What You Don’t Know (JoAnn Chaney)


A crime like this isn’t only about the killer. There are others to consider . . . Seven years ago, Detective Paul Hoskins and his larger-than-life partner solved one of the biggest serial killer cases of the decade. They dug up 33 bodies in a crawlspace belonging to the beloved Jacky Seever, a pillar of the community and a successful businessman. Sammie Peterson was the lead reporter on the case. Her byline was on the front page of the newspaper every day. Seever’s wife, Gloria, claimed to be as surprised as everyone else. But when you get that close to a killer, can you really just move on? Today, Hoskins has been banished to the basement of the police station, Sammie is selling make-up at the shopping mall, and Gloria is trying to navigate a world where she can’t escape condemnation. Then a series of copycat killings take place, with the victims all connected to Seever. While Gloria is determined not to be forced into the spotlight again, Hoskins and Sammie see a chance to get their lives back. But it could mean forfeiting their humanity in the process . . . It isn’t over. It’ll never be over.

What You Don’t Know by JoAnn Chaney was an exceptionally well-written novel that focused on what happens to those who are connected to a crime. What a fascinating theme! We’re used to stories where we know all the details about murders although the story finishes when the bad guy is caught. But what happens next?

In What You Don’t Know, we have a creepy villain who has killed more than thirty women and stored them in a crawl space. So there’s Seever, his wife Gloria, the journalist that became famous by writing about him and the two cops who finally caught him. Seven years later, none of them are enjoying a great life and have all but forgotten about the man who made their lives so interesting. But then a series of new murders occur and the crimes seem to be linked to Seever. Is there a copycat killer in the streets? Is it something much more sinister? Can these people get their lives back on track?

What I liked the most about this book was the beautiful writing and the way the author introduced each section. “If this were a movie…” Being such a movie geek, I appreciated those details and thought the examples were spot on. Especially the last one: What You Don’t Know. The book also made me think about what would happen to me if I had been such a big part of a news story. Would everyone judge me because of that? Would I be able to move on? Who knows… I hope I never get to find out, haha.

I think this is a great book, but sadly, I didn’t like any of the characters and the choice of perspective made it harder for me to connect with them. And as much as I love mysteries, I absolutely need to feel immersed in the story in order to be able to fully enjoy it. As for the mystery, it wasn’t super predictable but nothing too surprising either, which left me a bit indifferent, to be honest.

In short, What You Don’t Know is a smart and elegant novel that will appeal to those who want to dive into a deep character study that doesn’t only focus on the crime but what happens after it. A compelling book that, perhaps, is missing some passion.

Buy Here

ARC – Mantle, 2017

20 thoughts on “What You Don’t Know (JoAnn Chaney)

  1. Renee says:

    30 women?? That’s a lot of murders! Sounds like there were good and not so good parts to this book. It’s always hard for me to when I can’t connect with at least 1 character. For me it makes for a lackluster read so I understand what your saying about a lack of passion:)


  2. bookbumzuky says:

    Sounds good but I’m also not so sure. I like my crime novels crime-y and my mystery novels character focused, so a character crime focused novel doesn’t sound that great a match for me, but fab review Annie!


  3. Diana says:

    Sounds like the book had potential but didn’t quite deliver.The writing does sound great though.

    As for being at the center of a news story like that one,you’ve made me think about that and I also hope never to find out.I know I wouldn’t survive it and would probably be forced to move to Mars under a new idebtity lol.Thought provoking though.


    • Annie says:

      It’d be our chance to become one of our book characters and dye our hair and cut it short and start a new life somewhere else haha And then we’d meet a handsome young man and… Okay okay, I’ll stop XD


  4. Donna says:

    OMG I love the “what happens next?” I often wonder about the aftermath of a crime and the lives left behind. The book sounds more like a “quiet” view on crime and its protagonists! Great review!


  5. Grab the Lapels says:

    I follow Gwen Florio on Twitter. She is famous mostly for her reporting on the multiple rape cases on the Missoula campus in Montana. I think she got a lot of grief for being a reporter then, but she still works in journalism, and she writes fiction, too.

    Liked by 1 person

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