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Burnt Paper Sky (Jim Clemo #1)

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  53,216 Ratings  ·  4,472 Reviews
Rachel Jenner is walking in a Bristol park with her eight-year-old son, Ben, when he asks if he can run ahead. It’s an ordinary request on an ordinary Sunday afternoon, and Rachel has no reason to worry—until Ben vanishes.

Police are called, search parties go out, and Rachel, already insecure after her recent divorce, feels herself coming undone. As hours and then days pass
Paperback, 465 pages
Published August 27th 2015 by Piatkus
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Laura Basaldua What She knew or Burnt Paper Sky neither of them make sense fr the title at all....

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Serve this in a tall glass with a twist or two. It's that good....and I don't give out that many 5-star reviews or take the honor lightly. Just plug me into a non-stop connection to all future Gilly Macmillan books. I'm hooked.

This is the story of a missing child who disappears within moments during a walk in the woods with his mother. The panic weighs heavy from the get-go and Macmillan is relentless in her descriptive abilities. She taps into the devastation of the parents and family with such
This book has two titles Burnt Paper Sky and What She Knew. It has caused some confusion as many (including me) thought it was two different books by the same author.

Anyhow, I don't care if it has 67,562 names, I am just glad I came across it and that I read it. It was a phenomenal read that I read in just a few sittings.

Rachel Jenner and her eight-year-old son, Ben and their dog are taking a walk though Bristol Park. This is something they often do together. Ben asks if he can go ahead a bit
Norma * Traveling Sister
4.5 stars!  What an absolutely thrilling and emotional ride this book took me on!  I am in awe that this was GILLY MACMILLAN's debut novel as I thought this was even better than THE PERFECT GIRL.

WHAT SHE KNEW by GILLY MACMILLAN is a beautiful and cleverly written psychological thriller that takes you on a very emotional and apprehensive tale here of every parent’s worst fear...... their missing child.

GILLY MACMILLAN delivers an impressive and descriptive story that was interesting, believable,
Kaceey - Traveling Sister
Oh my gosh! What an incredible novel. Hard to believe this is a debut for Gilly Macmillan.

Every parent's worst nightmare. A missing child. On a Sunday outing to a park in the woods, eight year old Ben asks to run ahead to the playground. That's all it took. When Rachel, Ben's mother finally gets to the clearing of the playground, he's gone.

The Book focuses on Rachel's pain and struggle to deal with her loss, as well as DI Jim Clemo, who heads up the investigation to find Ben. The toll a missing
Pouting Always
Jan 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rachel lets her son Ben run ahead when they are out for a walk and he disappears. Usually mystery or thrillers aren't very good, even when I try to be more generous about the writing and the characters but wow I really enjoyed this one. The writing was good and the characters were sympathetic. I actually related to the characters and was rooting for Rachel through out the book. I didn't see the ending coming and the way the story is developed it excellent because my excitement kept building up a ...more
Jan 31, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I struggled with this book and perhaps I have read too many novels lately about missing children. I made the mistake of listening to this one on audio and its not that the narrator was bad but the book seemed to drag on forever and as an audio book it just didn't work for me.

I didn't find this novel suspenseful and it lacked any real mystery for me. There was nothing unique about this story and I kept thing something is going to bring this book back from the brink but unfortunately I was left d
J.L.   Sutton
3.5 Stars…
After a bit of a slow start, Gilly McMillan’s What She Knew became an engaging page-turner. Primarily told from the perspective of a mother who searches for her missing son, the novel’s strength, I think, lies in exploring whether our ideas about who we are matches up with reality. This reality isn’t just about the devastation of losing a child, but a new perspective on yourself, friends, family and the world which the spotlight of child abduction cases brings about. I had hoped things
What She Knew by Gilly Macmillian is a 2016 William Morrow Paperbacks publication.

This is one of those harrowing stories in which a child is abducted, as the clock tick tocks along, and each moment that passes makes the situation more hopeless.

In this case, Rachel Jenner’s son, Ben, is abducted while they are out walking their dog. Once the critical missing is reported, Rachel’s life is upended in ways she never could have imagined and the repercussions will haunt her for a long time to come.

Just now and again you come across a book that just 'blows your'e socks off' and this is just the one for me. I have a few new debut authors this year that has surprised me SO much with their talent, its just Unbelievable that this is Gilly Macmillan's FIRST book.

