11 May 2021

Review: Before You Knew My Name by Jacqueline Bublitz

Before You Knew My Name by Jacqueline Bublitz book cover
* Copy courtesy of Allen & Unwin *


This is the story of a person who discovers a female victim of crime. If you watch the news, listen to true crime podcasts, watch true crime documentaries or read any crime or true crime books (tick, tick, tick, tick and tick) then you'll be familiar with the fact that human remains are most often found by members of the public. People like you or me. Joggers, dog walkers, bushwalkers, beachcombers and those just enjoying the outdoors, can end up discovering a person by sheer accident. In this novel, Ruby is one such person. 

Author Jacqueline Bublitz takes a unique approach in this novel by focussing on what happens after a member of the public discovers a victim of crime. Presumably their lives are turned upside down, but how do they process the randomness of their discovery and deal with the aftermath? In Before You Knew My Name, Bublitz seeks to find out when Ruby finds the remains of a Jane Doe by the Hudson River in New York. The connection between Ruby and the unidentified murder victim known as Riverside Jane is strengthened and in a unique narrative style, we slowly learn more about Jane's life leading up to the point it was snatched away.

Violence against women and public safety is an important theme in this book, as is the public's obsession with female victims of crime. But don't worry, it doesn't suggest all men are evil and certainly doesn't pretend to have all the answers. This is a story about finding connections in a big city and the generosity of others and I particularly enjoyed the inclusion of the online sleuths who attempt to solve cases like these; both in the book and in real life.
"These are the men and women who dedicate themselves to solving cold cases, who learn the names of the official investigators assigned to these cases, and don't hesitate to share their theories with both the police and each other. These self-taught criminologists share concerns about under-resourced police departments and clues potentially missed; they are a small army advancing through the nation of the dead. Points are scored if they can pair a recently discovered Jane or John with a known missing person." Page 195
Before You Knew My Name is not a whodunnit or a whydunnit and doesn't focus on the perpetrator at all. Instead, Jacqueline Bublitz offers a refreshingly unique premise that kept me engaged and is recommended for crime and thriller readers - both new and seasoned - looking for a new perspective.

You can seize this book at Booktopia.


My Rating:


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