Category Archives: Gilly Macmillan

Review: The Long Weekend by Gilly Macmillan

Title: The Long Weekend by Gilly Macmillan
Publisher: William Morrow
Genre: Contemporary, Thriller
Length: 350 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Edelweiss


In this pulse-pounding thriller from the New York Times bestselling author of The Nanny, a group of women travel to the most remote place in England for a weekend escape, only to discover a startling note that one of their husbands will be killed before they return home—perfect for fans of Ruth Ware and Lucy Foley.

Three couples

Two bodies

One secret

Dark Fell Barn is a “perfectly isolated” retreat, or so says its website when Jayne books a reservation for her friends. A quiet place, far removed from the rest of the world, is exactly what they need.

The women arrive for a girls’ night ahead of their husbands. There’s ex-Army Jayne, hardened and serious, but also damaged. Ruth, the driven doctor and new mother who is battling demons of her own. Young Emily, just wed and insecure, the newest addition of this tight-knit band. Missing this year is Edie, who was the glue holding them together, until her husband died suddenly.

But what they hoped would be a relaxing break soon turns to horror. Upon arrival at Dark Fell Barn, the women find a devastating note claiming one of their husbands will be murdered. There are no phones, no cell service to check on their men. Friendships fracture as the situation spins wildly out of control. Betrayal can come in many forms.

This group has kept each other’s secrets for far too long.


The Long Weekend by Gilly Macmillan is a riveting thriller.

For this year’s couple’s weekend, Jayne, Ruth and Emily arrive at Dark Fell Barn just ahead of a ferocious storm. Their husbands, Mark, Toby and Paul, will be arriving the next day when they are detained at the last minute.  Also missing this year is Edie, whose husband Rob died six months earlier.  The women are spooked by a shocking note they are uncertain whether or not should be taken seriously. Jayne tries to quell each other’s fears but Emily is determined to phone her husband, Paul. With the storm still raging outside, Jayne agrees to accompany Emily as she attempts to find a cell signal. As the night wears on, Jayne, Emily and Ruth become increasingly suspicious of each other.  After only one of their husbands arrive in the morning, the other two women are desperate to learn if their worst fears will come true.

Jayne is a former Army intelligence officer so she puts her rusty skills to use at various points throughout the evening. She suffers from PTSD but it is much better controlled than it used to be. Ruth is a new mother juggling her career as a doctor with taking care of her six-month-old son. It soon becomes apparent to Jayne and Emily that their friend has a problem with alcohol. Emily is much younger than her husband Paul and she has nothing in common with the other two women. She will not be deterred from trying to reach her husband and she takes an unnecessary risk that takes a troubling turn.

The Long Weekend is a compelling thriller that is incredibly atmospheric. The characters are well-drawn and their fear permeates the unfolding story. Dark Fell Barn is very isolated and the brutal weather adds another layer of tension to the women’s growing anxiety. Chapters detailing the chilling events back in town alternate with the events taking place at the Dark Fell Barn. With absolutely shocking twists and turns, Gilly Macmillan brings this fast-paced thriller to a suspense-laden conclusion.

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Review: To Tell You the Truth by Gilly Macmillan

Title: To Tell You the Truth by Gilly Macmillan
Publisher: William Morrow
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery
Length: 320 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Edelweiss


The acclaimed author of The Nanny and What She Knew—hailed by stalwarts including Ruth Ware, Liane Moriarty, Rosamund Lupton, Tess Gerritsen, and Shari Lapena—returns with another serpentine thriller that cleverly blends atmosphere, tarnished memories, mystery, and twisty secrets from the past into a potent, intense read that will leave you questioning everything you believe.

To tell you the truth . . . everybody lies.

Lucy Harper’s talent for writing bestselling novels has given her fame, fortune and millions of fans.  It’s also given her Dan, her needy, jealous husband whose own writing career has gone precisely nowhere.

Now Dan has vanished. But this isn’t the first time that someone has disappeared from Lucy’s life. Three decades ago, her little brother Teddy also went missing and was never found. Lucy, the only witness, helplessly spun fantasy after fantasy about Teddy’s disappearance, to the detectives’ fury and her parents’ despair. That was the start of her ability to tell a story—a talent she has profited from greatly.

But now Lucy’s a grown woman who can’t hide behind fiction any longer. The world is watching, and her whole life is under intense scrutiny. A life full of stories, some more believable than others. Could she have hurt Teddy?  Did she kill Dan?  Finally, now, Lucy Harper’s going to tell the truth.

