Cover image for The bullet
The bullet
First Gallery Books hardcover edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Gallery Books, 2015.

Simon & Schuster 2015
Physical Description:
357 pages ; 24 cm
"From NPR correspondent Mary Louise Kelly comes a heart-pounding story about fear, family secrets, and one woman's hunt for answers about the murder of her parents. Caroline Cashion, a professor of French literature at Georgetown University, is stunned when an MRI reveals that she has a bullet lodged near the base of her skull. It makes no sense: she has never been shot. She has no entry wound. No scar. When she confronts her parents, they initially profess bewilderment. Then, over the course of one awful evening, she learns the truth: she was adopted when she was three years old, after her real parents were murdered in cold blood. Caroline had been there the night of the attack, and she'd been hit by a single gunshot to the neck. Buried too deep among vital nerves and blood vessels, the surgeons had left it, and stitched up the traumatized little girl with the bullet still inside. That was thirty-four years ago. Now, Caroline returns to her hometown to learn whatever she can about who her parents were and why they died. Along the way she meets a cop who worked the case, who reveals that even after all these years, the police do not have enough evidence to nail their suspect. The killer is still at large. Caroline is horrified--and in danger. Becausethe bullet in Caroline's neck could identify the murderer...and he'll do anything to keep it out of the police's hands. Now Caroline will have to decide: run for her life, or stay and fight?"-- Provided by publisher.


Material Type
Shelf Number
Book KELLY 1

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From former NPR correspondent Mary Louise Kelly comes a heart-pounding story about fear, family secrets, and one woman's hunt for answers about the murder of her parents.

Two words: The bullet.

That's all it takes to shatter her life.

Caroline Cashion is beautiful, intelligent, a professor of French literature. But in a split second, everything she's known is proved to be a lie.

A single bullet, gracefully tapered at one end, is found lodged at the base of her skull. Caroline is stunned. It makes no sense: she has never been shot. She has no entry wound. No scar. Then, over the course of one awful evening, she learns the truth: that she was adopted when she was three years old, after her real parents were murdered. Caroline was there the night they were attacked. She was wounded too, a gunshot to the neck. Surgeons had stitched up the traumatized little girl, with the bullet still there, nestled deep among vital nerves and blood vessels.

That was thirty-four years ago.

Now, Caroline has to find the truth of her past. Why were her parents killed? Why is she still alive? She returns to her hometown where she meets a cop who lets slip that the bullet in her neck is the same bullet that killed her mother. Full-metal jacket, .38 Special. It hit Caroline's mother and kept going, hurtling through the mother's chest and into the child hiding behind her.

She is horrified--and in danger. When a gun is fired it leaves markings on the bullet. Tiny grooves, almost as unique as a fingerprint. The bullet in her neck could finger a murderer. A frantic race is set in motion: Can Caroline unravel the clues to her past, before the killer tracks her down?

Reviews 4

Publisher's Weekly Review

Bacon can't cure everything. That's one of the lesser discoveries Caroline Cashion, a 37-year-old Georgetown University French literature professor, makes in this heady thriller from former NPR correspondent Kelly, her second novel after 2014's Anonymous Sources. A life-changing revelation on her MRI-there's a bullet she has no clue about lodged in her neck-launches the likable and normally unflappable academic, whom Jane Austen would have found a kindred spirit despite her Salma Hayek looks, into a distinctly uncharacteristic flurry of activity. She's whisked back three decades to her childhood in Atlanta and a shocking, never-solved double homicide. En route, she finds romance with a sexy, country music-loving doctor, Will Zartman, who is so definitely not her type. Kelly pulls off the difficult feat of plotting an action-packed page-turner that remains within the bounds of believability. Agent: Victoria Skurnick, Levine-Greenberg-Rosten Literary Agency. (Mar.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Kirkus Review

Like Kelly's first novel (Anonymous Sources, 2013, this sophomore effort centers on a beautiful woman who inadvertently becomes involved in a dangerous, high-stakes situation that soon becomes a matter of life or death. Caroline Cashion, 37, isn't drop-dead gorgeousor at least that's what Kelly has her Georgetown professor tell readers on the opening page. However, a few short lines later, Caroline describes herself as having liquid chocolate eyes and hourglass hips. Men ogle her size DD breasts, and almost every man she meets makes a pass. Caroline is truly one hot chick. But she does have a problem that defies logic: a growing issue with her wrist leads to a series of tests that finds a bullet lodged in her neck. Increasingly drawn to Caroline, her doctor, Will, recommends that she have it removed, which in turn leads her on a journey to discover why the bullet was there in the first place. Soon the Nigella Lawson look-alike finds out that not only was she adopted, but her birth parents were murdered in their Atlanta home when she was a small child. During the as-yet-unsolved murder, Caroline took a bullet that also passed through her mother (a gorgeous woman she closely resembles). Hoping to find answers, Caroline travels to Atlanta, where she meets a cast of fancifully named characters and discovers the truth about the night she was shot. Kelly, a former NPR reporter, wallpapers the story with entertaining but overwrought dialogue ("I knew who you were. Any man under the age of ninety and still in full possession of his faculties would notice who you were") and a surfeit of extraneous characters who clutter the story, weighing it down and distracting from an otherwise interesting premise. Brilliant, beautiful Caroline's astonishingly bad decisions, coupled with her over-the-top reactions as events play out, make her a less-than-sympathetic protagonist in this unbalanced tale of love, perfidy and violence in Hotlanta. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

