GIRL UNKNOWN by Karen Perry


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A family’s secrets are forced into the light by the arrival of an enigmatic young woman.

David Connolly is a history professor in Dublin; in his early 40s, he's devoted to his career and is on the verge of a possible promotion. He has two teenage children, and his family life is finally settling back to tender normalcy after his wife, Caroline, had a brief fling with another man a year ago. But after he delivers a lecture one day, one of his students shows up to his office with a shocking announcement: David is her father. When the girl, Zoe, arranges for a DNA test to prove his paternity, David can no longer ignore her obvious bids for his guidance and attention, and Caroline does her best to adjust to the family’s newest member. But very soon, it’s obvious that Zoe isn’t the shy and aimless girl she seems to be. As David discovers a Pandora’s box of lies Zoe has told, she begins insinuating herself into every corner of his family members' lives, creating a web of suspicion and mistrust among them. The Connollys realize Zoe has left broken relationships in her wake her whole life, and they must ask themselves how far they will go to keep from being another of her casualties. Perry (The Innocent Sleep, 2014)—actually the pen name of collaborators Karen Gillece and Paul Perry—gives us a convincing glimpse into the fragility of family life and the terrible burden that the past can put on domestic life. But the novel is too close to films like Single White Female or Cape Fear to feel like it’s covering new territory despite Perry’s valiant attempts to pull off some last-minute shocks.

A thriller that feels more familiar than frightening.

Pub Date: Feb. 6th, 2018
ISBN: 978-0-8050-9874-7
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Henry Holt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1st, 2017


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