Cross her heart.

And hope to die.


To Tell You the Truth by Gilly Macmillan is an absorbing mystery which features a mystery author as the lead protagonist.

Writer Lucy Harper’s series starring Detective Sergeant Eliza Grey is a runaway success.  Having just completed her latest novel, Lucy  nervously awaits her agent and publishers’ reactions.  Reluctant to tell her husband Dan about her book, he shocks and angers her with an unexpected purchase. With a great deal of tension between them, Lucy is not overly worried when Dan storms out after an argument. But when Detective Sergeant Lisa Bright shows up on her doorstep, Lucy is afraid her past is about to collide with her present.

Despite her success as an author, Lucy is insecure and relies heavily on Dan to take care of the household duties and their finances. She is also physically and emotionally exhausted by the completion of her book and her husband’s stunning surprise. Lucy is uncertain she wants to make the changes her publishers have requested she make to her latest novel. Already feeling fragile, Lucy is completely overwhelmed in the aftermath of Dan’s disappearance. And without a support system, she does not know if there is anyone among her new acquaintances she can trust.

Although most of the story takes place in the present, there are also chapters about Lucy’s past.  When  she was nine years old, Lucy takes her three year brother Teddy with her into the woods late one night.  She refuses his request to take him home and when her attention strays, he vanishes. To this day, Lucy has no idea what happened to her brother. She has worked hard to put this tragedy behind her, but she remains haunted by his disappearance.  With Dan missing, she fears DS Bright will suspect she is involved with what happened to her husband because of her unresolved past.  Lucy is plagued by self-doubts but she wants to find out the truth about Teddy and hopefully figure out what happened to Dan.

To Tell You the Truth is a riveting mystery with an increasingly unreliable narrator. Lucy is an intriguing protagonist whose husband is rather loathsome. Lucy’s fear and anxiety contribute to an already atmospheric setting.  With unexpected twists and turns, Gilly Macmillan brings this captivating mystery to an unpredictable conclusion.  I absolutely loved and highly recommend this suspenseful mystery to fans of the genre.

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Review: The Nanny by Gilly Macmillan

Title: The Nanny by Gilly Macmillan
Publisher: William Morrow
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 400 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Edelweiss


The New York Times bestselling author of What She Knew conjures a dark and unpredictable tale of family secrets that explores the lengths people will go to hurt one another.

When her beloved nanny, Hannah, left without a trace in the summer of 1988, seven-year-old Jocelyn Holt was devastated. Haunted by the loss, Jo grew up bitter and distant, and eventually left her parents and Lake Hall, their faded aristocratic home, behind.

Thirty years later, Jo returns to the house and is forced to confront her troubled relationship with her mother. But when human remains are accidentally uncovered in a lake on the estate, Jo begins to question everything she thought she knew.

Then an unexpected visitor knocks on the door and Jo’s world is destroyed again. Desperate to piece together the gaping holes in her memory, Jo must uncover who her nanny really was, why she left, and if she can trust her own mother…

In this compulsively readable tale of secrets, lies, and deception, Gilly Macmillan explores the darkest impulses and desires of the human heart. Diabolically clever, The Nanny reminds us that sometimes the truth hurts so much you’d rather hear the lie.


The Nanny by Gilly Macmillan is a compelling domestic mystery.

In the present, Jocelyn “Jo” Holt and her ten year old daughter Ruby return to her estranged mother Virginia’s estate in Britain. Jo’s husband has recently passed away and she can no longer remain in the United States. Hoping her time at Lake Hall will be brief, she plans to stay as far away from Virginia as possible. Jo resents her mother’s loving relationship with Ruby and she is grateful when a family friend offers her a position in London which gives her much-needed time away from Virginia. Further complicating the situation is the shocking discovery of skeletal remains in the lake.  Detective Constables Andy Wilton and Maxine Flint are determined to uncover the victim’s identity but Virginia has a very good reason to keep the truth from ever seeing the light of day.

In the past, Hannah Burgess is Jocelyn’s beloved nanny and she is absolutely heartbroken when Hannah abruptly leaves without warning. Hannah spends more time with the young girl than Virginia so it is not completely unexpected that Jocelyn shows a decided preference for her nanny. The fractured and troubled relationship between mother and daughter continues to worsen after Hannah’s disappearance. Jo eventually cuts all ties with her parents after marrying and relocating to California.

