An extraordinary, unputdownable debut novel exploring trauma, connection, and our cultural obsession with dead girls.
'Beautiful, brilliant and strangely joyous ... will have you in its thrall from its powerful first page to its superb conclusion.' Rose Carlyle, author of Girl in the Mirror
'Addictive and utterly captivating. I couldn't put it down.' Sarah Bailey, author of Where the Dead Go
'This astonishing debut turns the traditional crime story on its head ... Darkly funny, deeply insightful and completely heartbreaking.' Petronella McGovern, author of Six Minutes
'The most wonderful book. Unusual, beautiful, feminist, gripping, deserves to win prizes. I loved it so much.’ Marian Keyes, author of Grown Ups
This is not just another novel about a dead girl.
When she arrived in New York on her 18th birthday carrying nothing but $600 cash and a stolen camera, Alice Lee was looking for a fresh start. Now, just one month later, she is the city's latest Jane Doe, an unidentified murder victim.
Ruby Jones is also trying to start over; she travelled halfway around the world only to find herself lonelier than ever. Until she finds Alice's body by the Hudson River.
From this first, devastating encounter, the two women form an unbreakable bond. Alice is sure that Ruby is the key to solving the mystery of her life - and death. And Ruby - struggling to forget what she saw that morning - finds herself unable to let Alice go. Not until she is given the ending she deserves.
Before You Knew My Name doesn't ask whodunnit. Instead, this powerful, hopeful novel asks: Who was she? And what did she leave behind? The answers might surprise you.
'A wake-up call, beautifully written and unique feminist exploration of the crime fiction genre.' R.W.R. McDonald, author of The Nancys
'Unpredictable, devastating and original ... marks the arrival of a compelling new voice ... Thought-provoking and challenging.' Karen Viggers, author of The Lightkeeper's Wife
'Beguiling, heartbreaking and tender. Jacqueline Bublitz is a beautiful writer and in Alice Lee, she has created a vivid and sparkling narrator who mesmerised me from the very first page and still won't let me go.' Suzanne Leal, author of The Teacher's Secret
'An unputdownable debut - striking, moving, gripping throughout and so sharp on the things that unite us.’ Elizabeth Kay, author of Seven Lies
Bublitz's powerful, heartrending debut follows two jilted women who move to Manhattan. Alice Lee leaves small-town Wisconsin on her 18th birthday after her former teacher ends their affair. Ruby Jones, 36, departs Melbourne, Australia, when she realizes the coworker she's been sleeping with still intends to marry his fiancée. Though Alice and Ruby arrive in New York almost simultaneously and rent places mere streets from each other, their paths don't cross until a month later, when someone rapes and murders Alice in Riverside Park, and Ruby finds the corpse. Alice had no wallet and nobody reports her missing, so she becomes a Jane Doe. Her spirit lingers, however, nudging Ruby to investigate the true identity of "Riverside Jane" while living her own life more fully. Alice narrates from beyond the grave, intercutting her and Ruby's stories to maximize tension, resonance, and drive. Using keenly rendered characters and poignant prose, Bublitz crafts a richly textured, deeply feminist murder mystery that spotlights the victim rather than her killer. Readers will eagerly await Bublitz's next.
Mystery without the whodunnit in tribute to all the victims whose stories are lost beneath those of their killers. Beautifully crafted, vividly portrayed. The voice of Alice Lee is strong and powerful. Bublitz gives agency to the dead woman. Meanwhile we hope that Ruby will also find a new chapter, be re-born through Alice’s death, find a strength that betrayed her in the past.
God love Tammy. So real, that girl. A hero in her own right.
Superbly crafted. Uses wonderful language.
A thoroughly intriguing and enjoyable read. The storytelling and description of things is haunting and beautiful