What Happened to Nina?: A Novel (Paperback)

What Happened to Nina?: A Novel By Dervla McTiernan Cover Image
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From the #1 internationally bestselling author of The Murder Rule comes an emotional novel of suspense about two families at war.

Nina and Simon are the perfect couple. Young, fun and deeply in love. Until they leave for a weekend at his family’s cabin in Vermont, and only Simon comes home.


Nobody knows. Simon’s explanation about what happened in their last hours together doesn’t add up. Nina’s parents push the police for answers, and Simon’s parents rush to protect him. They hire expensive lawyers and a PR firm that quickly ramps up a vicious, nothing-is-off-limits media campaign.


Soon, facts are lost in a swirl of accusation and counter-accusation. Everyone chooses a side, and the story goes viral, fueled by armchair investigators and wild conspiracy theories and illustrated with pretty pictures taken from Nina’s social media accounts. Journalists descend on their small Vermont town, followed by a few obsessive "fans."


Nina’s family is under siege, but they never lose sight of the only thing that really matters — finding their daughter. Out-gunned by Simon’s wealthy, powerful family, Nina’s parents recognize that if playing by the rules won’t get them anywhere, it’s time to break them.

About the Author

Number one internationally bestselling author Dervla McTiernan is the critically acclaimed author of five novels, including The Murder Rule, which was a New York Times thriller of the year. Dervla has won multiple prizes, including a Ned Kelly Award, Davitt Awards, a Barry Award, and an International Thriller Writers Award. Dervla is also the author of four novellas, and her audio novella, The Sisters, was a four-week number one bestseller in the United States. She lives in Australia with her family.

Praise For…

"What Happened to Nina is one of the best thrillers I have ever read. It is an unforgettable and deeply moving read that takes the concept of how far would you go for your child and turns the volume up so high the dial breaks. Dervla McTiernan is a wickedly gifted writer and she brings a documentary realism to every page of this unforgettable and scary in a good way novel. You will tell your friends about What Happened to Nina. You will tell everybody about What Happened To Nina." — Don Winslow, #1 Internationally bestselling author of The Cartel and City on Fire 

"What Happened To Nina is a stunning masterpiece. Haunting, emotional, fiercely intelligent and absolutely diabolical. I was amazed as a reader and in awe as a writer. I read the book in one long sitting, late into the night, and I kept all the lights on because I was so scared about what was going to happen every time I turned the page. I never felt like I was reading a novel. I felt like I was living inside this story and it was all really happening. It's a thriller that reads like a true crime novel." — T.J. Newman, #1 bestselling author of Falling and Drowning: The Rescue of Flight 1421

“Her best yet. Completely riveting ... I had at least three gasp-out-loud moments. And that ending! Everyone's going to be talking about that ending.” — Sally Hepworth, New York Times bestselling author of The Mother-in-Law and Darling Girls on What Happened to Nina?

What Happened to Nina? is a propulsive and satisfying mystery that tackles head-on themes of wealth, power, domestic violence, and the stories we tell ourselves to justify our worst actions. This is Dervla McTiernan at her finest.” — Tracey Lien, internationally bestselling author of All That’s Left Unsaid

“McTiernan turns the traditional thriller on its head by exploring the why and the what over the who….And that is truly haunting.” — Kirkus on What Happened to Nina? (starred review)

“Almost painfully gripping.... Despite its title, the central question posed by this disturbing, enthralling book is less concerned with what happened to Nina (you’ll find out soon enough), but how the parents — all broken, terrified and desperate in their own ways — respond to the exigencies of the moment. The last scene will make your blood run cold.” — New York Times Book Review on What Happened to Nina?

"Almost painfully gripping. Disturbing, enthralling.... The last scene will make your blood run cold." — The New York Times on What Happened to Nina?

"A smart and unpredictable portrait of how the boundaries between tragedy and entertainment get blurred. It’s a disturbing treat for thriller fans." — Publishers Weekly on What Happened to Nina?