Coinciding with Jo’s return to Lake Hall and the discovery of the skeleton is the mysterious visitor who turns both Jo’s and Virginia’s worlds upside down.  Jo’s resentment toward her mother deepens just as Virginia tries to prevent her closely guarded secrets from being revealed.  At the same time, Wilton and Flint are growing closer to unearthing the identity of the remains from the lake.

With plenty of suspense,  The Nanny is a fast-paced, multi-layered mystery.  Jo is initially a sympathetic character but as the story progresses, it becomes harder and harder to like her. Virginia is aloof and a bit arrogant at first but her scenes with Ruby are quite touching.  The story moves back and forth in time and unfolds from various characters’ perspectives.   Gilly Macmillan brilliantly builds the tension as the novel hurtles to a very twist-filled and shocking conclusion. Fans of the genre are sure to enjoy this fiendishly crafted psychological mystery.

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Review: I Know You Know by Gilly Macmillan

Title: I Know You Know by Gilly Macmillan
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 384 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Edelweiss


From New York Times bestselling author Gilly Macmillan comes this original, chilling and twisty mystery about two shocking murder cases twenty years apart, and the threads that bind them.

Twenty years ago, eleven-year-olds Charlie Paige and Scott Ashby were murdered in the city of Bristol, their bodies dumped near a dog racing track. A man was convicted of the brutal crime, but decades later, questions still linger.

For his whole life, filmmaker Cody Swift has been haunted by the deaths of his childhood best friends. The loose ends of the police investigation consume him so much that he decides to return to Bristol in search of answers. Hoping to uncover new evidence, and to encourage those who may be keeping long-buried secrets to speak up, Cody starts a podcast to record his findings. But there are many people who don’t want the case—along with old wounds—reopened so many years after the tragedy, especially Charlie’s mother, Jess, who decides to take matters into her own hands.

When a long-dead body is found in the same location the boys were left decades before, the disturbing discovery launches another murder investigation. Now Detective John Fletcher, the investigator on the original case, must reopen his dusty files and decide if the two murders are linked. With his career at risk, the clock is ticking and lives are in jeopardy…


I Know You Know by Gilly Macmillan is a thoroughly enthralling mystery with a compelling storyline.

Twenty years earlier, Cody Swift’s friends, ten year old Charlie Paige and eleven year old Scott Ashby, were brutally beaten to death. The case was quickly solved and mentally challenged Sidney Noyce was convicted for their murders. After Sidney commits suicide in prison, a newspaper article by Owen Weston raises questions about Sidney’s guilt and Cody decides to revisit the crime. Through a series of podcasts, he interviews Owen, disgraced ex-Detective Superintendent Howard Smail and Detective Superintendent John Fletcher. Cody also interviews his own mother along with Scott’s mum, but Charlie’s mum, Jessy absolutely refuses to meet with him.  Despite threats against him and his girlfriend/producer Maya Summers, Cody continues publishing his podcasts as he tries to learn the truth about who murdered his friends.

Jess is now happily married  with a teenage daughter. She has completely reinvented herself and while her husband knows about Charlie, her daughter does not.  Desperate to keep her past from colliding with her present, Jess goes against her husband’s wishes and contacts the one man she can count on to help silence Cody.  Is Jess just trying to protect the life she has made for herself? Or is there a far more sinister reason behind her refusal to co-operate with Cody’s requests for an interview?

In the present, DS Michael  Fletcher is still on the job and he remains partnered with longtime friend Detective Sergeant Danny Freyer. Their current investigation involves the recently recovered body of a man who turns out to have been reported missing twenty years earlier.  Fletcher is quick to notice the burial site is eerily close to where Scott and Charlie’s bodies were found.  This discovery along with the recent death of the boys’ killer leaves Michael with the very uneasy feeling the cases might be connected.

A series of flashbacks from Michael’s perspective offers startling insight into the investigation into the Charlie and Scott’s murders. Fletcher is a rising star who is quite ambitious. He is not a fan of DS Smail and throughout the investigation, he is on the losing side of his power struggle with his superior. He is determined to not only catch the killer but also make sure he is credited with cracking the case. How far will DS Fletcher go to attain this goal? And what does this mean for the investigation in the present once he realizes the two cases might be connected?

