Title: Burnt Paper Sky
Author: Gilly Macmillan
Published: August 27th 2015
Genre: Adult, Mystery, Thriller
Length: 465 pages
Source: NetGalley eARC and purchased paperback
Book Blurb (via Goodreads):
Rachel Jenner turned her back for a moment. Now her eight-year-old son Ben is missing.
But what really happened that fateful afternoon?
Caught between her personal tragedy and a public who have turned against her, there is nobody left who Rachel can trust. But can the nation trust Rachel?
The clock is ticking to find Ben alive.
WHOSE SIDE ARE YOU ON?
I wasn’t completely sure what this book would be like when I picked it up. The blurb gave me an idea, but it sounded like it could go one of two ways and I was curious to see what the story actually did. It took me a little to get into it, but by the time I was finished I was super impressed by this book.
Rachel Jenner was out with her son Ben one afternoon when she let him out of her sight for a moment and he vanished. Now the hunt is on to find Ben as more and more days tick by. The media is in a frenzy, the public are on a witch-hunt, and at the centre is Rachel, desperate to get her boy back. But is she really as innocent as she seems?
This is a really clever book. With kidnapping stories, they can become formulaic and so it’s easy to figure out who did it and why and when really quickly. This book had so many tiny hints here and there towards various people that it was difficult to keep up at times and I was still confused over who did it by the time the book was reaching the end. I didn’t see it coming and that just made the experience even better.
Rachel is a complex character. I felt sorry for her throughout the whole ordeal but she didn’t seem wholly innocent to me. Sure, she was doing everything she could after he went missing but as more and more was revealed about the events leading up to the disappearance, I couldn’t help but feel that she had been a bit selfish really.
His father isn’t much better. Boy, I really didn’t like him at the start. Pompous was probably how I’d describe him, and I wonder how much of that is coloured by Rachel’s version of things. One of the best things about this book is how the characters develop over each day.
I liked the dual perspective – especially considering it was the mother of the missing child and the lead detective on the case. It gave an interesting opposing view that had me second guessing myself quite a bit about who I thought had done it. I’ll admit that I fell for the red herrings quite a few times, so convinced that this time it was the right person they suspected.
A twisting, always-guessing, mystery that keeps you on the edge of your seat, this is definitely one to grab for whodunnit fans. An utterly enthralling read.
About the Author
Gilly Macmillan grew up in Swindon, Wiltshire and also lived in Northern California in her late teens. She studied History of Art at Bristol University and then at the Courtauld Institute of Art in London.
She worked at The Burlington Magazine and the Hayward Gallery before starting a family, and since then has done some lecturing in ‘A’ Level photography.
Gilly lives in Bristol, UK with her husband and three children and now writes full time. She’s currently working on her third novel.
*Picture and Biography from Goodreads