In J.T. Ellison’s new standalone mystery, No One Knows, Aubrey and Josh Hamilton have been inseparable since they were tweens. He’s the son of a West Nashville tennis mom; she grew up in tough foster homes, the orphaned daughter of loving parents. Eventually they marry, and life is looking pretty good for the golden-boy med student and the pretty young teacher. Then Josh disappears, and though there’s no body, there is blood—lots of it. Authorities jail Aubrey as the prime suspect in his presumed murder, a crime her malevolent mother-in-law, Daisy, is all too happy to believe she committed. Ultimately Aubrey is acquitted for lack of evidence, but the community regards her as a gold-digger who killed her husband for $5 million in life insurance.
Five years later, on the day the state of Tennessee has officially declared Aubrey’s husband dead, the young teacher meets a man who reminds her of Josh, the only man she has ever loved. Over too many drinks, she tells him her story and proceeds to fall into bed with him. But just when she thinks she is finally moving on, blessedly coming out of a long fog of mourning, credible evidence surfaces to suggest that her husband isn’t dead at all.
“He’s alive,” the email subject line from an unknown sender reads. She opens the email, Ellison writes, and “The image began to scroll onto the screen, pixel by pixel. Dark and grainy, like an art house black-and-white. Except this wasn’t an art house photo. Aubrey’s hand went to her mouth to fight the sudden nausea that threatened to overtake her. Josh. Josh standing in a darkened corner, facing the camera. A woman’s white-blond hair hovering at his waistline. His eyes closed, head thrown back in ecstasy.”
J.T. Ellison is the New York Times-bestselling author of fifteen novels, including What Lies Behind, When Shadows Fall, and All the Pretty Girls, as well as co-author of the Nicholas Drummond series with Catherine Coulter. In a post on her website, she describes No One Knows as a “suburban thriller,” the story of “perfect marriage interrupted.”
No One Knows stands out most perhaps for characters who are so realistically crafted, so sufficiently complex that it’s difficult to conclude who is most, or least, sympathetic. No one in this novel is without serious lapses in judgment and fatal flaws. It’s an absorbing thriller with hairpin twists and turns that readers can’t possibly see coming.