Janelle Brown books in order
Janelle Brown is an American writer and New York Times bestselling author of mystery, thriller and contemporary women’s fiction.
A graduate of UC Berkeley, she is best known for writing the bestselling Watch Me Disappear (2017), Pretty Things (2020), This Is Where We Live (2010), among others.
Prior to becoming a novelist, Janelle worked as a senior writer at Salon. She began her career as a staff writer at Wired, and served as the editor and co-founder of Maxi–which was a women’s pop culture Webzine.
Her journalism and essays have appeared in many publications including The New York Times, Vogue, Elle, Wired, Self, RealSimple, and The Los Angeles Times.
Originally from San Francisco, Janelle currently lives in Los Angeles with her husband and their two children.
Genres: Contemporary , Mystery, Thriller, Women's Fiction
- All We Ever Wanted Was Everything (2008)
- This Is Where We Live (2010)
- Watch Me Disappear (2017)
- Pretty Things (2020)
- I'll Be You (2022)
We Could Be Heroes
- Trouble (2023)
Detailed book overview
When Paul Miller’s pharmaceutical company goes public, making his family IPO millionaires, his wife, Janice, is sure this is the windfall she’s been waiting years for—until she learns, via messengered letter, that her husband is divorcing her (for her tennis partner!) and cutting her out of the new fortune.
Meanwhile, four hundred miles south in Los Angeles, the Millers’ older daughter, Margaret, has been dumped by her newly famous actor boyfriend and left in the lurch by an investor who promised to revive her fledgling post-feminist magazine, Snatch.
Sliding toward bankruptcy and dogged by creditors, she flees for home where her younger sister Lizzie, 14, is struggling with problems of her own. Formerly chubby, Lizzie has been enjoying her newfound popularity until some bathroom graffiti alerts her to the fact that she’s become the school slut.
The three Miller women retreat behind the walls of their Georgian colonial to wage battle with divorce lawyers, debt collectors, drug-dealing pool boys, mean girls, country club ladies, evangelical neighbors, their own demons, and each other, and in the process, they become achingly sympathetic characters we can’t help but root for, even as the world they live in epitomizes everything wrong with the American Dream.
Claudia and Jeremy, a young married couple (she’s an aspiring filmmaker, he’s an indie musician), are on the verge of making it. Her first film was a sensation at Sundance and is about to have its theatrical release; he’s got a new band that is a few songs shy of an album. They’ve recently purchased their first home—a mid-century bungalow with a breathtaking view of Los Angeles—with the magical assistance of an adjustable-rate mortgage.
But a series of seismic events—the tanking of Claudia’s film, the return of Jeremy’s manipulative, art-star ex-girlfriend, and the staggering adjustment of their monthly mortgage payments—threaten to deal a crushing blow to their dreams of the bohemian life and their professional aspirations and make them question their shared vision of the future.
Who you want people to be makes you blind to who they really are.
It’s been a year since Billie Flanagan—a Berkeley mom with an enviable life—went on a solo hike in Desolation Wilderness and vanished from the trail. Her body was never found, just a shattered cellphone and a solitary hiking boot. Her husband and teenage daughter have been coping with Billie’s death the best they can: Jonathan drinks as he works on a loving memoir about his marriage; Olive grows remote, from both her father and her friends at the all-girls school she attends.
But then Olive starts having strange visions of her mother, still alive. Jonathan worries about Olive’s emotional stability, until he starts unearthing secrets from Billie’s past that bring into question everything he thought he understood about his wife. Who was the woman he knew as Billie Flanagan?
Together, Olive and Jonathan embark on a quest for the truth—about Billie, but also about themselves, learning, in the process, about all the ways that love can distort what we choose to see. Janelle Brown’s insights into the dynamics of intimate relationships will make you question the stories you tell yourself about the people you love, while her nervy storytelling will keep you guessing until the very last page.
Nina once bought into the idea that her fancy liberal arts degree would lead to a fulfilling career. When that dream crashed, she turned to stealing from rich kids in L.A. alongside her wily Irish boyfriend, Lachlan.
Nina learned from the best: Her mother was the original con artist, hustling to give her daughter a decent childhood despite their wayward life. But when her mom gets sick, Nina puts everything on the line to help her, even if it means running her most audacious, dangerous scam yet.
Vanessa is a privileged young heiress who wanted to make her mark in the world. Instead she becomes an Instagram influencer—traveling the globe, receiving free clothes and products, and posing for pictures in exotic locales. But behind the covetable façade is a life marked by tragedy.
After a broken engagement, Vanessa retreats to her family’s sprawling mountain estate, Stonehaven: a mansion of dark secrets not just from Vanessa’s past, but from that of a lost and troubled girl named Nina.
Nina’s, Vanessa’s, and Lachlan’s paths collide here, on the cold shores of Lake Tahoe, where their intertwined lives give way to a winter of aspiration and desire, duplicity and revenge.
Two identical twin sisters and former child actors have grown apart—until one disappears.
“You be me, and I’ll be you,” I whispered.
As children, Sam and Elli were two halves of a perfect whole: gorgeous identical twins whose parents sometimes couldn’t even tell them apart. They fell asleep to the sound of each other’s breath at night, holding hands in the dark. And once Hollywood discovered them, they became B-list child TV stars, often inhabiting the same role.
But as adults, their lives have splintered. After leaving acting, Elli reinvented herself as the perfect homemaker: married to a real estate lawyer, living in a house just blocks from the beach. Meanwhile, Sam has never recovered from her failed Hollywood career, or from her addiction to the pills and booze that have propped her up for the last fifteen years.
Sam hasn't spoken to her sister since her destructive behavior finally drove a wedge between them. So when her father calls out of the blue, Sam is shocked to learn that Elli’s life has been in turmoil: her husband moved out, and Elli just adopted a two-year-old girl. Now she’s stopped answering her phone and checked in to a mysterious spa in Ojai.
Is her sister just decompressing, or is she in trouble? Could she have possibly joined a cult? As Sam works to connect the dots left by Elli’s baffling disappearance, she realizes that the bond between her and her sister is more complicated than she ever knew.
We Could Be Heroes
What does it take to be a good mother? A good neighbor? Straight answers are hard to find...
Polly’s fourth-grade daughter has been spending a lot of time with her classmate Sylvie—maybe too much. Sylvie’s clothes are a little…flashy…and her phone (a ten-year-old with a phone!) doesn’t seem to have any parental controls. It seems that Sylvie’s mother, with her vape pens and her too-high heels, may not be making good choices. As Polly tries to exert a positive influence, she discovers just how little anyone can tell about a family from the outside.
NB: Janelle Brown’s Trouble is part of We Could Be Heroes, a darkly inquisitive collection of short stories that examines heroic intentions versus their real-life consequences. Here is the complete list of the collection:
1. Pigeon Tony's Last Stand (2023) By Lisa Scottoline
2. Unknown Caller (2023) By Lisa Unger
3. Trouble By (2023) Janelle Brown
4. These Cold Strangers (2023) By J.T. Ellison
5. Kill Night (2023) By Victor Methos