cover image I Know My Name

I Know My Name

C.J. Cooke. Grand Central, $26 (384p) ISBN 978-1-5387-4444-4

What does the disappearance of wealthy 37-year-old Eloïse Shelley—wife, mother of two young children, and refugee activist—from her London home have to do with the dazed woman unable to remember who she is, dragging herself onto the beach of a remote Greek island? That appears to be the question around which British author Cooke’s unsettling debut psychological thriller revolves. But, as days pass and the outlook darkens, especially for the amnesiac castaway, who seems to have met up with four volatile chums on the island for a writers’ retreat, it starts to become clear that little is as it initially appears. Police begin to discover cracks in Eloïse’s marriage to workaholic corporate financier Lochlan—who has an ironclad Edinburgh alibi for the window of time when she vanished—as well as hints of some troubling mental health issues she has been hiding from her family. Cooke, who describes her own brushes with mental illness in a moving afterword, keeps the suspense high as the endangered castaway struggles to survive while back in London Eloïse’s family hunts for her with increasing desperation. Some readers, though, may feel that the author has unfairly withheld some key information. Agent: Alice Lutyens, Curtis Brown Literary (U.K.). (Jan.)