My kindle says it will take around ten hours for me to read it. Well, the time just flew by.

I also need to say, it was fantastic to know all the places in this read as it was based in Bristol where I live.

This is an emotive
Diane S ☔
Aug 14, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Letting her eight her old son Ben run up ahead, Rachel expected to get to the swing and find Ben having a great time. But he wasn't there, in fact he wasn't anywhere. Ben is gone.

From the opening chapter it is apparent that this author is firmly in charge, her writing is so confident, her pacing so perfect. She takes a rather common theme in mysteries, a missing child and turns it on its head. She shows the reader the cost of such tragedies, not just to the parents but to the police officers in
Feb 05, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 29, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Hook - Debut thriller highly recommended by friends.

The Line”I was their target because I was socially unacceptable, and so they did everything they legally could: they publically lanced me with words which were written, examined, and edited, each process carefully honing them in a calculated effort to push people’s button once they were published, to froth up public opinion around them so that my situation could titiallate others, could thrill and bolster the minds of the smug and judgm
Jan 11, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ew
What is it with these novels about abducted children? I have read at least five novels in the last year that somehow feature abducted children or teenagers -- most were thrillers, but not all of them. I swear that I don't seek them out. I just follow the path that leads to me to what might be a good read: a particular author (Chevy Stevens Those Girls) and Joy Fielding's She's Not There), an enthusiastic review by another GR friend (What Was Mine), a chance on a new mystery writer (The Girls She ...more
Iris P

What She Knew

So this intense, angst-driven psychological thriller set in contemporary Bristol, was exactly what I needed. I only read a few of these type of stories every year, but I am glad What She Knew was one of them.

This is a well-written novel, with a pretty believable plot and interesting characters.
Books about child abduction have been written ad-naseaum, but what I think the author gets so right is the intimate perspectives of Rachel, the desperate/guilt-ridden mother and Jim, the dysf
Cathrine ☯️
This is just what I needed for book slump reading. Not too hot or cold, just right. While not a page turner (for me at least), it was engaging and kept me entertained without being demanding.
A little boy has disappeared and from the moment he's gone the story progresses with the alternating perspectives of the mother and the detective assigned to the case. Information about the search for missing children is sandwiched in between chapters as well as how progress can be made or impeded by law
Rachel Jenner lets her son run ahead of her in the park and in that brief moment he disappears. What happens next is a disturbing portrait of how theses cases are handled by law enforcement, the media and the public using social media outlets with the family caught in the middle.

It soon became obvious to me that this story was less about a mystery and more about the psychological examination of those involved in child disappearances, from family and friends to the police charged with finding th
Feb 08, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
Not a page turner but definitely interesting. It kept my attention and had enough tension to make me want to read to the end. The book is told through two main perspectives but the mother's narrative was much more engaging IMHO. Not crazy about the audio but a good mystery thriller debut. 3.5 stars!
Lala BooksandLala
Oct 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: thriller-mystery
Dang this was good.
Rachel Jenner and her son Ben are enjoying a frequent tradition: spending time in the park with their dog, Skittle, when things take a turn. Ben asks to run ahead to the rope swing, and Rachel agrees. That's the last she sees of her son. It's as if Ben has vanished into thin air, and Rachel feels her world cleave into two. The police are called, and the investigation is handed over to DI James Clemo. This is Jim's first major investigation as lead, and he's determined to do it right. Meanwhile R ...more
Feb 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: psycho
This is the second police procedural/psychological drama that I have read just lately that has been set at least partly in Bristol (in this case completely) and all I can think is that there must be something in the air because I really loved them both. This is a heart breaking story, following the disappearance of eight year old Ben Finch and told from the perspectives of his mother Rachel and Jim Clemo, the detective leading the investigation.

It is a story full of raw emotion. As you can expec
Ellen Gail
Oct 21, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: edelweiss

Really, it could fit in with the two-stars just as well, but my gut says three. I go with my gut.

What She Knew (aka Burnt Paper Sky which I personally prefer) is a serviceable thriller about a missing child and the media criticism and pressure that the case creates on the family.

