Book Report: No One Knows by J.T. Ellison

No One KnowsNo One Knows was almost an amazing thriller. Much like Gone Girl, the story is narrated by more than one person, none of whom emerge as completely trustworthy. The story is based around the disappearance of Josh Hamilton and the ripple effect it sets in motion. We come in five years of his last sighting, on the day Josh Hamilton is officially declared dead. There are more than a few possible suspects, with more added to the list as the story slowly emerges.

Aubrey Hamilton breaks down her life into three segments; seven, seventeen and five. The seven years before she knew her husband Josh, the seventeen years they had a relationship, and finally, the five years he’s been missing. Aubrey receives a letter in the very beginning of the book from her mother-in-law Daisy, informing her that Josh has been declared dead by the state of Tennessee and that Daisy will be fighting for his life insurance payout. A teacher who works a second job in a coffee shop, Aubrey has had a very difficult five years filled with internalized blame and shame. She’s finally rebounding with a new man in her life, Chase, who is hiding more than a few secrets of his own.

The night her husband disappears, both of the Hamiltons are attending bachelor and hen parties for mutual friends at Gaylord Opryland. Except Josh never makes it to the bachelor party. The Hamilton’s home is a crime scene, splattered with blood, and Aubrey is arrested and put on trial for her husband’s murder. She’s found innocent, but not by all. In particular, Josh’s mom, Daisy.

Daisy’s never liked Aubrey. She can’t seem to muster an ounce of empathy for the twice orphaned girl her son falls head-over-heels in love with. Daisy tried her hardest to keep Josh and Aubrey from each other, even to the point of falsifying a police report against a teenage Aubrey. Never one to lose with grace, Daisy testifies against Aubrey at her trial, convinced the girl from the wrong side of the tracks killed her son. Daisy holds onto her grudge against Aubrey, even as own secrets come back to haunt her.

The book oozes with suspense, but nothing ever quite adds up, even the ending. The story lags at times then breezes through the most important revelations. Here’s the thing, the whole untrustworthy narrator thing was done really, really, really well in Gone Girl. There have been more than a handful of authors who have tried the technique since and in my opinion, there have only been two books that have been done as well, Girl on the Train and In the Blood. No One Knows ranks pretty high up there until the absolutely ridiculous final twist/ending. And for that No One Knows gets…

3 out of 5

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