Cover Image: What Happened to Nina?

What Happened to Nina?

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

McTiernan is such a skilled mystery writer. The Murder Rule was excellent, and this novel is as well, but in a very different way. I appreciate the ways she showed the impact of grief on every person in the story, but also the impact of social media and internet trolls on police investigations. The court of public opinion is so very dangerous and ruins the lives of every person impacted by a crime—the guilty and the innocent. I think this novel will sell very well for us.

Was this review helpful?

Best book of 2024!
Show-Stopper! This book deserves more than five stars. Absolutely un-putdownable!
Anytime I stepped away, (dragged away!) from this book, it stayed with me. I could not stop thinking about it.

Nina has had the same boyfriend, Simon since high school. Growing up together, their friendship eventually grew into first love. But they are currently attending different Universities. Which makes it difficult to find time for each other.

But a weekend together suddenly turns into something sinister after only Simon returns home.

Nina’s parents are naturally frantic, wanting and hoping for answers. At the same time, Simon’s parents will do whatever it takes to protect their son.

A parent’s love for their child knows few boundaries. So how far would you go?

As the search for answers plays out in social media, the trolls surface like cockroaches. The ugliness was sickening.

Told from multiple points of view. Nina, both sets of parents, Nina’s younger sister Grace and the detectives assigned to the case.

Every character was presented with such intense depth. You could feel the gripping anguish of Nina’s parents and the stark fear of the Simon’s. The emotions were real, palpable.

I was so scared the ending would let me down but not to worry! The ending dove-tailed flawlessly!

This read will stay with me for a very long time. Highly recommend!

Thank you to NetGalley and William Morrow.

Was this review helpful?

This was a great book… intriguing, suspenseful, engaging, and brilliant! I believe it had kind of a slow start, but after a few chapters it kicked off and never stopped… I highly recommend for an interesting, compelling read!

Was this review helpful?

4.5⭐️
This is a gripping, emotional mystery/suspense. Nina and her boyfriend Simon seem like the perfect young couple. But when Nina doesn’t return from the couple’s hiking trip, the truth about their relationship comes to light. I’m not sure if it was intentional or not but the premise sounds exactly like the true crime story of Gabby Petito.

I loved how McTiernan explores the aftermath of Nina’s disappearance including the huge role of social media in public perception and the reactions of each set of parents to the tragedy. This book is gut wrenching and will make you feel all the emotions- sadness, anger, even empathy. I could not put this down because I needed to see how it all would end. And the ending does not disappoint.

This is a must read for true crime fans and those who don’t mind unlikeable characters and emotional stories.

Thank you to Cindy Burnett from Thoughts From a Page podcast, NetGalley , and William Morrow for an advanced reader’s copy.

Was this review helpful?

First of all, WOW. This book sunk its teeth in me from the very first page and didn't let go until the end. Even now as I write this, I'm still reeling.

Second (and I'd be remiss not to mention it), the startling similarities between this book and the Gabby Petito case are...well, they're there. I don't want to highlight too many of the similarities or differences but it's something that immediately struck me and likely will for anyone familiar with the case.

This book had everything I want in a thriller and more. Beyond the thrills, it was a portrait of the lives of two very different families that, at the core of it all, really love their kids. Everything else that happens is a by-product of that love. And this book does answer the question of how far would you go for the ones you love?

Was this review helpful?

Much as I miss the Cormac Reilly books, I'm enjoying seeing McTiernan show how well she can handle other genres. In this case, we've got more of a thriller than a mystery, since we know (at least in a general sense at first) what happened to Nina. Nina vanished after traveling to a cabin with her boyfriend Simon, and as it becomes pretty clear that Simon wasn't as sweet as some people might have thought, the reader can be pretty sure of things. But it's the four parents -- Nina's and Simon's -- who are the ones trying to figure out what happened, each set with different motives and a desire to protect their kids at all costs.

One of the things that McTiernan does really well here is have people do stupid things for good reasons. Nina's parents are grieving and desperate, so when they break into the cabin to search for evidence, or confront Simon's (very rich and powerful) parents without evidence, it's understandable. And of course, it's the actions and mistakes of all four parents (often independent of their partners) that keep the plot moving, All four of them desperately love their respective children, and are willing to do whatever it takes.

This almost feels like a Laura Lippman novel, a high complement, as the characters are all compelling, sometimes have hidden agendas (there's a subplot in which Simon's mother just assumes her super-rich husband will eventually trade her in for a younger model, so has been selling her assorted purses/shoes online to set aside money and replacing them with knockoffs), and feel real and lived-in. We also have some good local police characters (enough that there's some series potential here -- think how Harbinder Kaur has become the connective tissue for recent Ellie Griffiths books).

I've tried to avoid spoilers here, since the twists are kind of the point in a novel like this, but I really liked the denouement and ending, and would not mind seeing more in the genre from McTiernan (but at this point, I'm happy to see whatever she tries next).

Not a fan of the cover (which feels like a straight-to-Kindle thing done in five minutes), but that's not on her, obviously.

