Skip to Main Content

No One Knows

About The Book

With the same page-turning suspense as The Girl on the Train and The Husband’s Secret, New York Times bestselling author J.T. Ellison’s No One Knows is a “riveting…skillfully plotted” (Publishers Weekly) thriller that questions if the narrator’s husband really has returned from the dead—or if she’s merely losing her mind.

Aubrey Hamilton has been mourning her missing husband for five years, despite being even while she was considered the prime suspect in his murder. But when he is officially declared dead, there are still more questions than answers: Why didn’t Josh show up at his friend’s bachelor party? Was he murdered, or did he run away? And who is the new, mysterious and strangely familiar figureman suddenly appearing in Aubrey’s life? And has she finally lost her mind after years of loneliness and confusion?

No One Knows is an evocative mystery that explores the complex darkness within all of us, perfect for fans of Gillian Flynn, Liane Moriarty, and Paula Hawkins.


Chapter 1 CHAPTER 1



One thousand eight hundred and seventy-five days after Joshua Hamilton went missing, the State of Tennessee declared him legally dead.

Aubrey, his wife—or former wife, or ex-wife, or widow, she had no idea how to refer to herself anymore—received the certified letter on a Friday. It came to the Montessori school where she taught, the very one she and Josh had attended as children. Came to her door in the middle of reading time, borne on the hands of Linda Pierce, the school’s long-standing principal, who looked as if someone had died.

Which, in a way, they had.

He had.

Or so the State of Tennessee had officially declared.

Aubrey had been against the declaration-of-death petition from the beginning. She didn’t want Josh’s estate settled. Didn’t want a date engraved on that stupid family stone obelisk that loomed over the graves of his ancestors at Mount Olivet Cemetery. Didn’t want to say good-bye forever.

But Josh’s mother had insisted. She wanted closure. She wanted to move on with her life. She wanted Aubrey to move on with hers, too. She’d petitioned the court for the early ruling, and clearly the courts agreed.

Everyone was ready to move on. Everyone but Aubrey.

She’d felt poorly this morning when she woke, almost a portent of the day to come, but today was the last day of school before spring break, so she had to show, and be cheery, and help the kids with their party, and give them their extra-credit reading assignments.

From the second they arrived, her students buzzed around her. It didn’t take long for Aubrey to catch the children’s enthusiasm and drop her previous malaise. It was a beautiful day: the sun glowed in the sky, dropping beams through the windows, creating slats of light on the multihued carpet. The kids spun through the light, whirling dervishes against a yellow backdrop. She didn’t even try to contain them; watching them, she felt exactly the same way. Breaks signaled many things to her, freedom most of all. Freedom to go her own way for a bit, to explore, to read, to gather herself.

But when her classroom door opened unexpectedly, and Principal Pierce came into the room, the nausea returned with a vengeance, and her head started to pound. Aubrey watched her coming closer and closer. Her old friend’s face was strained, the furrows carved into her upper lip collapsed in on each other, her yellowed forefinger tapping against the pristine white-and-blue envelope. She needed to file her nails.

What was it about moments, the ones that start with a capital M, that made you notice each and every detail?

Aubrey reminded herself of her situation. The children were watching. Trying to ignore the stares of the more precocious ones scattered about the classroom, gifted youngsters whose sensitivity to the emotions of others was finely honed, Aubrey took the letter from Linda, handed off the class into the woman’s very capable nicotine-stained hands, and went to the ladies’ room in the staff lounge to read the contents.

The letter was from her mother-in-law. Aubrey knew exactly what it contained.

She tried to pretend her hands weren’t shaking.

She flipped the lid down on the toilet, locked the door, then sat and ripped open the envelope. Inside was a piece of paper folded into thirds, topped with a handwritten note on a cheery yellow daisy-covered Post-it. Aubrey felt that added just the right touch. Her mother-in-law always had been wildly incapable of any form of tact.

There was no denying it now; her hands trembled violently as she unfolded the page. She looked to the handwritten note first. The words were carefully formed, a schoolgirl’s roundness to the old-fashioned cursive.


For your records.

Daisy Hamilton

Scribbled in print beneath the painstakingly properly written note were the words:

Joshua’s Mother

Well, no kidding, Daisy. Like I could forget.

The sticky note was attached to a printout of an email. It was from Daisy’s lawyer, the one who’d helped put this vehicle in motion last year, when Daisy decided to petition the courts to have Josh declared legally dead.

