it’s a satisfactory enough read. Gaylin can write. That’s never in doubt. She turns many phrases beautifully but sometimes to the point where the language detracts from the story.

A little background: the story is basically about PI Brenna Spector investigating a years-old disappearance of a child named Iris and a modern-day disappearance that may be connect
Trisha W.
Apr 17, 2012 Trisha W. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was my first book by this author and for sure not my last. I have read a lot of books in my life and this one for sure has to be in my top 5! It was so unusual but exciting and entertaining all at the same time.

In the beginning of the book you meet, Carol Wentz. The first 9 pages totally took me for a loop. I had no clue what was really going on. Carol was impersonating, Lydia who's daughter, Iris disappeared long ago in a chat room for missing persons. And then people start disappearing. I
Lynn Spencer
Nov 23, 2014 Lynn Spencer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
3.5 stars Gaylin starts with an interesting premise, and gives readers a heroine that I found to be the strongest part of the book. So, if you read for good heroines, you might want to add this to your list.

Brenna Spector has a rare neurological disorder that causes her to remember every detail of every day of her life. This isn't as helpful as it sounds; Brenna has equal memories of the cornflakes she ate one day for breakfast 15 years ago jockeying for equal importance with her memories of an
AUTHOR Gaylin, Alison
TITLE: And She Was
DATE READ: 02/08/2016
GENRE/PUB DATE/PUBLISHER/# OF PGS Suspense/ 2012 / Harper / 355 pgs
SERIES/STAND-ALONE: #1 Brenna Spector
CHARACTERS Brenna Spector /Private Investigator for Missing Persons
FIRST LINES Are you ready, Brenna? Dr. Lieberman says.
COMMENTS: Loved it! Brenna Spector is a missing persons investigator, she has a rare neurological disorder -- hyperthymestic syndrome. This autobiographical memory allows her to rec
Janie Johnson
Oct 04, 2013 Janie Johnson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013-challenge
Alison Gaylin is a new author for me, and I love discovering new Authors. This one was a bit iffy for me. It started off with a bang and was very captivating then somewhere just around pg. 50 or so it seemed to slow way down. I am not sure if that was the book itself or the fact that I was reading multiple books at the time and did not find as much time for this one. Once I picked it back up and started again it really took off and was one heck of a ride.

I don't think I have ever read this much
Jun 22, 2012 Helen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I bought this book after a review on knowing nothing else about it except 'a child goes missing, 11 years later a woman goes missing and they find Brenna's phone number in her wallet'. That's all. I was told by Waterstones that the book wasn't available in the UK but a friend found it on Amazon for me. I'm glad she did.

It's a 'normal' crime/thriller, nothing amazing about it except Brenna's memory which adds a very nice twist and the fact that I'm only 3/4 of the way through (I only star
Jul 05, 2012 Lauren rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This novel was good not great. I started reading this book almost three weeks ago and I read about 150 pages before I put it down for a couple weeks. It wasn't a real gripping read at that point and I only recently tried to get through it again. The second half of the book is really good! I read it in about two days. There were enough twists and turns to keep it interesting and to keep me turning those pages, and the mystery isn't solved until the very end. However, there were a few plots points ...more
I couldn't decide for a lot of the book whether I liked it or not. The constant flipping back and forth from past to present I definitely didn't like. Many books can pull this off, I don't feel this one did. Sure, there were dates provided of when some of the events took place, but I don't have the same gift or affliction as the subject in the book.
The storyline I liked. Two missing girls years apart. Are they connected? Some of the events I found a little improbable and I think the author coul
Samantha Cheney
Oct 12, 2013 Samantha Cheney rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the first book I've read by Alison Gaylin, and it definitely won't be the last! The only reason I gave this book a 4 star rating is because the beginning took like ten chapters before it finally started to spark my curiosity. It's a good thing that once I start a book I have to finish it or I probably wouldn't have finished. Although there was a lot to tell it just got monotonous after a bit, but then the fun really started. I couldn't put this book down! I can't wait to read the next bo ...more
Shannon Seymour
Oct 11, 2015 Shannon Seymour rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. It was a suspenseful, quick paced thriller. I never guessed "who dunnit", which is rare for me. I will continue this series. Thanks Stephanie for the recommendation!
Book-Lover Book Blog
Another incredibly astonishing, mind gripping read from this author. I was so addicted to this book that I found it hard to put down... to say my house is a tip would be an understatement.

I was overwhelmed with the amount of information provided and also I was astonished to find out about a disorder I've never heard of before. I mean, how amazing would it be to have a perfect memory? Brenna Spector is a woman who remembers everything from her past; from family time to something she's read, to m
Alisha Marie
In the interest of full disclosure, I'm going to say this: I had absolutely no idea that And She Was was the start of a new mystery series. I honestly thought that it was a stand-alone novel. Had I known that it was written as the start of a series, I might have been more lenient towards it as it is only the first of what is (probably) many and therefore, it's going to (probably) get more detail-oriented (and better) as the series goes along. But again, I had no clue, so leniency was not given. ...more
Feb 23, 2012 Shana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Where are all these missing people? Carol Wentz, Iris Neff, Iris's mother, Lydia, and Brenna's sister, Clea? They all are missing from the same town within years of each other. Iris was last seen getting into a possibly blue car, just like the car that Breena's sister Clea had gotten into years before she disappeared.