Seamlessly weaving between the past, the present and Cody’s podcasts, I Know You Know is a suspenseful mystery. Cody is a sympathetic character who is determined to uncover the truth about his friends’ killer. Jess is an interesting character who has come a long way from her wild child days but what is her motivation in keeping silent about the past? DS Fletcher’s career stalled after Sidney’s conviction which raises intriguing questions about what happened to derail his meteoric rise through the ranks.  Gilly Macmillan brings this clever novel to an absolutely brilliant twist-filled and stunning conclusion.  Fans of the genre do not want to miss this outstanding mystery.

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Review: Odd Child Out by Gilly Macmillan

Title: Odd Child Out by Gilly Macmillan
Jim Clemo Series Book Two
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense, Mystery
Length: 432 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Edelweiss


How well do you know the people you love…?

Best friends Noah Sadler and Abdi Mahad have always been inseparable.  But when Noah is found floating unconscious in Bristol’s Feeder Canal, Abdi can’t–or won’t–tell anyone what happened.

Just back from a mandatory leave following his last case, Detective Jim Clemo is now assigned to look into this unfortunate accident.  But tragedy strikes and what looked like the simple case of a prank gone wrong soon ignites into a public battle.  Noah is British.  Abdi is a Somali refugee.   And social tensions have been rising rapidly in Bristol.  Against this background of fear and fury two families fight for their sons and for the truth.  Neither of them know how far they will have to go, what demons they will have to face, what pain they will have to suffer.

Because the truth hurts.


Odd Child Out by Gilly Macmillan is a suspenseful, character driven novel that also deals with complex issues such as immigrant bias and childhood cancer. Although this latest release is the second installment in the Jim Clemo series, it can be read as a standalone.

Abdi Mahad and Noah Sadler are best friends despite the disparity in their socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds. Abdi is the son of Somali immigrants who fled to Britain when he was just a baby. His father Nur supports the family by driving a cab and his mom Maryam volunteers at a local refugee center. Their parents’ plan for a better future for their children is coming to fruition as his older sister Sophia attends university as she pursues her dream of becoming a midwife. Noah is the son of a successful war photographer but his life has been a blur of hospital stays and treatment for his childhood cancer. Both boys attend the prestigious Medes College and by all accounts, their friendship is trouble free. However, after the teenagers sneak out one evening, Noah is clinging to life after a near drowning in the Feeder Canal and Abdi is so traumatized by what happened that he is practically catatonic.  Detective Chief Inspector Corrinne Fraser assigns the case to newly returned to duty Detective Inspector Jim Clemo who carefully begins his investigation along with Detective Constable Justin Woodley.

Needing to prove himself to both his boss and his co-workers, Jim treads lightly as he tries to uncover the truth about what happened to Noah. Since Abdi either can’t or won’t answer questions, Jim and Justin attempt to recreate the events from the evening Noah ended up in the canal. While nothing in Noah’s behavior is out of the ordinary, they quickly learn that something was troubling Abdi by night’s end.  Finally pinpointing what triggered Abdi’s unease, Jim struggles to understand the underlying reason for the teenager’s unrest.  How this figures into the events that precipitated Noah’s fall into the canal is unclear and Jim remains unable to tell if he fell or if Abdi pushed him.

Jim’s former love interest Emma Zhang is now a reporter and she is stirring up controversy with her inflammatory and oftentimes, speculative, accusations. She deliberately creates doubt with Noah’s mother Fiona who was not exactly a fan of her son’s friendship with Abdi. Emma deliberately exploits Fiona’s grief over her son’s accident and anti-immigration rhetoric threatens to derail Jim’s investigation.

Odd Child Out is a compelling mystery that touches on relevant social issues. The main focus of the story is uncovering the truth about what happened to Noah but Gilly Macmillan skillfully weaves the Mahad family’s heartbreaking past into the storyline.  The plot is complex and the characters are multi-faceted with realistic strengths and weaknesses. With a few startling revelations, shocking family secrets and unexpected plot twists, the novel comes to an action-packed, tension-filled conclusion.

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Review: The Perfect Girl by Gilly Macmillan

Title: The Perfect Girl by Gilly Macmillan
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 464 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Edelweiss


Zoe Maisey is a seventeen-year-old musical prodigy with a genius IQ. Three years ago, she was involved in a tragic incident that left three classmates dead. She served her time, and now her mother, Maria, is resolved to keep that devastating fact tucked far away from their new beginning, hiding the past even from her new husband and demanding Zoe do the same.

