Look For Her

Allison & Busby, London / 19th October 2017
HarperCollins, New York / February 13th, 2018

Lilling might seem like an idyllic English village, but it’s home to a dark history. In 1976, a teenage girl named Annalise Wood disappeared, and though her body was later discovered, the culprit was never found. Decades later, Annalise maintains a perverse kind of celebrity, and is still the focus of grief, speculation, and for one young woman, a disturbing, escalating jealousy.

Lilling might seem like an idyllic English village, but it’s home to a dark history. In 1976, a teenage girl named Annalise Wood disappeared, and though her body was later discovered, the culprit was never found. Decades later, Annalise maintains a perverse kind of celebrity, and is still the focus of grief, speculation, and for one young woman, a disturbing, escalating jealousy.

When DNA linked to the Annalise murder unexpectedly surfaces, cold case detective Morris Keene and his former partner, Chloe Frohmann, hope to finally bring closure to this traumatized community. But the new evidence instead undoes the case’s only certainty: the buried body that had long ago been confidently identified as Annalise may be someone else entirely, and instead of answers, the investigators face only new puzzles.

Whose body was unearthed all those years ago, and what happened to the real Annalise? Could she have had a secret child? Is someone interfering with the investigation, and is there a link to a present-day drowning with eerie connections? With piercing insight and shocking twists, Emily Winslow explores the dark side of sensationalized crime in this haunting psychological thriller.

FROM THE FIRST PAGE:
My mother picked the name Annalise for me because of a girl who was killed. Her name was Annalise Wood, and she went missing when she was sixteen. My mother was the same age when it happened. Annalise was lovely, much prettier than my sister and I ever became. She was the kind of girl you look at and think, "Of course someone would want to take her."
FROM THE FIRST PAGE:

Annalise Williams (Wolfson College),
University Counselling Service,
recorded and transcribed by Dr. Laurie Ambrose

My mother picked the name Annalise for me because of a girl who was killed. Her name was Annalise Wood, and she went missing when she was sixteen. My mother was the same age when it happened. Annalise was lovely, much prettier than my sister and I ever became. She was the kind of girl you look at and think, "Of course someone would want to take her."

Don’t look at me like that. I know that what happened to her was awful. It just seems a very fine line between being the kind of person that others want to be with and be like and treat well, and being the kind of person that some others, just a few, sick others, want to take for themselves. That’s the same kind of person, isn’t it? The loved and lovely. Isn’t that from a poem somewhere? That’s what she was like. That’s the risk when you’re the kind of person who’s wanted. Good people want to be close to you, but the bad people want you too.

There were two photos of her that the media used most: her most recent school portrait, and a snapshot of her laughing, with the friends on either side cropped out. Taken together, they presented the two sides of a beautiful and perfect person: poised and thoughtful, and spontaneous and bubbly. The kind of person who deserves help and attention.

Realistically, if they wanted these pictures to help strangers identify her if they saw her out and about with the bad man, they should have used photos of her frowning or looking frightened. Either there weren’t any (which may well be the case; who would take a photo of that?), or they couldn’t bring themselves to advertise a version of her that was less than appealing. The narrative is important. If you want the “general public” to get worked up, you have to persuade. Attractiveness and innocence must be communicated, even if emphasising those traits makes the real person harder to recognise.

In the end, she was already dead, so it’s a good thing, I suppose, that they used the nice photos. They’re the images that everyone remembers. My mum was a teenager when those pictures were in the paper every day for weeks, then weekly for months. Annalise Wood was the most beautiful girl in the world. Everyone cared about her. It’s what any mother would wish for her child, to be the kind of person that everyone would care about and miss if she disappeared.

It wasn’t until Mum was over thirty that what really happened to Annalise Wood was discovered.

REVIEWS

An intriguing, suspenseful, and briskly paced story with complex characters, evocative descriptions of England’s Cambridgeshire, plenty of clever misdirection, and a satisfying ending.” Kirkus

“Using multiple narrators, as she did in The Start of Everything, Winslow spins the plot to a satisfying and humane conclusion, with Keene and Frohmann again proving to be a winning pair.” Booklist

“Winslow’s kaleidoscopic narrative technique, employing first-person accounts from multiple characters, makes for engaging reading.” Publishers Weekly

Look For Her was my introduction to the beautifully complex Keene and Frohmann series by Emily Winslow.

This is a straightforward case that escalates over the course of the novel. There are a few gorgeous twists and turns, on the way. Deaths in the present day. Surprise secret off-spring. Dysfunctional families. The haunting of an entire community by a shocking death. You completely get a sense of a community adrift and still feeling the after effects of the death of the infamous Annalise.

Haunting and fabulous, multi-layered and intelligent. We get some great characterisation. I particularly was drawn to Dr Laurie Ambrose and her counselling sessions, together with her complex grief on the death of her husband. A series to discover and fall in love with.” Northern Crime

“With her trademark skill in weaving together multiple perspectives and voices, Emily Winslow paints a complex and compelling portrait of a cold case that is far from dead and buried.

From the opening lines of Look for Her, a psychologist’s transcript of a session with a client, Winslow’s talent for characterisation and building suspense is once again on display.

The alternating first-person narrative structure places readers deep inside the minds of characters (old and new), offering unfettered access to their hopes and fears, rational or otherwise. Very few of the characters are endearing, but the combination of raw emotion and psychological sophistry is beguiling.

Look for Her is the most devious and cleverly plotted mystery from Winslow yet….And the denouement, intelligent and truly unexpected….If you enjoy gritty drama, literary thrillers and compelling crime puzzles, I wholeheartedly recommend Emily Winslow’s Look for Her and entire back catalogue.” —Booklover Book Reviews

“Winslow’s novel is a compulsive page-turner….Anna Williams is definitely the most complex and interesting character in this novel, but Winslow’s narrative is packed with them. From lost, grieving Dr Laurie Ambrose to naïve, vulnerable Hannah-Claire. All of Winslow’s characters will have you hanging on their every word and desperately waiting for the next plot-twist….I would highly recommend this book to any thriller/mystery lover who takes joy in indulging in brilliant characterisation and suspense. Watch out for this novel, it is going to be big!” —The Bookbag and The Book Blossom

“When the truth is finally revealed, it was not what I imagined and I was genuinely surprised with the ending! This novel would appeal to fans of mystery novels and those who enjoy novels set around cold case investigations. The one piece of advice I can give you, if you read this is trust no one! 4*” —Anne bonny book reviews

“LOOK FOR HER is a nuanced, thought-provoking portrait of a crime and its aftermath. Beautifully written with an expertly twisty, surprising story, this is a must-read!” — Chevy Stevens, New York Times bestselling author of NEVER LET YOU GO

“A match to the DNA found on a long-dead girl’s clothing makes the case look open and shut, but nothing is easy or simple, thanks to Winslow’s delightfully devious mind. Surprising and satisfying, you won’t be able to stop turning the pages of LOOK FOR HER.” Karen Dionne, author THE MARSH KING’S DAUGHTER

“LOOK FOR HER ratchets up the tension while also offering moments of sheer grace. The cold case at the novel’s heart–and the chorus of voices obsessed with it–linger long after the last page is turned.” Riley Sager, bestselling author of FINAL GIRLS

Look For Her
By Emily Winslow