Emma Healey

Books Karolina Sutton, +44 (0)20 7393 4428 Email Karolina Sutton

Whistle in the Dark

book | Fiction | 2018
UK & Comm → Viking (Ed. Venetia Butterfield)
Canada → Knopf
US → HarperCollins

The new novel from the author of the Waterstones-championed bestseller Elizabeth is Missing.

Four missing days. Could you cope with not knowing?

Jen's 15-year-old daughter goes missing for four agonizing days. When Lana is found, unharmed, in the middle of the desolate countryside, everyone thinks the worst is over. But Lana refuses to tell anyone what happened, and the police draw a blank.

The once-happy, loving family return to London, where things start to fall apart. Lana begins acting strangely: refusing to go to school, and sleeping with the light on.

As Lana stays stubbornly silent, Jen desperately tries to reach out to a daughter who has become a stranger.


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Claire Nozieres manages the translation rights for Whistle in the Dark

Translation Rights Sold

Sendik Books
Arnoldo Mondadori Editore
Cappelen Damm
Distribuidora Record
Grup Media Litera

A gripping mystery about Lana, a missing girl who is found, but stays silent. Gripping, warm and humane.

Sarra Manning
Red Magazine

Pervaded by that quality of deadpan gallows humour, and strewn, as any self-respecting parody of a detective novel should be, with a veritable shoal of red herrings as to what really happened to Lana, Whistle in the Dark is a deeply affecting account of one woman’s quiet but unyielding refusal to allow hope succumb to helplessness and despair.

The Irish Times

Healey thoughtfully explores complex problems facing young women and families today and in Lana she has created a masterpiece of angry inarticulacy.

Daily Express

The writing will make readers feel like everyone is a little insane… Healey’s skill as a writer is laudable for the way she manipulates the English language so that words and the meanings attached to them suddenly become slippery… Whistle in the Dark is not to be missed.

The Washington Independent Review of Books

Gripping psychological suspense

People Magazine

Absorbing . .. Healey writes movingly about motherly love, and the pain that comes when you can’t protect your own, even from themselves.

The New Yorker

A powerful novel about shared trauma, the effects of mental health on the family, and the pressures of motherhood, this is a slow-burning and utterly unsettling domestic thriller you will have a hard time putting down.


For those who like their thrillers a little more literary, this one’s for you. Healey’s follow-up to her breakout Elizabeth Is Missing promises a psychologically arresting mystery surrounding the disappearance of a 15-year-old girl. Intriguing commentary on mental illness, trauma, and family life abounds.

Entertainment Weekly

An exquisite portrait of a mother's healing love for her troubled daughter.

Kirkus Reviews

A neat subversion of the genre… Whistle in the Dark has the sting of first-hand experience. Despite the seriousness of her subjects, there’s a winning irreverence to Healey’s writing.

The Guardian

The true mystery of this captivating novel begins not so much when Lana is lost but when she’s found, cold, pale, her head bloody, her clothes soaked. Faced with her daughter’s silence, Jen embarks on her own perilous journey to understanding. With masterful skill and mounting suspense, Healey reveals the complexities and ambiguities of family life. A brilliant and unsettling novel.

Margot Livesey, author of The Flight of Gemma Hardy

Utterly compelling and insightful, I was drawn into this family in crisis from the first chapter of this unflinchingly honest and beautifully written novel. 

Rosamund Lupton

Healey is a natural story-teller, and I knew from the opening page that I would be in safe hands. She expertly shows what it's like to have a depressed teenage daughter - all the love, the worries, and frustrations were perfectly observed, while still managing to bring out the comic side of modern family life, and wrap it in a story that urged me to keep reading to find out what happened. 

Claire Fuller

I don’t know anyone else who writes like this. Emma Healey’s voice soars, sings and startles as she takes you right under the skin of her characters. She ‘magics’ the ordinary into the extraordinary and, just as impressively, transposes the extraordinary to the ordinary. Unforgettable. 

Jane Corry

The novel's real strength, though, lies in its examination of such intimate familial ties and incredulity that in a world of Google Earth, rolling news and endless online discussion groups, something - a mystery - could still go unmapped. 

The Financial Times

Healey does a brilliant job of capturing the psychological tension of a family in crisis. 

Sunday Express

Healey fashions this novel in titled sections, ranging in length from a few lines to a few pages, a technique that advances the narration, along with flashbacks, while eliminating extraneous details and building suspense naturally. The result is an absorbing view of a family, with the emphasis on the mother daughter connection, in which—flaws aside—love shines through.


Karolina Sutton
+44 (0)20 7393 4428
Email Karolina Sutton
Translation Rights
Claire Nozieres
+44 (0)20 7393 4425
Email Claire Nozieres