Whistle in the Dark by Emma Healey
A Novel

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And the ending, in which Jen retraces her daughter’s actual footsteps, feels both cathartic and satisfying – more so than any high-concept shock twist could have been.
-Guardian

Synopsis

Emma Healey follows the success of her #1 internationally bestselling debut novel Elizabeth Is Missing, winner of the Costa First Novel Award, with this beautiful, thought-provoking, and psychologically complex tale that affirms her status as one of the most inventive and original literary novelists today.

Jen and Hugh Maddox have just survived every parent’s worst nightmare.

Relieved, but still terrified, they sit by the hospital bedside of their fifteen-year-old daughter, Lana, who was found bloodied, bruised, and disoriented after going missing for four days during a mother-daughter vacation in the country. As Lana lies mute in the bed, unwilling or unable to articulate what happened to her during that period, the national media speculates wildly and Jen and Hugh try to answer many questions.

Where was Lana? How did she get hurt? Was the teenage boy who befriended her involved? How did she survive outside for all those days? Even when she returns to the family home and her school routine, Lana only provides the same frustrating answer over and over: "I can’t remember."

For years, Jen had tried to soothe the depressive demons plaguing her younger child, and had always dreaded the worst. Now she has hope—the family has gone through hell and come out the other side. But Jen cannot let go of her need to find the truth. Without telling Hugh or their pregnant older daughter Meg, Jen sets off to retrace Lana’s steps, a journey that will lead her to a deeper understanding of her youngest daughter, her family, and herself.

A wry, poignant, and masterfully drawn story that explores the bonds and duress of family life, the pain of mental illness, and the fraught yet enduring connection between mothers and daughters, Whistle in the Dark is a story of guilt, fear, hope, and love that explores what it means to lose and find ourselves and those we love.

 

About Emma Healey

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Emma Healey holds a degree in bookbinding and an MA in Creative Writing. Elizabeth is Missing is her first novel. She lives in London, where she was raised.
 
Published July 24, 2018 by Harper. 336 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Whistle in the Dark
All: 3 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 1

Star Tribune

Above average
Reviewed by Chris Hewitt on Jul 20 2018

Jen’s relationships with her elder daughter and her own mother get less page time in “Whistle,” but they are equally credible. In fact, the only underdrawn character is Jen’s husband/Lana’s dad. He does have a name, but it’s barely worth recalling...

Read Full Review of Whistle in the Dark: A Novel | See more reviews from Star Tribune

Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Jenny Colgan on May 30 2018

And the ending, in which Jen retraces her daughter’s actual footsteps, feels both cathartic and satisfying – more so than any high-concept shock twist could have been.

Read Full Review of Whistle in the Dark: A Novel | See more reviews from Guardian

Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Arifa Akbar on May 13 2018

But just as Healey’s last novel was not a crime story, nor a comedy but a blend of both, this too is written between genres. The crime detection is mixed in with the social satire of modern family life and middle-class motherhood.

Read Full Review of Whistle in the Dark: A Novel | See more reviews from Guardian

Reader Rating for Whistle in the Dark
65%

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