CTG Reviews: AND SHE WAS by Alison Gaylin

 

AND SHE WAS cover image

AND SHE WAS cover image

What the blurb says: “When Brenna Spector was a child, her older sister stepped into a strange car never to be seen again. This traumatic event triggered in Brenna a rare neurological disorder that enables her to recall every detail of every day of her life, except – cruelly – that dark day when her sister disappeared.

Nowadays Brenna puts her unusual skill to use as a missing persons investigator and it’s while she’s trying to find local woman Carol Wentz that she discovers connections to another child’s disappearance, ten years earlier. Before too long a link to her own past emerges. Could this be the answer she’s been hunting for all these years?”

Brenna Spector is a truly unique investigator – smart and dedicated to her work as a missing persons investigator, and very human in her struggle to balance the demands of her job while trying to make quality time for her daughter. She also has a rare neurological disorder that lets her recall every detail of every day since it developed.

Brenna’s latest job is to find Carol Wentz, a resident of the small town – Tarry Ridge. Hired by Nelson Wentz, Carol’s husband, Brenna starts to piece together Carol’s movements in the days leading up to her disappearance. It’s not easy, Nelson is far from forthcoming, and the town holds many memories for Brenna which cause her mind to plunge her back into the aftermath of when the young girl – Iris Neff – was taken; a case which caused Brenna to visit the town ten years previously.

Then a body is found.

With the Police looking to make a quick arrest and Brenna’s client – Nelson Wentz – firmly in the frame, Brenna finds herself out of a job. But things don’t feel right to Brenna, and she keeps digging, discovering the dead woman’s increasing obsession with the child who was abducted many years before.

Much of the book focuses on the residents of fictional small town – Tarry Ridge – and the secrets they’ve kept from each other. It explores loss, and guilt, and the devastating consequences a single decision has both in that moment and across a decade.

Brenna is a resourceful and engaging protagonist. She juggles life as a single-parent with her job, and maintains good relationship with her ex-husband and his new wife even though the memories of the good times force her to relive her loss of him every time they meet.

I especially liked the growing relationship between Brenna and Detective Nick Morasco of Tarry Ridge PD. Both sense something more is going on in the small town than at first appears, and although initially neither is sure whether they can trust the other, they build at first a truce and then a partnership that helps both their investigations reach the truth.

Beautifully written, with enough twists and turns to keep the reader perched on the edge of their seat, this is a fabulous start to a fantastic new series. I can’t wait to read the next one.

Highly recommended.

[with thanks to Sphere for my copy of AND SHE WAS]

4 thoughts on “CTG Reviews: AND SHE WAS by Alison Gaylin

  1. Rebecca Bradley says:

    Elena said it reminds her of the show unforgettable. I stopped reading halfway through the blurb. It’s a direct copy. On there Carrie’s sister is killed when they’re children. From then she has that disorder. BUT she can’t remember the event which could catch her sisters killer. Oh and she’s now a cop. How did this get published? OK, let the programme inspire you and have a pritagonist with that disorder, but come on. That’s a straight lift from the fundementals.

  2. Alison Gaylin says:

    Thank you so much for the wonderful review!
    To Rebecca: Actually, the idea for the book was sold and I had started writing it two years prior to the announcement that a TV show with a similar premise would be coming to US TV. (The book came out in 2012 in the States months before the TV show debuted.) The book does sound similar in the blurb, but people who have read it say it’s actually quite different from the show. I wish you had continued reading — you might have enjoyed it!
    – Alison

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