By: J.T. Ellison
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication Date: 3/22/2015
My Rating: 5 Stars
In an obsessive mystery as thrilling as The Girl on the Train and The Husband’s Secret, the New York Times bestselling coauthor of the Nicholas Drummond series will make you question every twist in her page-turning novel—and wonder which of her vividly drawn characters you should trust.
The day Aubrey Hamilton’s husband is declared dead by the state of Tennessee should bring closure so she can move on with her life. But Aubrey doesn’t want to move on. She just wants Josh back. It’s been five years since he disappeared, since their blissfully happy marriage—they were happy, weren’t they?—screeched to a halt and Aubrey became the prime suspect in his disappearance. Five years of emptiness, solitude, loneliness, questions. Why didn’t Josh show up at his friend’s bachelor party? Who anonymously sent Aubrey her favorite cocktail at the bar where Josh stood her up? Was he murdered? Did he run away? And now, all this time later, who is the mysterious and strangely familiar figure suddenly haunting her new life?
As her heroine faces the possibility that everything she thinks she knows about herself, her marriage, and her husband is a lie, New York Timesbestselling author J.T. Ellison expertly peels back the layers of a complex woman who is hiding dark secrets beneath her unassuming exterior. In a masterful thriller for readers who love Gillian Flynn, Liane Moriarty, and Paula Hawkins, Ellison pulls you into a you’ll-never-guess merry-go-round of danger and deception. Round and round and round it goes, where it stops…no one knows.
A special thank you to Gallery Books and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Nice Cover.
J. T. Ellison delivers a cautionary tale, a perfect marriage, childhood sweethearts, a devastating loss, cracks, a disappearance--now a widow, trying to deal with the fallout.
NO ONE KNOWS —the author’s first standalone featuring a cast of desperate, unreliable, flawed, psychotic and dysfunctional characters---lies, secrets, betrayal, evil. A mind-blowing suburban domestic suspense thriller- leaving you guessing until the end.
"Years of love had been forgot in the hatred of a minute."—Edgar Allen Poe
Intriguing, Evocative, Shocking. Be prepared for a lot of head spinning, crazy, mystery, shifting, and switching back and forth, between characters and time periods. One wild roller-coaster ride.
Set in Nashville, Aubrey Hamilton, is trying to move on with her life after her husband's disappearance and probable death. The book opens five years after her husband disappears, on the day she receives official notice that the state of Tennessee has declared him dead. Dead or missing?
Childhood sweethearts. The old oak tree. The lovers’ tree. Their carved initials. They played here as children and as adults. Josh David Hamilton plus Aubrey Marie Trenton equals True Love Always. They would be tied together forever. They were a perfect match. He wanted to give her the moon, since her parents died when she was so young.
"Fairy tales don’t come true. Parents die, little girls are molested, lovers die, husbands lie and disappear. "
Flashing back and forth some nineteen years, five years, and the present---readers hear from a cast of damaged characters; each with motives, an agenda, baggage, and dark secrets. Who is lying?
Joshua David Hamilton has been missing for five years. The State of Tennessee has declared him legally dead. Aubrey, his wife (widow), is a teacher at the Montessori school. She does not want his estate settled, nor does she want to say goodbye. However, his evil mother Daisy, wanted closure. Seems everyone was ready to move on except for her.
Daisy and Aubrey are enemies. This began years ago, when her son Josh began dating Aubrey – the young teen, the girl from the wrong side of the tracks. Daisy hated Aubrey’s real mom, hated that Aubrey was a foster child and she lived in the bad part of town. Aubrey was only fourteen. Money was vital to Daisy, and she always wanted to be richer. Appearances were everything to her. Coveting was her favorite pastime. Keeping up with the Joneses (socio-economic/cultural inferiority).
A mother’s lies. Her first husband, Ed Hardsten Josh’s father (not dead, in jail) and second, Tom, Josh’s step-father. An affair? What else is she hiding in her past?
