The Bullet

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?
  • Gallery Books | 
  • 368 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781476769813 | 
  • March 2015

Video

Mary Louise Kelly discusses her latest novel, 'The Bullet'

Former NPR correspondent Mary Louise Kelly's latest novel concerns a woman who discovers a bullet at the base of her neck that's tied to her parents' murder from decades before.

Read an Excerpt

Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for The Bullet includes an introduction, discussion questions, and ideas for enhancing your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.

Introduction

Caroline Cashion is a mild-mannered professor of French with a stable, loving family and a happy, if uneventful, life. She never expects that a checkup for wrist pain would lead to the shocking revelation that there is a bullet embedded in her neck, which reveals that she is the sole survivor of a brutal murder that killed her birth parents and changed her fate forever. As she attempts to unravel the mystery of her childhood trauma, Caroline must quickly come to terms with the fact that she isn’t the only one with dark secrets. Someone is invested in making sure that a decades-old crime is never solved . . . and he or she is willing to kill to make sure that the past stays covered.

Topics and Questions for Discussion

1. “ ‘We love you. We always will. No matter what, you are our daughter.’ I stared at him. Those were the most frightening words I’d heard yet.” (page 21). Early on in the book, Kelly sets up a relationship between love and fear. How does this play out as The Bullet progresses? Think of several see more

More Books from this Author

Anonymous Sources

About the Author

Mary Louise Kelly
Photo by Katarina Price

Mary Louise Kelly

Mary Louise Kelly has written two novels, The Bullet and Anonymous Sources, and spent two decades traveling the world as a reporter for NPR and the BBC. Her assignments have taken her from grimy Belfast bars to the glittering ports of the Persian Gulf, and from mosques in Hamburg to the ruined deserts of Iraq. As an NPR correspondent covering the intelligence beat and the Pentagon, she reported on wars, terrorism, and rising nuclear powers. A Georgia native, Kelly was educated at Harvard and at Cambridge University in England. She lives in Washington, DC, and Florence, Italy, with her husband and their two children. Learn more at MaryLouiseKellyBooks.com.

BECOME A FAN

Explore

CONNECT WITH US