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And She Was

(Brenna Spector #1)

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  2,529 ratings  ·  366 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
ebook, 384 pages
Published February 21st 2012 by Harper Collins US
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Average rating 3.74  · 
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 Li'l Owl
Wow! Alison Gaylin is brilliant!
This is the first book in the Brenna Spector series and I'm so glad I already have the next two, Into the Dark and Stay With Me in my library. Hyperthymestic Syndrome is an exceedingly rare condition in which a person has the ability to recall any date and remember everything about that day. Not just the contents of the memory but the memory including all five senses, as well. Now take this real life, very rare condition and apply it to a private investigator who looks for mis
Feb 27, 2012 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.
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
A little too much back and forth in the timeline...
Apr 02, 2012 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.
Cheryl Karkoff
Apr 06, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
After 50 pages just didn't interest me.
Max Everhart
Mar 18, 2014 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
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.
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
Trisha W.
Apr 16, 2012 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 dis
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 ma
Lynn Spencer
Nov 07, 2014 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
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
Janie Johnson
Aug 22, 2013 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 rea
Jun 21, 2012 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
Jul 05, 2012 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
Sep 13, 2013 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 Young
Sep 30, 2015 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!
Feb 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, suspense
I flew through this really thoughtful, entertaining book. The whodunit part of the mystery ended in a way I didn’t expect, but it felt a bit forced and anticlimactic. Some of the “bad guys” were fantastic, and the ride to get to the end was so great that I could overlook the disappointing twist. The psychological aspect, Brenna’s disorder, is fascinating and makes the story so unusual, but also really contributes to what is happening. There were some lovely and thought-provoking lines and fascin ...more
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
Martha Lestenkof malavansky
Photographic memory

I believe back in the day it used to be called photographic memory. With that said this is one of the better suspense books I have read in a long while. Let's be glad that painful memories are short and tend to fog with time and happier days are recalled as blessings.
Jul 01, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5000-books-2019
So so book and overall story. Too much going back for memories that didn't seem to add much to the story. Not worth the time I spent reading it.
Jan 25, 2012 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.

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 beg
Feb 10, 2012 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 numb
Nov 16, 2015 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.
Apr 29, 2012 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
Nov 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The first book in Gaylin's new series, featuring a private investigator who has a rare neurological condition that prevents her from ever forgetting anything - a blessing and a curse - is one of the most enjoyable mysteries I've read in a long while! Clear some time to read "As She Was" from start to finish because you won't be able to put it down!
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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

Other books in the series

Brenna Spector (3 books)
  • Into the Dark (Brenna Spector, #2)
  • Stay With Me (Brenna Spector #3)
“Beware of men who can string words together like pearls.” 3 likes
“That's an interesting phrase, isn't it? Open up. Like you rip yourself open and let others see your insides.” 2 likes
More quotes…