Mysteries / thrillers are a hard genre for me. When it works, man does it ever fucking work! When I read The Girl on the Train and Sharp Objects I stayed up hours past when I normally fall asleep because I had to see how
Rachel Jenner had been a single mother for the past ten months; her doctor husband John had since married Katrina. Rachel was grieving still for the loss of her marriage, but eight year old Ben was the light of her life. Full of spark, fun and mischief he was (in her eyes) a perfect child. He had had an unsettled year the previous year after the marriage break-up but his teacher had helped there. And Rachel was happy for Ben as now he was as settled in school as she could hope him to be.

One Sund
Mar 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pscho-thrillers
4.5 Stars.
Stunning ! ! ! !

A pure psychological thriller, I'd like the pace of story.
Huge wishes for Writer.
I've really enjoyed it alot.
Writer exceptionally derived the story with her intellects and fiction.
That was mixing story line in which emotions as well Life's importance truly revealed as far as when it concerned among Mother and her Child.
Highly recommended one.
1.99 Kindle Special. 12/15/16

"Where is Ben? The clock is ticking."

This is a tightly focused, fast paced suspense thriller. A Sunday afternoon walk that single Mom, Rachel and her eight year old son Ben have enjoyed many times before turns into a Mother's worst nightmare. The characters were well drawn, there was enough background information that resulted in a well developed plot. The author does a wonderful job of relaying to us how each character deals with this crime during and after, includi
Dec 02, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The deeply emotional story, even with all its side roads leading to nowhere, grabbed my attention immediately and never let up until the last chapter. The Epilogue felt unnecessarily long, but otherwise I was caught up in finding out what exactly happened to little 8 year old Ben. And were the media and townspeople being too harsh on Rachel, his mother. Well, considering innocence until or before proven guilty, they absolutely were; and it reminded me of the comment sections on editorial pages a ...more
Sep 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is the UK version of the book that will be released Dec 1 in the US as What She Knew. ( Senior Booklovers group , this was why finding this book was so difficult) It's a psychological thriller about recently single mom Rachel Jenner who is still struggling with her lot in life, when she turns her back for a moment and her 8 year old son Ben has vanished. This debut novel by Gilly Macmillian checks all of the boxes while being retold a year later by Rachel herself, who is viewed by many as h ...more

What She Knew was a choice by one of the lovely ladies in my favorite GoodReads Group! It goes by another name- Burnt Paper Sky- which I find kind of annoying. But honestly, that had no real impact on my reading, just one of those things that I feel like bitching about. Authors- stop giving two titles to your books-it’s annoying.

I went into it blind as is my usual approach. We find out very early on that Rachel and her son were walking in the woods together and that he goes missing.

Rachel’s son
Feb 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
Great debut...a kidnapping of Ben while with his mom in the woods, she lets him run ahead of her to a play structure and when she gets there he's gone.., could have been one of many people responsible... Loved the male detective..
Oct 27, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the blink of an eye everything changes for Rachel Jenner. While Rachel is out walking in the park with her eight year old son, Ben, he asks if he can run ahead of her in the park. It's a beautiful day and Rachel has a lot on her mind so why would she worry in what seems like such a safe setting about her little boy? Except when Rachel catches up to where Ben should be he is no where to be found and now Rachel is frantic.

Police are called and the search begins with everyone thinking that Ben
Liz Barnsley
An absolutely brilliant page turner this, focussing very much on character rather than mystery (although the mystery element is also superb) as we delve into the heads, hearts and minds of a group of people caught up in a child abduction case.

When Rachel lets Ben out of her sight for a few moments, he disappears apparently into thin air. Following the ensuing police investigation and how it affects not only the family but the officers involved, this is an emotional rollercoaster of a read that u
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Gilly Macmillan is the internationally bestselling author of WHAT SHE KNEW (previously published as BURNT PAPER SKY in some territories), THE PERFECT GIRL, ODD CHILD OUT & I KNOW YOU KNOW (available September 2018).

Gilly is Edgar Award nominated and an ITW award finalist. Her books have been translated into over 20 languages.

She grew up in Swindon, Wiltshire and also lived in Northern Califor
More about Gilly Macmillan

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“In the eyes of others, we’re often not who we imagine ourselves to be.” 29 likes
“But here's the thing; none of us deserve anything. That's an illusion we all exist under” 19 likes
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