Aubrey fingered the scar on her lip as she read.

Dear Daisy,

Per our earlier conversation, attached please find a copy of the Order entered from the civil court today by Judge Robinson. As I explained to you on the phone, this Order directs the Department of Vital Statistics to issue a death certificate for your son, Joshua David Hamilton, as of April 19 of this year.

Now that this Order has been officially entered, we should take another look at the estate plan. Josh’s life insurance policy will be fulfilled as soon as the declaration is received, and I’d like you to be fully prepared if you plan to contest the contents. I will be forwarding you a final bill for my services on this matter in the next couple of days.

Best personal regards,

Rick Saeger

And now it was official.

In the eyes of the law, Joshua David Hamilton was no longer of this earth. No longer Aubrey’s husband. No longer Daisy’s son.

No longer.

Aubrey was suddenly unable to breathe. Even though she’d been expecting it, seeing the words in black-and-white, adorned by Daisy’s snippy little missive, killed her. Tears slid down her face, and she crumpled the letter against her thigh.

Daisy was a bitch, always had been, and Aubrey got the message loud and clear.

Get over it. Get on with your life. And watch out, kid, because I’m coming for that life insurance money.

But just how do you move on when you can’t bury your husband? Five years later, there were still no good answers to the puzzle of Josh’s evaporation. One minute there, the next gone. Poof. Disappeared. Missing. Kidnapped, hit over the head, and suffering from severe amnesia, or—worse than the idea of his heart no longer beating—he’d chosen to leave her. Dead, but not dead. Without a body, how could they know for sure?

Damn you, Josh.

He was dead. Even Aubrey had to admit that to herself. It had taken a year to formulate that conclusion, a year of the worst possible days imaginable. As much as she hated to believe he was really gone, she knew he was.

Because if he wasn’t, he would have let her know. He was the other half of her. The better half. The responsible half. The serious half.

For him to be taken, or to have run away—no. He would never leave her of his own volition.

Which meant he must be dead.

The circle that was her life, a snake forever eating its tail.

Aubrey didn’t know the answers to the riddle. Only knew that one thousand eight hundred and seventy-five days ago, Josh had been nagging at her to hurry up and get in the car because they were late for one of his closest friend’s joint bachelor/bachelorette party. That they’d had a serious fender bender on the way to the party, which resulted in the small white scar that intersected Aubrey’s top lip in a way that didn’t detract from her heart-shaped face. That they’d arrived at the hotel over an hour late, and Aubrey had offered to get them checked in while Josh went to find the groom and join the party. That he’d kissed her deeply before he went, making the cut on her lip throb in time with her heart. That he’d glanced back over his shoulder and given her that devastating half smile that had been melting her insides since she was seven and he was nine and he’d pushed her down on the hard playground asphalt and made her cry.

That she’d repeated the words of this story so many times it had become a mantra. To the police. To the lawyers. To the media. To Daisy. To herself.

Her world was broken into thirds.

Seven and seventeen and five.

Seven years before he came into her life.

Seventeen in-between years when she’d seen Josh almost every day. Seventeen years of joy and fury and love and sex and marriage and heartache and happiness. Of prepubescent mating rituals, teenage angst, young-adult dawning realization, the inescapable knowledge that they couldn’t live without each other, culminating in a small wedding and three years of marital bliss.

Five years of After. Five years of wondering.

She thought they were happy. Late at night, in the After time, Aubrey would lie in their bed, still on her side, wearing one of his white oxford shirts she pretended held the lingering bits of his scent, and wonder: Weren’t we? Weren’t we happy?

What was happiness? Where did it come from? How did you measure it? She’d always looked at the little things he did—from a sweet note in whatever book she was reading, to bringing her freshly cut apples when she was vacuuming, or having a travel mug of hot Earl Grey tea waiting for her in the morning as she rushed out the door—as signs that he loved her. That he was happy, too.

But then he was gone, and she had to pick up the pieces of their once life, shattered like the reflective glass of a broken mirror on the floor.

Seven, and seventeen, and then five. Five years of emptiness, solitude, loneliness.

The State of Tennessee didn’t care about any of that.

All the state cared about were the cold hard facts: one thousand eight hundred and seventy-five days ago, Joshua David Hamilton disappeared from the face of the earth, and now enough time had passed that a stranger had declared him legally dead.

