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And She Was: A Novel of Suspense (Brenna Spector Novel Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Alison Gaylin
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (146 customer reviews)

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Book Description

“A deftly plotted, completely involving novel with one of the most memorable protagonists to come along in years.”
—Laura Lippman

“Label me a big fan.”
—Harlan Coben

Edgar® Award nominated author Alison Gaylin is rapidly becoming a major player in the thriller game. A breathtaking novel of suspense, Gaylin’s And She Was introduces a remarkable new protagonist: Brenna Spector, a missing persons investigator afflicted with Hyperthymestic Syndrome, a rare disorder that enables her to remember every moment of every day of her life. A twisting mystery, both chilling and surprising, And She Was sets the haunted investigator on the trail of a missing child who vanished more than a decade earlier—a case with disturbing echoes in Brenna’s own scrupulously remembered past. Discover what Harlan Coben, Lisa Gardener, Laura Lippman, and other masters of suspense and crime fiction have already learned: Alison Gaylin is one of the best!

Books In This Series (3 Books)
Complete Series

  • Editorial Reviews


    “A deftly plotted, completely involving novel with one of the most memorable protagonists to come along in years. Brenna Spector is tough, loyal, and canny -- and that’s just in her day-to-day life as the mother of an adolescent.” (Laura Lippman, New York Times bestselling author)

    “Label me a big fan.” (Harlan Coben)

    “A fresh new talent.” (Perri O’Shaughnessy)

    “[Gaylin’s books] will blow your mind.” (Lisa Gardner)

    “The perfect storm; a serious talent hits on a great idea and sparks a wonderful new character we’ll follow anywhere. One of my favorite writers raises the bar--again.” (Lee Child)

    “Deftly plotted...with one of the most memorable protagonists to come along in years.” (Laura Lippman)

    From the Back Cover

    On a summer afternoon in 1998, six-year-old Iris Neff walked away from a barbecue in her small suburban town . . . and vanished.

    Missing persons investigator Brenna Spector has a rare neurological disorder that enables her to recall every detail of every day of her life. A blessing and a curse, it began in childhood, when her older sister stepped into a strange car never to be seen again, and it’s proven invaluable in her work. But it hasn’t helped her solve the mystery that haunts her above all others—and it didn’t lead her to little Iris. When a local woman, Carol Wentz, disappears eleven years later, Brenna uncovers bizarre connections between the missing woman, the long-gone little girl . . . and herself.

    Product Details

    • File Size: 831 KB
    • Print Length: 401 pages
    • Publisher: Harper; Original edition (February 21, 2012)
    • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
    • Language: English
    • ASIN: B005LBXS5M
    • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
    • X-Ray:
    • Word Wise: Enabled
    • Lending: Not Enabled
    • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #95,952 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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    Customer Reviews

    4.3 out of 5 stars
    4.3 out of 5 stars
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    Most Helpful Customer Reviews
    26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars COMPLETELY ENGROSSING!!!!!!! January 30, 2012
    Format:Mass Market Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
    Let me first say that if you have anything you need to get done, do it BEFORE you start reading AND SHE WAS--otherwise whatever it is you have to do WON'T GET DONE!

    Really! I found AND SHE WAS to be totally engrossing. Not just a page turner, but one of those books you can't put down and will want to read from start to finish. Lots of twists and turns to keep you glued to your seat!

    I found the writing style to be enjoyable. The characters were realistic and believable, as was the dialogue. Plot twists were many. I didn't have a clue how it would end right up until it ended! Only the last page or two of the epilogue were less than thrilling, but by that point I didn't even mind.

    Quite a few dead bodies, but nothing graphic. I counted two "f-bombs", but didn't notice any other profanity. It may have been there, but if it was it blended so well I never noticed it. The interesting twist of the the main character having complete and total memory recall was well handled and was provacative--makes one appreciate how nice it is to be able to forget! I especially enjoyed character Detective Nick Morasco. I'm not sure exactly how he was intended to look by author Alison Gaylin, but he turned into a Columbo-esque Peter Falk lookalike in my mind. And that's not a bad thing! I know he was supposed to be wearing tweed sport coats, but in my brain, he also donned that shabby raincoat!

    I'd give FIVE STARS to AND SHE WAS. My only warning is: Don't start it if you have somewhere to go or something else to do, because you won't want to put this book down!
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    14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars The Steel Trap Detective and the Lost Little Girl January 29, 2012
    Format:Mass Market Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
    When mousy suburbanite Carol Wentz vanishes, no one thinks anything of it. Another unhappy housewife on the lam. Until her wallet appears in the house where six-year-old Iris Neff vanished eleven years ago. And in that wallet, the address and website of Manhattan PI Brenna Spector, missing persons specialist. Brenna couldn't find Iris Neff a decade ago, so she ventures into a new and surprisingly intricate mystery today.

