The Bullet

The Bullet

Nothing is what it seems in NPR correspondent Mary Louise Kelly’s “riveting, twisty tale” (Hallie Ephron, author of Night Night, Sleep Tight), in which a woman discovers a decades-old bullet at the base of her neck.

Caroline Cashion is stunned when an MRI reveals that she has a bullet lodged near the base of her skull. It makes no sense: she has never been shot. She has no scar. When she confronts her parents, she learns the truth: she was adopted when she was three years old, after her real parents were murdered in cold blood. Caroline had been there the night of the attack, and she’d been hit by a single gunshot to the neck. Buried too deep among vital nerves and blood vessels, the surgeons had left it, and stitched up the traumatized little girl with the bullet still inside.

Now, thirty-four years later, Caroline returns to her hometown to learn whatever she can about who her parents were, and why they died. A cop who worked the case reveals that even after all these years, police still don’t have enough evidence to nail their suspect.

The bullet in Caroline’s neck could identify the murderer... and that person will do anything to keep it out of the law’s hands. Now Caroline will have to decide: run for her life, or stay and fight?

With non-stop action, “an extremely likable narrator and twists and turns galore” (Alice LaPlante, author of Turn of Mind), The Bullet will keep you riveted until the very last page.


Mary Louise Kelly discusses her latest novel, 'The Bullet'

Former NPR correspondent Mary Louise Kelly's latest novel concerns a woman who discovers a bullet at the base of her neck that's tied to her parents' murder from decades before.

Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for The Bullet includes an introduction, discussion questions, and ideas for enhancing your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.



Caroline Cashion is a mild-mannered professor of French with a stable, loving family and a happy, if uneventful, life. She never expects that a checkup for wrist pain would lead to the shocking revelation that there is a bullet embedded in her neck, which reveals that she is the sole survivor of a brutal murder that killed her birth parents and changed her fate forever. As she attempts to unravel the mystery of her childhood trauma, Caroline must quickly come to terms with the fact that she isn’t the only one with dark secrets. Someone is invested in making sure that a decades-old crime is never solved . . . and he or she is willing to kill to make sure that the past stays covered.


Topics and Questions for Discussion

1. “ ‘We love you. We always will. No matter what, you are our daughter.’ I stared at him. Those were the most frightening words I’d heard yet.” (page 21). Early on in the book, Kelly sets up a relationship between love and fear. How does this play out as The Bulle see more

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About the Author

Mary Louise Kelly
Photo by Katarina Price

Mary Louise Kelly

Mary Louise Kelly has written two novels, The Bullet and Anonymous Sources, and spent two decades traveling the world as a reporter for NPR and the BBC. As an NPR correspondent covering the intelligence beat and the Pentagon, she has reported on wars, terrorism, and rising nuclear powers. A Georgia native, Kelly was educated at Harvard and at Cambridge University in England. She lives in Washington, DC, with her husband and their two children. Learn more at