No One Knows by J.T. Ellison is a missing person mystery. Or is it? Told from multiple perspectives with a fractured timeline, the main character is Aubry Hamilton, the wife of the missing man. Josh is missing and now presumed to be dead, since the “today” portion of the story is five years following his death.
The clues about his disappearance are few and far between, and Aubry has done more grieving than attempting to solve the mystery. She’s a elementary school teacher, with a questionable past and a childhood spent in foster care. She and Josh have known each other since they were kids at the same school. Ellison keeps the story jumping around from past to present, and following closely is a must for readers.
Aubry’s narrative voice is joined by her mother-in-law Daisy, and her new guy Chase. Chase’s presence was a plotting miss for me. This is a man who’s a writer, and yet Aubry never questions his motives. Her best friend Megan trusts no one, but accepts Chase. I found it tremendously hard to believe that either of these women would be so trusting. But I would have set my questions aside if the ending had felt stronger.
The story takes place in Nashville, which is a nice change from more typical cities. But aside from using some actual locations, there isn’t anything about Ellison’s plot development that makes the story uniquely Southern. It would have added to the complexity of the story, which was ultimately pretty formulaic.
The alternating narrators, Teri Schnaubelt and Nick Poehlmann were great. Once I started listening to this book, I was caught. I ignored everything I should have done. And then the ending just left me flat. It didn’t live up to the rest of the book, and I was disappointed.
No One Knows was like riding a freight train that hits a curve wrong and never quite regains it’s balance or speed. The ending was flat and rushed, as if Ellison knew she needed to end the book but hadn’t entirely found the right twists. I wanted a better resolution because the first ¾ of the story was pulling me with great determination. Don’t you just hate when that happens? I’ll give it 2.5 stars generously rounded up to 3.