Was this review helpful?

This is what I think of as a “ripped from the headlines” book where we get an alternative look and ending to a famous case like the Gabby Petito murder.


The book was pretty solid, I wish we had a little more from the murder’s mom, her selling her old clothes and stashing the money was clever but then I felt like was dropped at the end of the book. I never got a good feeling for the father.

I did notice that the victim’s mom fake watched football as an albi for her husband and then told her husband today he was watching a basketball game but that never came up.

Solid book for a quick vacation read.

Was this review helpful?

Out on March 25, this fictional crime thriller reads like true crime, but in real time. Well written, the mystery is fast paced and hard to put down, I stayed up way past my bedtime to finish. There were a couple of great twisty surprises too. Not for the faint of heart, this doesn‘t shy away from the ugliness of violence. I don‘t like the cover, but everything else is satisfying. I will read more from McTiernan.

Was this review helpful?

What Happened to Nina by Dervla McTiernan is a story about a missing woman told from multiple perspectives. You can tell that this story is heavily influence by the Gabby Petito tragedy. The story is centered around Nina who goes missing after a weekend away with her boyfriend Simon. The story is told from the view of both Nina's parents and Simon's parents. It shows how each reacts and how each feels about the situation.
The story was an interesting take on a missing persons story. It was quite predictable unfortunately. I did however enjoy reading it regardless.
Thank you to Netgalley, William Morrow, and the Scene of the Crime for the advanced copy. The opinions are my own.

Was this review helpful?

This is my third read by this author and my first standalone. I’m a huge fan of the Cormac Reilly series. This story is told by multiple narrators in a mix of first and third person. It’s part police procedural and part emotional struggle between two families at odds over their children and what may have happened to one of them, possibly at the others hand. I felt the switch in point of view between first person for the families of Nina and Simon and third person for the investigators worked well here distinguishing the emotions of personal versus professional.

There were parts of this story that felt like they were a foregone conclusion, but I still enjoyed the twists and turns in the details as it progressed. Some of the characters’ more personal narratives were at times a little difficult to digest. I found Jamie to be shallow and petty in the beginning, but as emotions began to run high and panic over their respective situations ensued, some of the action of the parents were downright scream-worthy from secretive hidden agendas and publicity campaigns to illegal activities.

Recommended to those that enjoy working out the details of domestic suspense.

Thank you to Netgalley and William Morrow for a copy provided for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

What Happened To Nina? was a thrilling page turner. The sign of a compelling novel is when you become emotionally invested. The misogyny and blaming the victims family was angry making, but what the author was portraying is reality of living in a social media world. Also, people can hire PR firms the deflect the spotlight of any wrongdoings, which is common, and what happened in this novel. Throughout the entire novel, I instantly became attached and felt so much empathy for the victim's parents, and tried to imagine what I may have done in their shoes.

What Happened To Nina? gave me the missing and murdered real life story of Gaby Petito. I had listened to 20 podcast episodes by an expert, Laura Richards, and this story felt very real to me, rather than a fictional thriller. I’m happy to see authors like Dervla McTiernan exposing cases in fictional novels so that people who don’t read non fiction or follow current events can be apprised of real life events, and learn from them.

As I don’t read many thrillers, this novel felt dark to me, but it's not a bad thing - it's very real life. I loved the multiple points of view (including the detective’s chapters). It gave a comprehensive view of what everyone was going through/their perspectives and what they were thinking.

While reading this novel, it also reminded me of the young adult novel: Grown by Tiffany D. Jackson. Again, so thankful authors are exposing these cases into novels (regardless of it being intentional or not).

This novel will stick with me for a long time, and I am still ruminating on what transpired. If you love thrillers and anything true crime, this novel should be on your TBR.

Thank you to Cindy Burnett with the Thoughts From a Page podcast / Page Turners Patreon group for arranging ARC copies. Thank you to the publisher, William Morrow books; the author; and Netgalley for an ARC in exchange for a review.

Was this review helpful?

Nina and Simon are young couple that are madly in love with one another. They're high school sweethearts that are currently in a long distance relationship due to college. In an effort to spend time together they decide to spend a week at Simon's family's vacation home in Stowe, VT.

Nothing unusual about that except that Nina's mom, Leanne, is upset when her daughter doesn't return any of her calls or texts. Nina was suppose to be home on Saturday and she failed to arrive.

Turns out, Simon has already returned home, without Nina. He claims they had a fight about her cheating on him so he left. Nina was going to be picked up by a friend in the morning. Nina is never seen again.

Sound familiar? It's evident that McTiernan drew inspiration for this novel after the murder case of Gabby Petito.