"What Happened to Nina? is the latest mesmerizing mystery from the mind of author Dervla McTiernan (The Good Turn). McTiernan’s incisive examination of the internet and the true crime phenomena add layers of brilliance. McTiernan delivers a story with real-life similarities and packs it with compelling characters and a rewarding payoff.” — Manhattan Book Review

“Buckle up: This psychological page-turner is no ordinary whodunit. When beloved daughter Nina goes missing, her boyfriend Simon becomes the prime suspect. But did he do it? No matter, because McTiernan’s focus is on a deeper, more shocking tragedy, pitting Nina’s grieving folks—frantic to find Nina and attain justice—against Simon’s privileged parents, desperate to protect their son no matter what. A tense read with a stunning ending.” — People on What Happened to Nina?

"McTiernan brings real craft to her characters." — The Irish Times on What Happened to Nina?

"A chilling tale of how far people will go to protect a predator." — The Sunday Times on What Happened to Nina?

"Addictive. Propulsive. Less page-turning than page-devouring. The story builds like a nuclear mushroom cloud. Dervla McTiernan is a thriller master." — Trent Dalton, bestselling author of Boy Swallows Universe on What Happened to Nina?

"Had me tearing through the pages, even after the "who" of the mystery had been revealed. A great read for fans of Hayley Scrivenor’s Dirt Town and Emily Ruskovich’s Idaho." — Books + Publishing on What Happened to Nina?

"McTiernan has crafted an engrossing and shocking story inspired by tragically familiar events. . . . Fans of true crime and stories with multiple narrators will find much to enjoy in this mystery and will have a tough time putting it down." — Booklist on What Happened to Nina?

"Sinuous and immaculately paced, there is a ferocious sting in the tale." — The Daily Mail on What Happened to Nina?

"Matters culminate in a courtroom fireworks display worthy of Perry Mason in his prime. The Murder Rule holds one’s interest from its cheeky opening pages through its final scene." — Wall Street Journal on The Murder Rule

"Excellent... McTiernan [is] an uncommonly fine mystery writer.... What a thrilling book this is." — New York Times Book Review on The Murder Rule

“Gripping and full of tension, with twist after unexpected twist. You won’t just read The Murder Rule, you’ll devour it.” — Karin Slaughter

“Dervla McTiernan has become one of my favorite writers, and if you read The Murder Rule, she will quickly become one of yours. This book is diabolically clever, highly compelling, and deeply moving. I loved The Murder Rule and did not want it to end.” — Don Winslow

 “Dervla McTiernan is an extraordinary writer, and The Murder Rule is a brilliant, breathtaking, and irresistible thriller with unforgettable characters and twists on top of twists.” — T. J. Newman, New York Times bestselling author of Falling

“Extraordinary. Haunting. An incredible thriller. I could not put this book down. Dervla McTiernan is a gifted writer with a very special way of telling a story. This is a heart-stopping roller coaster of a tale.” — Adrian McKinty, New York Times bestselling author of The Chain on The Murder Rule

The Ruin is dark and compelling, with the satisfaction of a police procedural and the atmosphere of a gothic mystery. I was gripped by it, and by the complicated, resourceful characters of Aisling and Maude.” — Flynn Berry, author of Under the Harrow on The Ruin

“Powerful . . . McTiernan neatly ties [the threads of the novel] all together in the suspenseful conclusion. McTiernan, born in Ireland but now living in Australia, is a writer to watch.” — Publishers Weekly (starred review) on The Ruin

“Compelling, unexpected twists and a hold-your breath standoff . . . Hand this one to readers of Tana French and to police-procedural fans.” — Booklist on The Ruin

“Fans of Tana French will love McTiernan’s expertly plotted, complex web of secrets that refuse to stay hidden.” — Karen Dionne, author of The Marsh King’s Daughter, on The Ruin

"This thriller had me tearing through the pages, even after the 'who' of the mystery had been revealed." — Books and Publishing

Product Details
ISBN: 9780063042261
ISBN-10: 0063042266
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Publication Date: February 25th, 2025
Pages: 336
Language: English