    Alison Gaylin's "and she was" introduces an interesting character in Brenna Spector, who, because of childhood trauma, cannot forget anything once it enters her head. Everything she has seen, heard, read, or experienced since she was eleven years old is embossed on her long-term memory. While this has its advantages, she can't prioritize, can't shirk pain, and can't stop crippling waves of full-sensory memory intruding on the present.

    If that sounds familiar, that's because it resembles the premise behind the current TV series Unforgettable. Because of mass media lag times, the two were probably in production about the same time. But don't let that fool you; Gaylin is no mere trend-watcher. She uses hyperthymestic syndrome, a very real illness, to plumb the psychological depths of a character who cannot abandon her personal quest because time doesn't heal all wounds.

    Brenna Spector struggles to endure the day. Because she forgets nothing, everything in the present is a potential trigger for elaborate memories. Some of those memories are extremely painful, and she can find herself trapped in an elaborate tape loop of trauma. This drives a wedge between her and the human race, alienating her from family and keeping her from making friends. She develops strenuous rituals to keep herself in the present.
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    15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars A new author added to my MUST READ list March 9, 2012
    Format:Mass Market Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
    AND SHE WAS, by Allison Gaylin, is an exciting new thriller full of many twists that keep building on each other and come at the reader in a fast and furious pace, resulting in a climax that is a bit underwhelming, but the journey to get there was quite exhilarating.

    Brenna Spector is a divorced, single mom, and also a private investigator that suffers from a disorder in which she remembers every little detail from every single day in her life. This disorder can be torture, like how it causes her to remember every good time with her ex-husband and also all the pain, and how she only communicates with him through late night texts. The disorder also allows her to remember every tiny detail of the time she went to the town of Tarry Ridge to investigate the disappearance of six year old Iris Neff because Iris's disappearance seemed awfully similar to the disappearance of her own sister when she was a child.

    Carol Wentz saw Iris just before she disappeared. When Carol receives a late at night phone call, she has reason to believe Iris may still be alive. Then she vanishes. Carol's husband, Nelson, reads about Brenna's involvement in the case earlier, and asks her to find his wife.

    Harlan Coben endorses this book on the cover, and he should, because the twists keep coming and building upon each other. I was impressed how Gaylin is able to reveal each piece of information in a logical manner, instead of jumping from twist to twist with no reason. The plot just flows naturally.

    Brenna's disorder is also fascinating. Random memories just jump into her mind at inopportune times. But, her perfect memory also allows her to recall pieces of the case that others have forgotten.
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    Most Recent Customer Reviews
    5.0 out of 5 stars I am very delighted with Alison Gaylin
    This is my first time reading a book by this author. I am very delighted with Alison Gaylin. I look forward to start the next book in this series.
    Published 1 month ago by Bulldog Bookreader
    4.0 out of 5 stars good read
    Great introduction to Breanna Spector, a female pirate detective with a life and a memory that won't quit. Very enjoyable. Will read the next.
    Published 1 month ago by Marguerite Mead
    5.0 out of 5 stars A Winding Road Through Memories
    A truly haunting tale that kept me plowing forward to find answers. Brenna Spector has a perfect memory that is as much torture as it is blessing. Read more
    Published 4 months ago by Cara Brookins
    3.0 out of 5 stars And she was
    Story was a little hard to conceive at first. The tale got better and the last half I did not want to put it down.
    Published 4 months ago by WilleyP
    5.0 out of 5 stars A Fascinating Detective
    I don't know the author, Alison Gaylin, but I met her at a book signing and decided to try And She Was. Good decision. Read more
    Published 5 months ago by Jerry McGarrity
    4.0 out of 5 stars Good story
    I read it all the way through, good story.
    Published 5 months ago by Marlene Shillington
    5.0 out of 5 stars Hooked!
    I am hooked on this author after reading this book! If you like a good mystery that will keep you guessing, it's a great read!
    Published 8 months ago by Pava1913
    5.0 out of 5 stars Great Mystery
    I usually solve the mystery myself half way through but not this one. Very clever plot, great characters, and loved the heroine with the gifted memory. Read more
    Published 9 months ago by C. PARSONS
    3.0 out of 5 stars Read carefully. Or get lost in the memories.
    Good suspense but too many past memories clutter the flow of the plot and confuse the reader. Many interesting characters.
    Published 9 months ago by Sandra Johnson
    5.0 out of 5 stars The First Brenna Spector Novel. :)
    Brenna Spector is an awesome private detective! She's got a disorder that some might think is cool, but she certainly does not: she has a perfect memory, able to recall anything... Read more
    Published 10 months ago by N.L. White
    Search Customer Reviews

    More About the Author

    USA Today and International best-selling author Alison Gaylin received an Edgar nomination for her first book HIDE YOUR EYES. Her Shamus Award-winning novel, AND SHE WAS, was also nominated for the RT award, the Thriller and Anthony awards. In addition to her six published crime fiction novels, she's published the Young Adult mystery REALITY ENDS HERE (Simon and Schuster/PocketStar). STAY WITH ME, her eighth book - and the third in the acclaimed Brenna Spector series - is out June 24, 2014 from HarperCollins.

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