Anyone familiar with that case, and how could you not be if you live in the States, won't find many surprises to be had here. What is so surprising is that even knowing all I knew about the case I found this to be utterly compelling and I was riveted to the pages. Of course Nina's parents pain and anger broke me. I can't imagine losing my son so when I would put myself in their place it was almost too much to bare. What I hadn't expected was the empathy I felt for Simon's parents. Did I like them? No, not at all, but I couldn't help to feel some compassion for their situation as well. They loved their son, they wanted to believe he could have never of done such a thing, they were terrified his life would be destroyed so they did what they felt they needed to do to protect him. Were they right to do so? No, never, but as a mom I could understand it. Love for a child is a powerful force that could make a person commit acts they never would have entertained otherwise.

Thought provoking and gut wrenching from beginning to end. McTiernan delivers a story all too common, unfortunately, but did so with respect and sensitivity. 5 stars!

Thank you to NetGalley and William Morrow for my complimentary copy.

Was this review helpful?

Thanks to William Morrow, Book Club Girl, and NetGalley for this copy of "What Happened to Nina."

This was a thrilling page-turner and I couldn't stop reading. From the Prologue, Nina herself gives us a pretty good indication of what happened to her. So the suspenseful part of the story is what happens to Nina's and her boyfriend Simon's families, both their actions and reactions. And how far parents will go to protect their children.

In the culture of trial by social media with everyone posting their theories and opinions, the detectives have to sift through all the misinformation to find the real facts and then act on them.

I didn't know until later that this was based on the Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie case and it's fascinating to read how they overlap.

Was this review helpful?

What Happened to Nina is just what I look for in a thriller. It pulled me in right from the start and kept me riveted through the ending.

Nina and Simon have been dating for four years. They are 20 and have been together since high school but lately things haven’t been great. So for a college break, they went to Simon’s parents’ vacation home in Stowe Vermont for a week of hiking and climbing. They were supposed to come home on Saturday. But Simon came home alone on Friday night. He told his parents that they broke up and Nina was going to stay the night and get her own ride home on Saturday morning. Only Nina didn’t come home and no one has heard from her.

This story was told from many different perspectives but I appreciated the way it gave us lots of views of the situation. This was a great thriller. Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for the free ebook to review.

Was this review helpful?

This a new to me author and if this book is any indication of her writing I’m reading everything she has written.
This is a fast paced thriller that starts out a little main stream and then it takes off and doesn’t let up until the end.
Alternating pov’s and some icky characters makes it all the better. I’ve found a new favorite thriller writer.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the advance copy in exchange for a honest review.
5⭐️

Was this review helpful?

Last year was my first McTiernan - The Murder Rule. It was very good, so I was excited to have a chance at an early read of her latest novel. It did not disappoint. It was REALLY good!

The plot was fast-paced and held my attention the whole way through. It had a true crime lean and definitely had "shades" of Gabby Petito. The story unfolded through alternating POVs - from Nina's family, from the boyfriend and his family and the detective.

The themes were both timely and classic: how far does one go to protect their child, class distinctions in society, how the news and social media influence perception and seem to decide fates nowadays.

This is the type of book you can recommend to nearly anyone, which I have done a few times already.
I would consider Dervla McTiernan a go-to author now.

I want to thank William Morrow and NetGalley for allowing me to read the advanced Kindle edition in exchange for an honest opinion.

Was this review helpful?

I loved Dervla McTiernan's Cormac Reilly series and was really looking forward to her latest standalone effort--What Happened to Nina? It did not disappoint! Nina didn't return home after a getaway with her high school sweetheart Simon, and her family is frantic to find her. Simon claims they had a fight and Nina left, but is he telling the truth? When Simon's family starts pointing fingers at Nina's adoptive father, things really start to get out of hand, and the story goes viral.

While this book is a good mystery, it's much more than that--examining the real harm caused by accusations, even if those accusations end up being false. And it shows the limits to which people will go to protect their loved ones.

Another winner from Dervla McTiernan!

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC in exchange for an honest review!

Was this review helpful?

This had a great concept for a thriller. I had enjoyed the murder rule a lot and thought that it was a great suspenseful read. I could tell that there were elements to real life cases that were used but you could still call it something different. The characters were what I was looking for from this type of book and that dervla mctiernan writes a great thriller novel.

Was this review helpful?

This was a well-written novel that is obviously influenced by the Gabby Petito case. It explores how far parents will go for answers and to protect their children. While well-written, I was expecting something a little different, perhaps more like the author's last book. There was nothing particularly wrong with What Happened to Nina, it just wasn't one I will remember much about or couldn't put down. I hope the author's next book is more in line with her previous works.

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for my complimentary digital copy. All opinions are my own.

Was this review helpful?

What DID happen to Nina? This book is very aptly titled, and the pages will turn very quickly as you try to uncover the truth. This book is told from multiple POV's and it was an excellent choice by the author, as the reader is allowed to by a fly on the wall to all of the different perspectives that are key to the story - Nina, her parents, Simon's (Nina's boyfriend) parents, and other key characters. All of the characters are very well-developed and it feels like you are reading a true event occurring in real time as the search for the truth builds to a breathtaking crescendo. If you enjoy mysteries and/or missing person tropes, this is a great read, and not to be missed. Thank you to #NetGalley and #thoughtsfromapage for the ARC,

Was this review helpful?