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Please See Us (Paperback)
Winner of the 2021 Edgar Award for Best First Novel
In this sophisticated, suspenseful debut reminiscent of Laura Lippman and Megan Miranda, two young women become unlikely friends during one fateful summer in Atlantic City as mysterious disappearances hit dangerously close to home.
Summer has come to Atlantic City but the boardwalk is empty of tourists, the casino lights have dimmed, and two Jane Does are laid out in the marshland behind the Sunset Motel, just west of town. Only one person even knows they’re there.
Meanwhile, Clara, a young boardwalk psychic, struggles to attract clients for the tarot readings that pay her rent. When she begins to experience very real and disturbing visions, she suspects they could be related to the recent cases of women gone missing in town. When Clara meets Lily, an ex-Soho art gallery girl who is working at a desolate casino spa and reeling from a personal tragedy, she thinks Lily may be able to help her. But Lily has her own demons to face.
If they can put the pieces together in time, they may save another lost girl—so long as their efforts don’t attract perilous attention first. Can they break the ill-fated cycle, or will they join the other victims?
A “beautifully written, thoughtful page-turner” (Chloe Benjamin, New York Times bestselling author of The Immortalists), Please See Us is an evocative and compelling psychological thriller that explores the intersection of womanhood, power, and violence.
About the Author
Caitlin Mullen earned a BA in English and creative writing from Colgate University, an MA in English from NYU, and an MFA in fiction from Stony Brook University. While at Stony Brook, she taught undergraduate creative writing, served as an editor and contributing writer for The Southampton Review, and worked as a bookseller at WORD in Greenpoint. She grew up in upstate New York and the Jersey Shore and currently lives in Brooklyn. Please See Us is her debut novel.
"Please See Us is riveting, the rare book that unpacks and deplores violence against women even as it depicts it. In Caitlin Mullen’s hands, everyone has a voice, and the dead speak as loudly as the living. Please See Us is a beautifully written, thoughtful page-turner, as well as a tribute to the women— not just victims, but full human beings—who so frequently go unseen."
— Chloe Benjamin, New York Times bestselling author of The Immortalists
"Please See Us is so good I don’t even know where to start – it’s brilliant and it’s dark; it’s heartbreaking and it’s defiant; it’s a riveting thriller and it’s a literary gem. Here are true, beautiful portraits of girls and women whose lives might well otherwise pass by without notice, without proper human value. Caitlin Mullen brings us those lives magnificently– with subtlety, compassion, and utter dignity. This book is a stunner."
— Paul Harding, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Tinkers
“A dark literary thriller about women who slip through the cracks. Disturbing, powerful, important.”
— Robyn Harding, international bestselling author of The Arrangement
"Kudos to Caitlin Mullen, the next big voice in crime fiction, on this gripping, innovative and finely written thriller. Please See Us takes the reader on a tense journey through the crumbling, seedy casinos and boardwalk of Atlantic City. Try to put this book down. You won’t be able to."
— Susan Scarf Merrell, author of Shirley
"Exceptional… Readers won’t be able to stop turning the pages of this heartbreaking story as it touches on prostitution, drug abuse, and the fates of women who go unseen. Mullen is definitely an author to watch.”
— Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"At last, a 'woman in peril' thriller that doesn’t involve a handsome, psychopathic husband. What Mullen’s debut gives readers is a wrenchingly detailed, utterly credible story of women whose peril comes from poverty, either a slow slide or a sudden slip. Brilliant [...] Mullen builds almost unbearable suspense."
— Booklist (Starred Review)
“A dark, gritty, and cathartic debut with well-developed characters and a compelling plot that will appeal to fans of Attica Locke, Lou Berney, and Jennifer Hillier.”
— Library Journal (starred review)
“Mullen's style is subtle, flowing... unexpected and well-rendered. A lyrical, incisive, and haunting debut.”
— Kirkus Reviews
"Confronting us with the darkest part of the city, Mullen beckons readers not only to see the women she writes about, but to really look at them and their stories. She writes with an unflinching eye... [her] prose is so beautifully rendered and her pace so careful that you almost forget there is a mystery at the book’s core. Mullen is a bright new talent, and I was constantly in awe of the fact that this is her debut; she is so skilled and so cadenced, with every word chosen with the care of a poet. I foresee a long career for her, and I cannot wait to find out where she turns her literary eye next."
"The voices of the dead tell the unhappy story of Please See Us, Caitlin Mullen’s spellbinding debut novel about a series of murders in Atlantic City."
— The New York Times Book Review
“Finally, the Atlantic City mystery we’ve all been waiting for!”