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Everything We Didn't Say by Nicole Baart
Thriller

Everything We Didn't Say

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by Nicole Baart

Excellent choice

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Quick take

Pushed out of her hometown after high school, a woman returns to solve the riddle of her family and a horrific crime.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Psychological

    Psychological

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_FamilyDrama

    Family drama

  • Illustrated icon, Icons_Rural_update

    Rural

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Whodunit

    Whodunit

Synopsis

Juniper Baker had just graduated from high school and was deep in the throes of a summer romance when Cal and Beth Murphy, a childless couple who lived on a neighboring farm, were brutally murdered. When her younger brother became the prime suspect, June’s world collapsed and everything she loved that summer fell away. She left, promising never to return to tiny Jericho, Iowa.

Until now. Officially, she’s back in town to help an ill friend manage the local library. But really, she’s returned to repair her relationship with her teenage daughter, who’s been raised by Juniper’s mother and stepfather since birth—and to solve the infamous Murphy murders once and for all. She knows the key to both lies in the darkest secret of that long-ago summer night, one that’s haunted her for nearly fifteen years.

As history begins to repeat itself and a dogged local true crime podcaster starts delving into the murders, the race to the truth puts past and present on a dangerous collision course. Juniper lands back in an all-too-familiar place with the answers to everything finally in her sights, but this time it’s her daughter’s life that hangs in the balance. Will revealing what really happened mean a fresh start? Or will the truth destroy everything Juniper loves for a second time? Baart once again brilliantly weaves mystery into family drama in this expertly-crafted novel for fans of Lisa Jewell and Megan Miranda.

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Free sample

Get an early look from the first pages of Everything We Didn't Say.
Everything We Didn't Say

CHAPTER 1

WINTER TODAY

The murders took place on a hot summer night, but to Juniper it would always be winter in Jericho. Bitter and unforgiving as deep February, when frost edged the windows like salt on the rim of a glass.

It seemed fitting, then, that it was dark and profoundly cold when Juniper pulled into town. In the glow of her headlights she could see that the welcome to jericho sign was riddled with bullet holes. Fifteen years ago there had been exactly three: puncture marks with saw-toothed edges that, if connected, would form a nearly perfect isosceles triangle over the yellow block letters of her hometown. They seemed intentional at the time. A warning, maybe, or a vulgar homage to three different bullets that had taken a much deadlier trajectory. But even barreling down Highway 20 at sixty miles an hour in the raw black of a February night, Juniper could see that the sign had become a target of sorts. At least a dozen holes had been punched through the metal, and the indentations of buckshot dimpled the gaping O.

A shot-up welcome sign was certainly an inauspicious reception—she could hardly believe that in all these years the city council had never bothered to replace it—but she harbored no illusions that her return to Jericho would be a happy homecoming. It was why she timed her arrival for the middle of the night and told Cora to slip the house key in the mailbox of the bungalow. Juniper had rented it, sight unseen, on a six-month lease. She doubted she’d make it that long.

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Why I love it

As a reader of mysteries, I have a bad habit: I always try to guess reveals before they happen. So, when I find a book that consistently remains two steps ahead of me—and then jolts me with a perfect shock of an ending? First, I get chills. Then, I want to tell everyone I know about it.

In Everything We Didn’t Say, Nicole Baart has gifted mystery- and suspense-lovers an emotionally affecting story of a woman confronting past trauma. The summer after her high school graduation, Juniper Baker’s neighbors, Cal and Beth Murphy, were brutally murdered on their farm in Jericho, Iowa, and Juniper’s beloved brother was named the primary suspect. When Juniper returns home fifteen years later, she finds both the community and her family still fractured from the unsolved killings. Pulled into investigating the cold case, Juniper unearths long-buried secrets, including her own deliberately unexamined memories of that one explosive night years before.

Baart is masterful with plot twists, but what makes the book so special is how she roots the puzzle of who killed the Murphys in emotional truths: Jericho is populated by characters so real that they’ll break your heart before they mend it. I picked up Everything We Didn’t Say with the best intentions of pacing myself, but read late into the night, gripped by suspicion and concern, feeling the frosty chill of the gorgeously described Iowan winter. An utterly riveting whodunit as well as a moving exploration of why we lie to those we love, Everything We Didn’t Say is an absolute stunner.

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Member ratings (31,022)

  • Sawyer V.

    Florence, AL

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ When I say I could not put this down, I mean it! I think I finished this book in two sittings because the characters and mystery envelop you, making you feel like you’re right there with em

  • Madison F.

    Bondurant, IA

    4/5⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Slow start but then I was hooked by midway and had to know the ending. Characters were “messy”, imperfect, and complicated which I appreciated. Some threads left loose at the end.

  • Jennifer K.

    Denver, CO

    I enjoyed this book. I wish there was more “after” chapters. Such a big build up to no follow through kills me. But I really enjoyed the book anyways. Loved the concept, characters were decent. 4.5⭐️

  • Erin P.

    Omaha, NE

    “Thriller” is not the right word. It’s a mystery filled with heartbreak, complicated family secrets, and beautiful writing. It was a surprise and exceeded my expectations! Spoke to the Iowa girl in me

  • Ashley D.

    Lancaster, NY

    This book consumed my evenings until I finished it!The characters were beautifully written,minus Cora.She’s the reason June came back,but her character was very 1D,and forgotten about. But overall, ❤️

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