Book Review: What You Don’t Know by JoAnn Chaney
Years after a serial killer took victims and traumatized everyone involved in the case, a copycat begins murdering again.
There’s a lot we don’t know in What You Don’t Know.
And just when you think you do know, trust me, you don’t know. You know?
The story centers around a few main players. Jacky is the serial killer with an affinity for dressing up as a clown. Gloria is his willingly clueless wife. Paul is the detective who investigated the case and was psychologically stained in the process. Sammie is the cutthroat reporter who sleeps and sleazes her way into a good story.
Years later, Jacky is safely in jail and the other characters are living in the disappointing shadow the case created in their lives.
When the murders begin again in the same style and manner of Jacky’s, this time going after the survivors of the first go-round, Paul and the gang struggle to figure out what’s going on before they become victims themselves.
What You Don’t Know is gritty. It’s tough and shocking and graphic.
JoAnn Chaney is great at throwing in false leads and twists.
In my review for The River at Night, I talked about the phenomenon that happens in a lot of books and movies in which people, when challenged, become insta-heroes. They don’t cower in the face of danger. They take danger and kick it in the nards!!
The players in What You Don’t Know are much more realistic. They’re scarred and damaged from their traumas.
In the aftermath of dealing with Jacky’s dark mind, they’ve become cynical, violent, and, frankly, a bunch of losers.
Their careers were supposed to soar. They tanked instead.
Now that a killer has returned, will this be their chance for redemption?
These characters aren’t heroes and aren’t virtuous. They’re so flawed that suspicion hangs on every one of them. The lines between good and evil are a bit more murky in this book.
Of course, the ultimate evil is the killer. There’s no denying that. But being “not the killer” doesn’t necessarily make the other people good. They’re still a motley crew of opportunists, hotheads, and control freaks who take their personal vices to such extremes that it ruins lives of the people around them.
They may not be murderers, but they’re not the shining beacons you’d expect to see in survivors.
It’s refreshing, sometimes, so be able to see the grit and dirt clinging to people. Characters don’t all have to be squeaky clean and pure of heart.