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No One You Know by Michelle Richmond Review

Title: No One You Know

Author: Michelle Richmond

First published January 1, 2008

307 pages, Hardcover

ISBN: 9780385340137 (ISBN10: 0385340133)

Rating: 3.53


Michelle Richmond’s No One You Know, a gripping literary thriller, follows Ellie Enderlin, whose entire life was shaped by the untimely death of her sister Lila, a brilliant math student at Stanford, in a crime that remains unsolved. When Ellie meets Peter, a former academic, in a remote village in Nicaragua, he gives her Lila’s treasured notebook, filled with mathematical equations, that was not found with her body.

Ellie returns home to unravel the mysteries of the notebook and discovers a hundred-year-old mathematical puzzle, a hidden lover, and the man who profited from her family’s tragedy. As she delves into Lila’s secrets, Ellie uncovers shocking revelations about herself and her family.

This novel is a stunning exploration of the lies we tell ourselves and others, and the secrets we keep, from strangers, lovers, and our own families. With its lyrical prose and unforgettable characters, No One You Know is an enthralling read that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end.

About the Author

Hello there! Thank you for taking the time to visit. If you’re interested in reading my serial novella, you can sign up for my newsletter at michellerichmond.substack.com.

Aside from my novella, I also like to share books that I love and give glimpses into my writing life on TikTok, where you can follow me at @michellerichmondwriter.

I am originally from Alabama, but I have been living in California for the past 20 years, with a two-year stint in Paris. My literary thriller, The Marriage Pact, which became a Sunday Times bestseller in 2017, explores the concept of marriage under intense scrutiny from a powerful organization called The Pact.

While The Pact claims to help couples have a happy and long-lasting marriage, the consequences for breaking their rules are severe. This novel has been translated into 31 languages.

My latest novel, The Wonder Test, is a suburban suspense story set in Silicon Valley and was published by Grove Atlantic in 2021. It was even named an Amazon Best Book of July! In a starred review, Booklist called The Wonder Test “a gripping blend of danger and sharp social commentary on high-stakes education, the 1%, and suburban tropes.” This is the first book in a series, with FBI agent Lina Connerly as the new protagonist, along with her teenage son, Rory.

If you would like to receive exclusive previews, free audio short stories, and serialized fiction, sign up for my newsletter at michellerichmond.substack.com. You can also read my true stories about living in Paris, traveling, and writing on my website, wanderingwriter.substack.com.

My previous books include The Year of Fog, which became a New York Times bestseller, Golden State, Hum: Stories, No One You Know, Dream of the Blue Room, and The Girl in the Fall-Away Dress (a collection of short stories). My writing tends to focus on ordinary people in crisis, such as a kidnapping in The Year of Fog, a hostage situation in Golden State, and a decades-old murder that became a true crime sensation in No One You Know.

While most of my works are set in San Francisco and the Bay Area, they are also inspired by the other places where I have lived and traveled. My collection of short stories, Hum (2014), features Americans caught up in espionage, surveillance, and various marital crimes.

If you’re a book lover, or if you have enjoyed any of my books, I would be delighted to send you my author newsletter! It contains notes on what I’m reading and dispatches from my writing life. You can sign up for the newsletter at michellerichmond.substack.com.

A little bit about my background: I’ve known that I wanted to be a writer since I was a kid growing up in Alabama. My sisters and I used to write skits to perform for our parents.

After graduating from a large public school in downtown Mobile, I studied journalism and creative writing at the University of Alabama. I worked in advertising, as well as in restaurants and a tanning salon, for a few years before enrolling in an MFA program in creative writing.

I lived in various parts of the South and spent a couple of years in New York City, with a brief work stint in Beijing, before settling in Northern California in 1999. I’ve been writing here in the fog ever since.

My first book, The Girl in the Fall-Away Dress, was a collection of short stories that I wrote while waitressing and doing other odd jobs in Knoxville and Atlanta. My first novel, Dream of the Blue Room, was inspired by my time in Beijing.

The Year of Fog received many rejections before being acquired by a young editor at Bantam, but it ultimately changed my life by allowing me to connect with readers in ways I never imagined, and it gave me the freedom to pursue writing full-time. Writing is my dream job.

Although I write alone in a quiet room, it never feels lonely because it allows me to connect with readers.

Editoral Review

Michelle Richmond’s debut novel, No One You Know, is a gripping tale that explores the complex relationships between siblings, the nature of memory, and the consequences of secrets held tight over time. The book was first published on January 1, 2008, and weaves a suspenseful mystery in a poignant, beautifully written narrative.

The story centers around Ellie Enderlin, a successful author, who returns to her hometown in California to unravel the truth about her sister’s murder 20 years ago. Lila, her sister, was a brilliant mathematician who dreamed of revolutionizing the field with her groundbreaking work.

But her ambition and brilliance were cut short when she was found dead in her bedroom, and no concrete evidence was found to solve the case. Ellie, driven by her insatiable curiosity to know the truth, starts to investigate her sister’s murder, and in doing so, she uncovers her family’s secrets and the truth behind her sister’s death.

Through her investigations, Ellie revisits her relationship with her sister, her complicated family history, and her own identity. The novel is a gripping page-turner, and readers are drawn into Ellie’s story with every chapter.

One of Richmond’s strengths is how she writes about memory and the unreliability of hindsight. The book is exceptionally well-crafted, and Richmond writes with elegance and sophistication.

The pacing is spot-on, and the plot thickens with every twist and turn. The characters are multifaceted, and the sibling relationship between Ellie and Lila is profoundly imagined.

No One You Know is a mystery novel, but it is also a poignant reflection of sibling relationships and memory. Richmond tackles complex themes, such as family secrets, guilt, and ambition with a deft hand.

The novel is not just a thrilling read, it is also a meditation on our flawed relationships and the stories we tell ourselves to cope with our past. Richmond’s writing is full of nuance and her ability to capture emotion is remarkable.

The book is a compelling debut that leaves a strong impression on readers. It will resonate with anyone who has had to come to terms with their past or navigate complicated family relationships.

If there are any flaws, it would be that the ending feels slightly rushed, and the resolution can feel underwhelming. However, Richmond’s strengths outweigh any weaknesses.

In conclusion, No One You Know is an exceptional debut novel that delves deep into complex human relationships and memory. The book is a compelling mystery story that captivates the reader right from the start.

The themes are universal, and the writing is remarkable. We highly recommend this book to anyone who loves well-written mystery novels that tackle deeper themes.

We give No One You Know a solid 4.5 stars out of 5.