Tonight Zoe is giving a recital that Maria has been planning for months. It needs to be the performance of her life. But instead, by the end of the evening, Maria is dead.

In the aftermath, everyone—police, family, Zoe’s former solicitor, and Zoe herself—tries to piece together what happened. But as Zoe knows all too well, the truth is rarely straightforward, and the closer we are to someone, the less we may see.


In The Perfect Girl by Gilly Macmillan, Zoe Maisey’s new beginning comes to a horrifying end after her past collides with the present and her mother is murdered.  This compelling whodunit is a spellbinding mystery written from multiple points of view and it soon becomes clear that nearly everyone is keeping secrets.  But are any of these secrets worth killing over?

At the age of fourteen, piano prodigy Zoe Guerin’s promising future ended after she was involved in a drunk driving accident that left her three passengers dead.  Having served her sentence and received extensive therapy, she and her mother, Marie, have started over in another town.  Now living in a McMansion with her mom, her wealthy stepfather Chris Kennedy, her stepbrother Lucas, and her half-sister, Grace, Zoe is trying to put her past behind her. Playing in her first public recital alongside Lucas, she is stunned when the father of one the victims from the accident interrupts the performance.  With their perfect life in jeopardy,  Marie remains determined to keep the truth from Chris and by morning, she is dead.  As the investigation into her mother’s murder unfolds, Zoe is terrified that history will repeat itself, so she remains uncooperative when interviewed by the police.  In the meantime, Lucas tries to conceal a screenplay that has very ominous overtones.  Chris willingly answers the investigators questions but why is he in such a hurry to leave his in-laws’ home? Will the police uncover the truth about Marie’s heartbreaking murder?

Zoe is deeply remorseful about the accident that took the lives of her best friend and fellow classmates, but she is also deeply bitter over her conviction.  There is much more to her case than is first revealed and as the layers are slowly peeled back, it is impossible not to feel sorry for everything she endured in the aftermath.  With her mom determined to start fresh, Zoe is forced to remain silent about this life altering event which leaves her feeling somewhat isolated.  Focusing on music is therapeutic but this cannot erase the unfair verdict or her father’s subsequent abandonment.  Although devastated by her mother’s death, Zoe’s first thought is to protect herself from the police and she immediately reaches out to Sam Locke, the lawyer who defended her in the drunk driving accident.

Sam is the midst of his own troubles when he meets with Zoe.  A little uncomfortable to find himself in the company of Zoe’s Uncle Richard (who is married to her mother’s sister, Tessa), he pushes aside his  unease to listen to her account of the events that led up to Marie’s death and he is confident that she has nothing to be worried about during the investigation.  He advises  Zoe to return to the station and fully co-operate with the police.  After the fact, Sam fears he might have been a little quick to dismiss her concerns and he learns troubling information from a police friend.  However his worry about Zoe is soon eclipsed by distressing news of his own and dealing with his personal life takes precedent over professional duties.

Zoe’s aunt Tessa is quite distraught at the news of Maria’s death and she is plagued with guilt that she was not more involved with their lives. Overwhelmed with her extended family staying with her as the police conduct interviews, she is resentful that her alcoholic husband Richard is not providing her with more support.  Tessa is also worried that a secret she has been keeping will be unearthed so she is initially relieved by an apparent break in the case.  However, relief quickly turns to fear when Tessa becomes afraid the evidence might implicate her niece.

Zoe’s stepbrother Lucas is an enigmatic figure who lingers on the periphery of the unfolding story.  He is quiet and obedient with an interest in filmmaking that Chris does not approve of. Lucas is firmly under Chris’s thumb but Lucas’s concern for Maria and Zoe soon overrides his father’s control.  His screenplay provides much needed insight and details about his family’s past but does it contain relevant information to the investigation?

With a cast of brilliantly developed characters, The Perfect Girl is a cleverly plotted mystery that is achingly poignant and rather somber.  Gilly Macmillan adroitly reels readers into this intriguing story that touches on some dark subject matter.  Tension builds as the truth about Zoe’s past and her somewhat harrowing experiences in the Unit (juvenile detention) are slowly revealed. The story meanders to a very dramatic and unexpected conclusion that is quite memorable.  An absolutely riveting mystery that fans of the genre do not want to miss.


Filed under Contemporary, Gilly Macmillan, Mystery, Rated B+, Review, Suspense, The Perfect Girl, William Morrow Paperbacks