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And She Was: A Novel of Suspense (Brenna Spector Novel) Mass Market Paperback

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Product Details

  • Series: Brenna Spector Novel (Book 1)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; Original edition (February 21, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061878200
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061878206
  • Product Dimensions: 1.7 x 2.7 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (127 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #438,187 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

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.

Customer Reviews

A very good read it keeps you guessing til the end.
sharon k sutherland
The story was so engrossing that I didn't want to do much else but read this book.
P. Bergbauer
The characters are well drawn and the story interesting.
creative quilter

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By P. Eisenman VINE VOICE on 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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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Kevin L. Nenstiel TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 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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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Bill Garrison VINE VOICE on 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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