Review: Girl Unknown by Karen Perry

About Girl Unknown

Hardcover:304 pages
Publisher:Henry Holt and Co. (February 6, 2018)

Explores emotional danger with relentless, surgical accuracy.
Tana French,New York Timesbestselling author of The TrespasserandInto the Woods.

David and Caroline Connolly are swimming successfully through their marriages middle years raising two children; overseeing care for David’s ailing mother; leaning into their careers, both at David’s university teaching job, where he’s up for an important promotion, and at the ad agency where Caroline has recently returned to work after years away while the children were little. The recent stresses of home renovation and of a brief romantic betrayal (Caroline’s) are behind them. The Connollys know and care for each other deeply.Then one early fall afternoon, a student of sublime, waiflike beauty appears in David’s university office and says, I think you might be my father. And the fact of a youthful passion that David had tried to forget comes rushing back. In the person of this intriguing young woman, the Connollys may have a chance to expand who they are and how much they can love, or they may be making themselves vulnerable to menace. They face either an opportunity or a threat but which is which? What happens when their hard-won family happiness meets a hard-luck beautiful girl?


Full of intrigue and incident keeps us guessing until the very last tragic page. Liz Nugent, bestselling author ofUnraveling Oliverand ofLying 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 ofLacy and I 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)

Purchase Links

Amazon |Barnes & Noble | IndieBound


Imagine you’re already going through a difficult time in your marriage, a trying time that is putting your relationship to the test and then a teenaged girl shows up and announces that she’s your husbands daughter. That’s exactly what happens to Caroline and Zoe’s arrival is just the beginning of a series of events that no one saw coming, I sure didn’t!

While this was most definitely a mystery, it had a strong literary feel to it, the prose used by the authors had a sophisticated subtlety to it that gave it strong edge. I’m always fascinated by writing duos, I wonder how they actually wrote the book. This is told from dual perspectives, that of David and Caroline and I pondered whether each author wrote each distinct voice, but whatever method they used it worked excellently. You would never know it’s co authored, there is nothing disjointed, it’s actually incredibly smooth and the writing style is top notch.

The plot takes several unexpected turns but the twists weren’t the big, shocking gasp worthy type but rather the kind that unnerve you and get under your skin. They are still surprising, but there’s an air of refinement to how they’re executed that worked really well for me. I’m definitely a fan of the style and will be reading more from the author(s) in the future.

Girl Unknown in three words: Unsettling, Polished and Penetrating.

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for my review copy.

Photo by Edmund Ross Photography

About Karen Perry

Karen Perryis the pen name of Dublin-based authors Paul Perry and Karen Gillece. Together they wrote Girl Unkown.

Paul Perryis 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 Gilleceis the author of several critically acclaimed novels. In 2009 she won the European Union Prize for Literature (Ireland).

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