University professor Caroline Cashion prizes her routines and her tight-knit family. But when a raging case of carpal tunnel syndrome requires a CAT scan, Caroline's security disintegrates in an instant. The scan shows a bullet lodged in her neck, but Caroline has no memory of being shot. In a surreal family meeting, Caroline learns that she was adopted at three after she was wounded and her parents were fatally shot. After being told that her biological parents' case remains unsolved, Caroline heads to Atlanta to discover everything she can about her birth family and their murders. To spark new leads, Caroline agrees to a splashy newspaper profile, complete with the compelling tidbit that the bullet in her neck is the case's only physical evidence. Suddenly, Caroline is in a race with her parents' killer, desperately trying to out him before he succeeds in burying the only clue to his past crimes. Nonstop pacing, a touch of romance, and a heroine who's full of surprises combine to create great thriller escapism for the Harlan Coben set.--Tran, Christine Copyright 2015 Booklist

Library Journal Review

Caroline Cashion, a successful professor at Georgetown University, has a great life and family until a visit to the doctor to address her wrist problem reveals that her nerve pain is the result of a dormant bullet in her skull. In rapid succession, Caroline learns that she was adopted at the age of three, after her parents were murdered, and a bullet from that event has been lodged in her head for more than 30 years. Within the week, Caroline travels to Atlanta to learn about her parents, finds herself in need of urgent surgery to remove the bullet, and begins to fall for her handsome primary care physician. Verdict As the title suggests, former NPR correspondent Kelly's (Anonymous Sources) latest thriller is a fast-moving narrative. Though not especially well written (Caroline engages in sporadic, colloquial first-person statements to the reader), the plot is engaging and the characters interesting. Fans of the author, Pamela Thomas-Graham, and Tess Gerritsen will spend a couple of enjoyable hours reading this.-Nicole A. Cooke, GSLIS, Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (c) Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



The Bullet One My name is Caroline Cashion, and I am the unlikely heroine of this story. Given all the violence to come, you were probably expecting someone different. A Lara Croft type. Young and gorgeous, sporting taut biceps and a thigh holster, right? Admit it. Yes, all right, fine, I am pretty enough. I have long, dark hair and liquid, chocolate eyes and hourglass hips. I see the way men stare. But there's no holster strapped to these thighs. For starters, I am thirty-seven years old. Not old, not yet, but old enough to know better. Then there is the matter of how I spend my days. That would be in the library, studying the work of dead white men. I am an academic, a professor on Georgetown University's Faculty of Languages and Linguistics. My specialty is nineteenth-century France: Balzac, Flaubert, Sten-dhal, Zola. The university is generous enough to fly me to Paris every year or so, but most of the time you'll find me in the main campus library, glasses sliding down my nose, buried in old books. Every few hours I'll stir, cross the quad to deliver a lecture, scold a student requesting extra time for an assignment--and then I return to my books. I read with my legs tucked beneath me, in a soft, blue armchair in a sunny corner of my office nook on the fourth floor. Most nights you will also find me there, sipping tea, typing away, grading papers. Are you getting a sense for the rhythm of my days? I lead as stodgy a life as you can imagine. But it was by doing just this, by following this exact routine, that I came to schedule the medical appointment that changed everything. For months, my wrist had hurt. It began as an occasional tingling. That changed to a sharp pain that shot down my fingers. The pain got worse and worse until my fingers turned so clumsy, my grip so weak, that I could barely carry my bags. My doctor diagnosed too much typing. Too much hunching over books. To be precise--I like to be -precise--he diagnosed CTS. Carpal tunnel syndrome. He suggested wearing a wrist splint at night and elevating my keyboard. That helped, but not much. And so it was that I found myself one morning in the waiting room of Washington Radiology Associates. I was scheduled for an MRI, to "rule out arthritis and get to the bottom of what's going on," as my doctor put it. It was the morning of Wednesday, October 9. The morning it all began. Excerpted from The Bullet by Mary Louise Kelly All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.