In this story Breena has been hired to investigate the disappearance of Carol Wentz who was one of the last one's to speak to Iris before she disappeared.

Breena, the main character
Barbara M
The first in a possible series (there is a sequel). This tells the story of Brenna Spector who suffers from the same disorder as Carrie Wells (Poppy Montgomery) in the TV series Unforgettable. The condition is called Hyperthymestic Syndrome and it is real but rare. According to the author's note in the back of the book, it first appeared in medical journals in 2006.

Brenna is a private investigator who searches for missing persons. This is very personal for her since her condition began with the
Aug 20, 2016 Pamela rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, thriller, fiction
And She Was is a good mystery/thriller with an unusual hook that grabs the reader's interest almost immediately. The heroine, private investigator Brenda Spector, has Hyperthymestic Syndrome, a very rare memory disorder. She can remember every single thing about any day once she has experienced it. It comes back completely, including sound and smell as well as sight and emotion. In other words, a totally sensory recall. We learn that it began when her sister disappeared many years ago, an event ...more
Feb 16, 2012 Tricia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
And She Was
By: Alison Gaylin

I absolutely relished And She Was by Alison Gaylin. The story was so engrossing that I didn't want to do much else but read this book.
And She Was is a novel full of mystery and suspense till the very end,
Brenna Spector, a private investigator, has Hyperthymestic Syndrome. It is a very rare disorder that allows for perfect autobiographical memory.
This affords Brenna insight into her cases by allowing for total recall of things like documents, phone numbers people's
Nov 30, 2015 Jodi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.25 Stars Brenna Spector has Hyperthymestic Syndrome, a rare disorder that enables her to remember every detail of every thing that has happened to her. Brenna's sister went missing when she was a child, and this haunts Brenna. She works as a PI, focusing on investigations to find missing persons. In this the first book in a series, Brenna is hired to find a missing wife whose disappearance appears to be connected to a missing child case from years before. At times especially in the beginning t ...more
Carolyn F.
May 02, 2012 Carolyn F. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Carolyn F. by: Karen @ Agatha Christie Group
It took a little while for me to get into this book but when I finally did I was so glad. Brenna is able to recall everything since her sister went missing. She remembers everything she sees, hears, smells, tastes, feels. When another girl is abducted in a blue car, she thinks it might have a connection to her sister. But no, it doesn't and her looking for answers ends her marriage. Ten years later, her name is given to a missing woman who was a peripheral part of the missing little girl, she's ...more
Brenna Spector is a missing persons investigator gifted with a rare psychological disorder (HYPERTHYMESTIC SYNDROME) that gives her the ability to call up any date and remember it in full, with all five senses. Never to forget a voice, a sound, a touch or inner fear is a blessing and a curse. When hired by Nelson Wentz when his wife disappears, Brenna also becomes entrenched in solving the mystery of a little girl's disappearance eleven years before, as well as recalling the details of her own s ...more
Mar 07, 2012 Sue rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
interesting characters. Brennan's assistant is colorful if a little annoying. Interesting plot, different because of her disorder, and it kept me guessing till the end. Author does a good job leading the reader on false trails so that each time you think you figured it out you find out you are wrong. I was a little dissapointed at the end but overall it was a good read.
Michelle Jones
May 21, 2014 Michelle Jones rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
I couldn't put it down. I was kept in complete suspense throughout the book, and immediately had to get the sequel. Brenna Spector is a fascinating protagonist, and I loved how Gaylin portrayed the complexity of her condition. My only complaint is that I found some sections a bit awkward, but overall a great mystery.
Jun 30, 2016 Cindy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I accidentally read the second book in this series first, not realizing it was a series. I really enjoyed the second book and picked up the first in the series pretty much as soon as I finished the second. However, this book drags. I have been trying to read it since May and finally just gave it up. I know I'm not going to pick it back up at this point.
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Alison Gaylin is a journalist who has covered the arts and entertainment for more than fifteen years. Her first novel, HIDE YOUR EYES, debuted in March, 2005 with nearly a quarter of a million copies in print and was nominated for the prestigious Edgar Award for a first novel. The sequel, YOU KILL ME, was published in 2006 to rave reviews. Her first hardcover, TRASHED, out in September 2007, launc ...more
More about Alison Gaylin...

Other Books in the Series

Brenna Spector (3 books)
  • Into the Dark (Brenna Spector, #2)
  • Stay With Me (Brenna Spector, #3)

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“My whole life, my mother was the only person I felt comfortable talking to—even after she got sick.” “Why is that?” “I think,” Sarah said, “that she’s just a good listener.” Brenna looked at her. “Everybody needs that one person, you know? The one person they can talk to.” Brenna” 0 likes
“He told me to tell him all the songs that make me cry. He wanted to know my favorite books, favorite movies, if my heart was ever broken and by whom . . . He said, 'I want to know everything that makes you you.” 0 likes
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