Aubrey thinks Daisy is a bitch. Aubrey’s entire life looked like one long episode of Law and Order. The Nashville media did a good job of turning her into a devious liar with a sordid past. A black widow. They said she had snuck away from the party, murdered her husband, planted herself in the bar for an alibi, and after time had passed, made a show of searching for him.
Once they unsealed her juvenile record and realized Aubrey wasn’t a plain-Jane suburban housewife, they went at her doubly hard. The $5 Million insurance fueled the fire. Daisy had not helped matters, volunteering to be a witness for the prosecution.
Aubrey’s world was broken into thirds: She was damaged. Seven and seventeen and five. Seven years before he came into her life. Seventeen in-between years when she’d seen Josh almost every day. Seventeen years of joy, love, sex marriage, heartache, and happiness. Five years of After. Five years of wondering. She thought they were happy.
Then Josh was gone. Her world was shattered. The last five years she has been empty and lonely. He had disappeared. Her house was gone and she lived in a shabby little house. She had been forced to sell their dream to make ends meet. She wanted to dull the pain—nothing seemed to be working: therapy, drinking, work, her friends, the dog Winston, and her occasional suicidal thoughts—nothing helped her sleep at night. She turned to running.
Flashing back to five years earlier, we learn about the accident. Josh was in his third year of medical school with plans to become a family practitioner, or surgeon. He was on the way to a bachelor party. The cops even suspected her, having to go through the humiliation of being charged with murder. The jury found her not guilty.
Flash forward to the present—Aubrey knew she had not killed her husband and she knew Josh had sent her the gin and tonic that night. It had to be him. We then hear back twenty-one years earlier. From Daisy, Josh, Aubrey, and now a mystery man surfaces.
A journalist, from Chicago. Chase Boden. An investigative reporter. A story in Nashville. There was a clear resemblance between Josh and Chase. He seems familiar and they are attracted to one another. Josh was fair and Chase had darker skin, more olive and blond hair. But something was similar, but so very different.
We meet Aubrey’s brother Tyler having been released from prison and staying with Aubrey—a drug problem. Of course, Ty thinks she is coming into some money to share with her older brother. He had always been jealous of Josh.
Betrayed. She was on the edge of the truth. Her sanity is on the line. Is Josh hiding in plain sight. Was someone screwing with her, trying to unhinge her mind? Someone was playing a dangerous sick game. Aubrey was sick of being manipulated. Someone is trying to torture her. She has to pull it together, in order to solve the mystery. Blackmail?
As the five-year anniversary approaches, readers can feel the suspense building, anxiously turning the pages, dying for answers to this dangerous whodunit saga.
Aubrey, an "unreliable narrator", (a troubled past), the author cleverly unravels the complex mystery layer by layer as she spins and explores the tale from multiple points of view.
Skillfully plotted, fans of mystery, crime, psychological, domestic, and suspense rolled into one edge of your seat action-packed thriller. The last part of the book is un·put·down·a·ble!
Fans of Mary Burton (Morgans of Nashville), Lisa Gardner, Lisa Unger, Liane Moriarty, Paula Treick Deboard, and Carla Buckley will will appreciate the complexity of relationships, and its multiple twists and turns.
My first book by the author and can’t wait to read more! Have pre-ordered the audiobook- should make for an entertaining adventure. Am enjoying the new books surrounding, widows and their husband's secret lives.
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About the Author
J.T. Ellison is the New York Times bestselling and award-winning author of fourteen critically acclaimed thrillers and is the co-author of the Nicholas Drummond series with #1 New York Times bestselling author Catherine Coulter. With over a million books in print, Ellison’s work has been published in twenty-five countries and thirteen languages. She is also the co-host of A Word on Words, Nashville's premiere literary TV series, which airs on Nashville Public Television.
She lives with her husband and twin kittens in Nashville. Connect: Website Twitter