What does the disappearance of wealthy 37-year-old Eloïse Shelley—wife, mother of two young children, and refugee activist—from her London home have to do with the dazed woman unable to remember who she is, dragging herself onto the beach of a remote Greek island? That appears to be the question around which British author Cooke’s unsettling debut psychological thriller revolves. But, as days pass and the outlook darkens, especially for the amnesiac castaway, who seems to have met up with four volatile chums on the island for a writers’ retreat, it starts to become clear that little is as it initially appears. Police begin to discover cracks in Eloïse’s marriage to workaholic corporate financier Lochlan—who has an ironclad Edinburgh alibi for the window of time when she vanished—as well as hints of some troubling mental health issues she has been hiding from her family. Cooke, who describes her own brushes with mental illness in a moving afterword, keeps the suspense high as the endangered castaway struggles to survive while back in London Eloïse’s family hunts for her with increasing desperation. Some readers, though, may feel that the author has unfairly withheld some key information. Agent: Alice Lutyens, Curtis Brown Literary (U.K.). (Jan.)
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A woman with no name. A wild, abandoned island. A family desperate for answers. A debut thriller like no other.
I Know My Name
On a small Greek island, a woman comes ashore with no memory of who she is, where she's from, or how she came to be shipwrecked there. Worse, she has no way of leaving. As she's nursed back to health by the island's only inhabitants, four friends on an annual retreat, she detects tensions between the group that suggest not all is quite as it seems. Her new acquaintances each appear to be hiding something–something that may relate to the mystery of her identity.
Meanwhile, in a pretty suburb on the outskirts of London, Eloise, the mother of a newborn and a toddler, vanishes into thin air. Her husband, Lochlan, is desperate to find her–but as the police look into the disappearance, it becomes clear that Lochlan and Eloise's marriage was not the perfect union it appeared.
As Lochlan races to discover his wife's whereabouts, Eloise enacts an investigation of her own. What both discover will place lives at risk and upend everything they thought they knew about their marriage, their past, and what lies in store for the future.
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"Haunting ... mysterious."—Entertainment Weekly (13 Books to Read in January)
"C. J. Cooke's I KNOW MY NAME is an astonishing thriller of lost memories, a lost wife and mother, and remarkable discoveries. With resonant themes, gorgeous writing and a stunning conclusion, this novel has catapulted onto my shortlist of the best suspense novels I've read all year."—Chevy Stevens, New York Times bestselling author of Still Missing
"Smart and intense, C. J. Cooke's I KNOW MY NAME is a masterfully written thriller that will lead you on a surprising journey. You won't be able to put this captivating book down."—Sara Blaedel, #1 international bestseller of the Louise Rick series
"Two stories two baffling mysteries... And when they come together, that's when the surprises really start. Gripping and tense. This is a book you will recommend to your friends."—R.L. Stine, New York Times bestselling author of the Goosebumps and Fear Street series
"An atmospheric, mysterious and intense read that resonates long after you turn the last page. It's a stunning psychological thriller, rich with mystery and full of heart."
—C. L. Taylor, internationally bestselling author of The Lie and Before I Wake
"Chilling and intelligent."—Nuala Ellwood, internationally bestselling author of My Sister's Bones
"Intense, thrilling and layered with issues of modern life, this is grip-lit at its best."—ELLE (UK)
"Cooke's concern for her subject matter as well as her characters shines through her crisp writing, and her novel takes on a layer of emotion not always found in psychological thrillers. A fast-paced novel that deftly strikes at the heart of what it means to survive traumatic personal and familial ruptures."—Kirkus Reviews
"Cooke keeps the suspense high as the endangered castaway struggles to survive while back in London Eloïse's family hunts for her with increasing desperation."—Publishers Weekly
"This psychological-suspense debut will appeal to fans of Mary Kubica, S. J. Watson, and B. A. Paris."—Booklist
When an Englishwoman disappears from her home, her husband is forced to acknowledge problems in their marriage and all he does not know about his wife and her troubled childhood.A woman is rescued just off Komméno Island, near Crete, and pulled to safety by four strangers on a writing retreat. Upon awakening, she discovers that her boat barely survived a storm and that she cannot remember her name, where she is from, or any other details about her life. The writers take care of her, but she becomes concerned about escalating tensions between the four of them and the implication that she won't be allowed to leave the island. Back in London, Lochlan receives a call at work from a neighbor who tells him his wife, Eloise, is gone and their two children, 4-year-old Max and 3-month-old Cressida, were left home alone. Over the next two weeks, Eloise works to recover her memory and keep herself safe from one of the writers, George, who's posing an increasingly erratic threat toward her and the others. In London, Lochlan calls on Eloise's maternal grandparents, Gerda and Magnus, to help him take care of the children and search for Eloise, who has disappeared without a trace. Secrets Lochlan has been hiding come out into the open, and in order to find Eloise, he, Gerda, and Magnus must all acknowledge painful family truths. As the search drags on, Lochlan realizes how consumed he's been with work, and he learns more about his wife's life and her childhood with a drug-addict mother. This debut novel builds in both intensity and nuance due to its rotating first-person narrative and perfectly paced plot. Cooke's concern for her subject matter as well as her characters shines through her crisp writing, and her novel takes on a layer of emotion not always found in psychological thrillers.A fast-paced novel that deftly strikes at the heart of what it means to survive traumatic personal and familial ruptures.