About The Author

Krista Lee Photography

New York Times bestselling author J.T. Ellison writes dark psychological thrillers and pens the Brit in the FBI series with #1 New York Times bestselling author Catherine Coulter. With millions of books in print, her work has won critical acclaim, prestigious awards, and has been published in twenty-seven countries. She is also the Emmy Award–winning cohost of the premier literary television show A Word on Words. Ellison lives in Nashville with her husband and twin kittens. Visit for more information, and follow her on Twitter and Instagram @ThrillerChick or

Product Details

  • Publisher: Gallery Books (November 1, 2016)
  • Length: 368 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781501118487

Browse Related Books

Raves and Reviews

“Riveting… a skillfully plotted story that’s equal parts mystery, psychological thriller, and cautionary tale. Comparisons to Gone Girl are inevitable....Artful and evocative prose complements the fully fleshed and realistically drawn characters."

– Publishers Weekly on NO ONE KNOWS

"Enthralling! Ellison's twisty, turny thriller is my kind of novel; interesting characters, complex plotting, and an ending you'll never see coming. Suspense at its finest!"

– Lisa Gardner, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Find Her

"You think Gone Girl couldn't be topped, try Ellison's web of betrayal, lies and deceit. And wonder..."

– Catherine Coulter, New York Times bestselling author of Nemesis

“Clever and compelling, JT Ellison’s NO ONE KNOWS is a page-turner full of unexpected turns and surprises. Pour a glass of wine, settle down in your favorite chair, and get ready for an entertaining roller coaster of a read. JT Ellison is a fast-rising star.”

– Jeff Abbott, New York Times bestselling author of THE FIRST ORDER

"J.T. Ellison's stand-alone thriller is a slow burn suspense that heats up, page-by-page, until the shocking end. NO ONE KNOWS is unputdownable, a gripping story that begs to be read in one sitting."

– Allison Brennan, New York Times bestselling author of NO GOOD DEED

“NO ONE KNOWS hooked me from page one. The more I read, the more I had to know what really happened to Aubrey’s husband that night in Nashville. And the more I trusted Aubrey’s version of events, the more I doubted them as well. Ellison has written a masterful game of cat-and-mouse.”

– Erica Spindler, New York Times bestselling author of THE FIRST WIFE and THE FINAL SEVEN

No One Knows grabs you from the start and doesn’t let go. A compelling thriller about loss, betrayal, and buried secrets, it’s a book you’ll devour, trying to guess what’s going on and what will happen next. The twists are genuinely—and satisfyingly—shocking. J.T. Ellison has written another winner.”

– —Meg Gardiner, Edgar Award-winning author of Phantom Instinct

“J.T. Ellison has created one hell of a brain-bender. NO ONE KNOWS is a masterfully written shell game in which a grief-stricken woman is forced to reckon with her past until everything she believes about love, hope, and trust is tested. Ellison’s storytelling powers are on sharp display in this literary thriller, proving that no one is who they claim to be and everyone has secrets worth protecting. Compelling, perceptive, unsettling and with an ending so on point I wish I could read it again for the first time. I inhaled this novel.”

– Ariel Lawhon, author of FLIGHT OF DREAMS

"Ellison clearly belongs in the top echelon of thriller writers..."

– Booklist (starred review)

"Like a nerve-shredding trip through a carnival house of mirrors, NO ONE KNOWS left me breathless. Ellison's deft, seamless prose makes her devilish twists look effortless, and her sleight-of-hand with the facts of Aubrey Hamilton’s troubled life keeps the tension wire-high.

NO ONE KNOWS is razor-sharp, shocking, and delicious."

– —Laura Benedict, author of Charlotte’s Story

"A page-turning thriller packed full of madness, deceit and murder."

– Deep South Magazine

"The unreliable female narrator is all the rage, and Aubrey Hamilton is up there with the slipperiest of them all."

– Kirkus Reviews

"The reader becomes enthralled with Aubrey..."

– Booklist

"No One Knows will have inevitable comparisons to Gone Girl...Ellison messes with the character’s head as well as the readers with her many twists and turns."

– Crimespree Magazine

"NO ONE KNOWS does not disappoint!...Keeps the reader on the edge of their seat."

– SOKY Book Fest Reads, Southern Kentucky Book Festival

"A genuine page-turning thriller."

– Luxury Reads

"A dark domestic thriller that is sure to leave you guessing until the final page."


Resources and Downloads

High Resolution Images

More books from this author: J.T. Ellison