Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.
Author: Karen Perry (aka Paul Perry and Karen Gillece)
Released: June 16th 2016Received: Goodreads Giveaway
Girl Unknown is written by Karen Perry, which is actually a pseudonym for the writing pair Karen Gillece and Paul Perry (obviously we can see how they came up with the name). One of my favorite series is written by a couple using a pseudonym like this as well – the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews (aka Ilona and Andrew Gordon), so the concept isn’t new to me, but it still isn’t something that’s terribly common. I’ll admit I didn’t know about the corroboration until after I finished the novel, but that didn’t seem to affect my reading in a negative manner.
While I was intrigued by the plot and very much wanted to read this novel, I’ll admit I was a little put off by the title. How many more thriller novels are we going to see with “girl” in the title? I feel like this became a thing around the time that Girl on the Train came out – though perhaps there’s another book that predated it, maybe Gone Girl was the originator, and it just became more common later. Regardless of which book kicked off this trend, I’m starting to get a little tired of it. It was interesting at first, but now it’s overdone. Time for some more creative titles, yeah?
Girl Unknown is a psychological thriller, but it’s also more of a character study than anything else. The novel revolves around the world that the Connolly family lives it; it focuses on their drama and interactions and reactions. Which considering the sudden appearance of an unknown child from a previous lover…there’s quite a bit of.
I’ll admit that I think Girl Unknown had quite a bit of potential, and I was really looking forward to reading it. A thriller focused solely on one family and how they handle a sudden change sounds pretty fascinating. In this case the sudden change is the father (David) finding out that he has a daughter from a past relationship (the ex herself having been deceased for quite a while). For me this whole tale immediately starts setting off alarm bells. Why was this girl showing up now, and what does she want? Why does her story and personality seem to change based on who she’s talking to?
Much like what happens when a Cuckoo bird leaves her eggs in another bird’s nest – the baby cuckoo quickly takes over the nest, taking all of the food and attention. Thankfully the human version doesn’t end as horrifically as the animal one would (with the cuckoo killing the ‘siblings’), it still isn’t a good time for the Connolly family.
I think this is one of those novels you really have to be in the mood for to enjoy it, and I just wasn’t in the mood for it. I felt like every twist and turn I saw coming, which dramatically decreased my enjoyment of it. Additionally I felt the family and relationships hurdles the Connollys were going through were pretty painful at times, so I had trouble enjoying seeing it happen.
If you’re looking for a novel with an incredibly intense character study, then this may be the perfect novel for you. The authors focus solely on the family and what occurs during a dramatic change and introduction of a master manipulator. Their reactions and responses are very human, to say the least.