In 1976 in New York City, Gina Engel was murdered in her front hall. The police believed the victim had known her attacker. But they had few suspects, and as time went on, the case remained unsolved. Yet the suspicions of those who knew Gina both intimately and from a distance continue to to plague them.
Gina’s son, Steven, discovered the body and caught only a fleeting glimpse of the killer as he fled. If only, he wonders again and again. As Lily Chin prepares for her upcoming wedding, her life is irrevocably changed when a mysterious woman appears to inform her of her fiancé’s secret life—a life that may have included Gina Engel. And more than a decade later Louise Carpanetti, the woman who received a call from the dying Gina, finally acknowledges that her own emotionally disturbed son may have committed the gruesome murder. As long as the murderer’s identity remains a mystery, all three must forever call into question the nature of the people closest to them.
Don’t I know You? is an intricate and devastating psychological drama told in three separate but interconnected narratives. Together those narratives unfold into a mystery that absorbs and thills, and lay out an examination of the human heart that is quetly dazzling in its emotional intelligence and elegant understatement. Shepard’s vision of how a murder’s effect reverberates outward inspires us to understand the limitations of intimate knowledge and the extraordinary capacities of the people we think we know best, even as it shows us how we repair those bonds and prepare ourselves to go on.
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Reviews and Praise:
“It succeeds brilliantly — like Shepard’s previous novels, “An Empire of Women” and “The Bad Boy’s Wife” — as a deft study of the mechanics of compromise. The perversely lopsided sway of power is evident in the relationships of teacher and student, rich fiancé and materialistic bride-to-be, dying widow and only child. Their different facets emerge as slowly and steadily as the details in an old Polaroid: first the quotidian foreground comes into focus, then an ominous backdrop shadows the picture with anxiety.” — The New York Times Book Review
“Riveting and deeply felt and true.” — Dave Eggers, author of A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
“Shepard’s masterful third book…leads to a conclusion that’s satisfying, haunting and well deserved.” — Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Shepard has found a voice here that is as strong and confident and full of wise observation.” — O magazine
“This is a book that haunts and tantalizes and possesses us long after the last page is turned.” — Tim O’Brien author of the Pulitzer Prize finalist The Things They Carried and National Book Award winner for Going After Cacciato
“A chilly, disquieting mystery in which the answer to the title is always ‘no.’” — Ron Hansen, author of Mariette in Ecstasy and the National Book Award finalist Atticus
“[This] cunningly crafted jigsaw puzzle is colored by vibrant prose and capped by a you’ll-never-guess conclusion.” — Entertainment Weekly