- Hardcover: 304 pages
- Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (February 6, 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780805098747
- ISBN-13: 978-0805098747
- ASIN: 0805098747
- Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 1.1 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 28 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #858,296 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Girl Unknown: A Novel Hardcover – February 6, 2018
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“Check your passport and bolt the door . . . Girl Unknown gets its hooks in.”
―Entertainment Weekly, "Winter's Chilliest New Thrillers"
―The New York Times Book Review
“Full of intrigue and incident―keeps us guessing until the very last tragic page.”
―Liz Nugent, bestselling author of Unraveling Oliver and of Lying in Wait
“Compulsively readable, with surprises until the very last page. . . . A chilling tale about a family under threat from one of its own.”
―Jessica Treadway, author of Lacy Eye and How Will I Know You?
"[Girl Unknown] is must-read literary suspense, with dueling character perspectives and sly twists forming a gut-wrenching exploration of trust, manipulation, and obsession.”
―Booklist (starred review)
"A convincing glimpse into the fragility of family life and the terrible burden that the past can put on domestic life."
“Builds to an incredibly tense finale―before delivering an amazing final twist. Riveting stuff.”
“Richly satisfying . . . a book that hooks the reader from the first page. The tension is relentlessly dialed up to an almost unbearable level as the story unfolds.”
―The Irish Independent
About the Author
Karen Perry is the pen name of Dublin-based authors Paul Perry and Karen Gillece. Together they wrote Girl Unkown.
Paul Perry is the author of a number of critically acclaimed books. A recipient of the Hennessy Award for New Irish Writing, he teaches creative writing at University College, Dublin.
Karen Gillece is the author of several critically acclaimed novels. In 2009 she won the European Union Prize for Literature (Ireland).
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Karen Perry (a pen name for Karen Gillece and Paul Perry) weaves together a disturbing tale told from alternating perspectives. From David's point of view, we see his struggle with the memories his daughter's sudden appearance in his life brings back. From Caroline's, a woman made out to be jealous of her husband's relationship with his newly found daughter. Her gut instinct tells her that there's more to this girl's story than what she's telling, but David won't listen. Not even when the lies Zoe, his daughter, have told begin to unravel.
What Perry has created in Girl Unknown isn't so much a suspenseful tale, but an examination of the fragility of one family's connection to each other. Where Caroline's betrayal--her affair--is out in the open and decidedly bad, other moments between the Connolly family members will make the reader begin to question their own definition of what constitutes a betrayal. Where some connections break and bend under the stress of Zoe's appearance, others strengthen, as this cast of characters races towards a dark, explosive ending. With its unlikeable characters and dark twists, fans of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train will enjoy this slow-building suspense.
David is a university professor. He is stunned when one of his first year students comes to his office professing to be his daughter. When DNA results prove that she is, he wants her to be part of his family, along with his son and daughter. But his wife Caroline, while welcoming Zoe on the surface, has her own doubts about Zoe's motives. And being privy to both David's and Caroline's take on the situation, the reader does as well.
I did not like David at all. Even though he starts out trying to do the right thing, I found him somewhat entitled and smug. Without giving anything away, as the book progresses, his thoughts and actions became increasingly disturbing to me. Caroline has made mistakes in the past and is far from perfect, but she is the character I was on side with the most. Zoe is a manipulator, beguiling David and toying with his wife, children and friends. I wondered what her end game was.
Kudos to Perry and Gillece for creating such strong reactions in this reader. Their depiction of this couple's interactions is really well done. And I liked the back and forth of the chapters, seeing the same events through different eyes. As the cracks in their foundation widen with the addition of Zoe, the reader knows that things are not going to go well. And it was here that I grew saddened (and a little frustrated) with the inability of this couple to actually be honest with and listen to each other and to actually see what is going on in their lives.
Those looking for a fast paced thriller won't find it in Girl Unknown. Instead it is a slow burn, with the tension and the inevitable outcome building with every chapter. But, I was caught unawares by the final turn the ending took. An unsettling, literary family drama.