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And She Was by Alison Gaylin
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And She Was

by Alison Gaylin

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I bought this ebook because it sounded interesting and because it was discounted. It ended up exceeding my expectations. I love it when that happens.

Brenna Spector is a single mother working as a P.I. after her divorce. (By the way, I thought it was refreshing that the author didn't demonize the ex, which happens so much in books nowadays.) Brenna suffers from a rare disorder that gives her the ability (and curse) to recall every detail of her life. As a child, Brenna watched her older sister get into a strange blue car, never to be seen again. Not only did this event kick-start her disorder, but it continues to color many other aspects of her life.

Brenna is hired by the husband of a woman named Carol Wentz, who has disappeared. Brenna eventually uncovers the fact that Carol was doing some investigating of her own -- into the disappearance of a neighboring child years before.

The story has twists you don't see coming, and interesting backstory interspersed with the plot. What I really loved was Brenna's burgeoning friendship with police Detective Nick Morasco. Whether exploring Brenna's lingering feelings and regrets about her ex, or the guilt and fear of a possible new relationship, the author did a terrific job of making you feel what the characters did, while avoiding cliches.

I will definitely be reading Alison Gaylin's next book. ( )
  dorie.craig | Jun 22, 2017 |
From Amazon:

Gaylin’s And She Was introduces a remarkable new protagonist: Brenna Spector, a missing persons investigator afflicted with Hyperthymestic Syndrome, a rare disorder that enables her to remember every moment of every day of her life. A twisting mystery, both chilling and surprising, And She Was sets the haunted investigator on the trail of a missing child who vanished more than a decade earlier—a case with disturbing echoes in Brenna’s own scrupulously remembered past.

My Thoughts:

Gaylin introduces an interesting character in Brenna Spector, who, because of childhood trauma, cannot forget anything once it enters her head. Everything she has seen, heard, read, or experienced since she was eleven years old is embossed on her long-term memory. While this has its advantages, she can't prioritize, can't shirk pain, and can't stop crippling waves of full-sensory memory intruding on the present. It doesn't sound like much of a blessing to me. Harlan Coben...one of my fvorite authors... endorses this book on the cover. The plot very much resembles one of his because the twists keep coming and building upon each other. I was impressed how Gaylin is able to reveal each piece of information in such a logical manner. The plot just flows naturally. If you have an affinity for well written suspense novels that keep you guessing right up until the last chapter, this should be added to your TBR list.
( )
  Carol420 | May 31, 2016 |
AUTHOR Gaylin, Alison
TITLE: And She Was
DATE READ: 02/08/2016
RATING 5/A
GENRE/PUB DATE/PUBLISHER/# OF PGS Suspense/ 2012 / Harper / 355 pgs
SERIES/STAND-ALONE: #1 Brenna Spector
CHARACTERS Brenna Spector /Private Investigator for Missing Persons
TIME/PLACE: 2009 / NY
FIRST LINES Are you ready, Brenna? Dr. Lieberman says.
COMMENTS: Loved it! Brenna Spector is a missing persons investigator, she has a rare neurological disorder -- hyperthymestic syndrome. This autobiographical memory allows her to recall everything perfectly w/ all 5 senses. Sometimes a great help … and sometimes a hindrance in allowing her to move forward w/ her life. She came to her profession due to a personal struggle -- her sister went missing when Clea was a teenager and has never been found. She is divorced w/ a teenage daughter that lives w/ her father and his new wife. Brenna's assistant, Trent, is basically the male version of a bimbo in looks but don't let that fool you … he's an ace researcher and has created a software that ages the missing person to get a fairly accurate representation of what they would look like now. Brenna is hired by a wimpy man, Nelson Wentz, when his wife suddenly disappears. To Nelson their life was fine and he is unaware of not only many of Carol's actions but also her feelings. Nelson and Carol a childless couple in their 50's live in suburban NY. Eleven years earlier, Iris, a young child of one of their neighbors vanishes. Brenna discovers Carol had an obsessive interest in Iris… ( )
  pammykn | Feb 9, 2016 |
In 1998 six-year-old Iris Neff disappears. Carol Wentz was at a neighborhood party with her mother and when Iris asked her for some juice and then didn't like the flavor Carol gave her, Carol was abrupt with her. When the little girl disappeared, Carol felt partly responsible.

Eleven years later, Carol vanishes. Missing person investigator Brenna Spector enters the search. Brenna has the unique ability to remember every detail of every day of her life.

Brenna works with Carol's husband who seems baffled at the whole disappearance. When Brenna informs him that his wife had joined a chat group for missing people, her husband claimed that he didn't even know his wife could use the computer.

Intelligently written and with good literary style, we observe Brenna investigating the case and interviewing the people in the small town where this takes place.

The story is darkly realistic as we wonder how many things can go wrong with a police investigation. At the end, Brenna shows us what she's made of and leads the case to a satisfying conclusion. ( )
  mikedraper | Aug 8, 2012 |
With a main character who has a bizarre medical condition that is both a blessing and a curse- Brenna can remember any situation, any moment in time, but she can be thrown into those memories involuntarily by a smell or a snippet of conversation that acts as a trigger. She has been this way ever since her older sister got into a car one day and disappeared. Now Brenna searches for other lost people, hoping all the time to somehow unlock the key to finding her sister.

The story here revolves around another missing child and a recent murder that seems linked to that long ago disappearance. The plot is tight, the writing wonderful, and the end a complete surprise. Brenna's family story and her interactions with others make her an incredibly engaging character. In combination with the strength of the underlying plot, this book is certainly a must-read for any fan of mysteries and thrillers.

Highly recommended! ( )
  ForeignCircus | Feb 13, 2012 |
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For my beloved dad Bob Sloane
and favorite aunt Myrna Lebov,
alive forever in my heart -- and memory.
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September 20, 2009


Carol Wentz's life now had a "before" and an "after."
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0061878200, Mass Market Paperback)

On a summer afternoon in 1998, six-year-old Iris Neff walked away from a barbecue in her small suburban town . . . and vanished.

Missing persons investigator Brenna Spector has a rare neurological disorder that enables her to recall every detail of every day of her life. A blessing and a curse, it began in childhood, when her older sister stepped into a strange car never to be seen again, and it’s proven invaluable in her work. But it hasn’t helped her solve the mystery that haunts her above all others—and it didn’t lead her to little Iris. When a local woman, Carol Wentz, disappears eleven years later, Brenna uncovers bizarre connections between the missing woman, the long-gone little girl . . . and herself.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:42 -0400)

From an Edgar Award nominee ("Hide Your Eyes") comes the haunting story of a female missing persons investigator whose hunt for a local woman, whereabouts unknown, connects her to a long-lost child and her own dark past.

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