Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “What She Knew (Jim Clemo #1)” as Want to Read:
What She Knew (Jim Clemo #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

What She Knew

(Jim Clemo #1)

by
3.87  ·  Rating details ·  70,675 ratings  ·  5,608 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
...more
Paperback, 512 pages
Published December 1st 2015 by William Morrow Paperbacks
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about What She Knew, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Jill
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Laura What She knew or Burnt Paper Sky neither of them make sense fr the title at all....

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.87  · 
Rating details
 ·  70,675 ratings  ·  5,608 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of What She Knew (Jim Clemo #1)
Linda
Jan 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Deanna
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
...more
Norma
Feb 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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,
...more
J.L.   Sutton
Jan 30, 2017 rated it liked it
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
...more
Dem
Jan 31, 2016 rated it it was ok
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
...more
Kaceey
Jan 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Always Pouting
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
Julie
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.
...more
ReadAlongWithSue


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
...more
Mandy
Feb 05, 2016 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Diane S ☔
Aug 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
...more
Lucie
Probably the most gut-wrenching missing-child story I've EVER read.

Macmillan writes with such raw emotion that I was hopelessly anxious the entire time. I felt like I needed anti-anxiety medication or something! Wait. Is that a good thing?

Rachel Jenner is walking in the park with her eight-year-old son, Ben, when he asks if he can run ahead. He's excited to get to his favorite rope swing. Immediately, Rachel's maternal dialogue kicks in inside her head.

She loves her son more than anything else i
...more
Tina Haigler
Sep 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
"In the eyes of others, we're often not who we imagine ourselves to be."

As a mother, this was a very tough read, so I had to force myself to keep going. I don't do well emotionally, reading about kids in danger, missing, hurt, abused, or really anything other than perfectly healthy and happy. So this book was hard on my heart, but it ended up being a really good page turner.

It's told in three points of view. The chapters switch between Rachel, the mother of the missing child, Jim Clemo, the main
...more
Carol
Dec 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
...more
Esil
Jan 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
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
Cathrine ☯️
3.5★
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
...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
...more
Jonetta
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
...more
Kristy
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
Myrna
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!
Ellen Gail
Oct 21, 2015 rated it liked it
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
...more
Elaine
Feb 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Hirdesh
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.
Brenda
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
...more
Barbara
Apr 19, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016-challenge

3.5 stars

Rachel Jenner, her 8-year-old son Ben, and their dog Skittles are in a Bristol, England park when Ben asks if he can run ahead to the rope swing. Rachel, wanting Ben to feel confident and independent, says okay. So Ben and Skittles dart off.....and disappear.



A massive search by police and civilians finds an injured Skittles and Ben's clothes, but not the boy - and the cops conclude that Ben's been snatched. And Rachel's (and her ex-husband John's) nightmare begins.



Detective Inspecto
...more
Linda
Dec 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
☮Karen
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
Camie
Sep 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Karen
Feb 16, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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..
 Li'l Owl
"In the UK, a child is reported missing every three minutes.
www.missingkids.co.uk
The first three hours are the most critical when trying to locate a missing child.
www.missingkids/keyfacts"


On a beautiful autumn afternoon in October Rachel Jenner and her eight year old son, Ben, went for a walk in Bristol park woods. Ben, in a red anorak jacket, running alongside his mum with his dog, a black and white Cocker Spaniel named Skittle. The afternoon was getting late, the cold had started to bite
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Then She Was Gone
  • All the Missing Girls
  • Someone We Know
  • The Family Upstairs
  • Watching You
  • The Couple Next Door
  • A Stranger in the House
  • The Turn of the Key
  • Don't You Cry
  • The Other Mrs.
  • Behind Closed Doors
  • The Wives
  • The Breakdown
  • An Unwanted Guest
  • The Woman in the Window
  • The Woman in Cabin 10
  • The Good Girl
  • An Anonymous Girl
See similar books…
2,920 followers
Gilly Macmillan is the New York Times & Sunday Times bestselling author of TO TELL YOU THE TRUTH, THE NANNY, WHAT SHE KNEW (previously published as BURNT PAPER SKY in some territories), THE PERFECT GIRL, ODD CHILD OUT & I KNOW YOU KNOW.

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
...more

Other books in the series

Jim Clemo (2 books)
  • Odd Child Out (Jim Clemo #2)

Articles featuring this book

Has it been a while since you've explored the mystery and thriller genre? Well, you're in luck because you are about to discover a lot of great...
173 likes · 114 comments
“In the eyes of others, we’re often not who we imagine ourselves to be.” 35 likes
“But here's the thing; none of us deserve anything. That's an illusion we all exist under” 23 likes
More quotes…