Magazine Extras: Lisa Jackson Takes Us Inside You Don't Want To Know

Do you love to go behind the scenes of a good book? Well, you aren't alone. And today with these exclusive photos and excerpts that we couldn’t fit into the August issue of RT BOOK REVIEWS magazine, Lisa Jackson continues her tour of the Pacific Northwest, the setting for her new thriller, You Don’t Want to Know. Jackson shares photos that inspired her story, as well as excerpts paired with each photo, showing how her inspiration translated onto the page ... 

This Victorian mansion in Oregon was behind the vision for Neptune’s Gate, the house in You Don't Want to Know. However, the house in Lisa Jackson’s book is much darker than the one pictured here (with Lisa herself standing on its porch). “The house and grounds [in the photo] are well-tended,” says Jackson, “they don’t have the sinister feel and look of Neptune’s Gate, but this is exactly the architecture that served as inspiration.”

In the following excerpt, Ava is recovering from the confusion of thinking she saw her son, Noah, on the dock behind the house, as she thinks about the history of the family property ...

The lights flickered twice as Ava stood under the hot shower spray. Each time darkness flooded the bathroom, she tensed and placed a hand on the tiled shower wall, but fortunately the power didn’t go out. Thank God. That was the problem with this island, which was set off the coast of Washington with no access to the mainland except by private boat or a ferry that ran twice a day to Anchorville, weather permitting.

It had been a haven for her great-great-grandparents, Ava knew, who had settled here, commanded the largest chunk of real estate, and somehow, through logging and sawmilling, had made a fortune. When other people had settled on the island, Stephen Monroe Church had offered them lumber and supplies and, more importantly, jobs.

Ava had always wondered about the population back then. Why leave the comfort of the mainland? What had the settlers been running to ...or, more likely, from?

Whatever their reasons, they had helped Stephen and his wife, Molly, construct this grandiose home, complete with three sets of stairs, three floors above ground (not counting the attic), and a basement now used for storage and Wyatt’s wine cellar and Jacob’s apartment. Built in the Victorian style on one of the highest points on the island, Neptune’s Gate had nearly a three-hundred-and-sixty-degree view from its westerly turret, which rose over a widow’s walk. Hence it was a house of windows that winked and caught in the summer sunlight. This time of year, though, with the fog and rain, sleet and hail, the refracting rays were few and far between.

Casting a glance at the stable again, she thought about the new man Wyatt hired and told herself to trust that her husband had picked the right man for the job.

She walked swiftly down the back steps to the curving drive and through the massive open gates to the road leading into town. Monroe was less than half a mile down the hill, built upon the shore where the bay fingered a little inland, and Ava figured the walk would help clear her head and keep her focused.

Without meds.

Hopefully the fresh air and exercise, not to mention getting out of that prison of a house, would help dispel the headache that seemed to be constantly lurking inside her brain, ready to rage at any moment.

She slid a pair of sunglasses onto the bridge of her nose and kept to the side of the road where the gravel-covered sparse moss and weeds hadn’t quite died with the coming of winter. The air was brisk, the scent of the sea strong as the sun peeked from behind thick, billowing clouds. Farther west, out to sea, a fog bank seemed to hover, as if waiting for a starting bell or some other indication to roll inland. For now, though, the day was clear, the sunlight warm against her skin despite the breath of autumn.

Once in the tiny burg of Monroe, she found her way to the marina and passed boats where fishermen were sorting their catches or cleaning their hulls or fiddling with the engines of their moored crafts. Moored near the end of one pier was the Holy Terror, a walk around type fishing boat. Butch Johansen was seated at the helm of his small craft, perusing a newspaper. A ratty baseball cap hid the fact that he was prematurely bald, and a cigarette dangled from his lips. He wore a down vest over a sweatshirt, jeans that had seen better days, and half a week’s growth of dark beard.

He glanced up as Ava’s shadow fell across him.

Once she was satisfied that Wyatt and the good doctor were out of sight, Ava tossed her coffee cup and its cold remains into a nearby trash can, then hiked the remaining three blocks to her hypnotist’s studio.

Telling herself it meant nothing that Wyatt was meeting with her doctor, that she had to have a little faith, she hurried down the curved steps to the basement level, then paused at the door of the rambling Victorian home. Once owned by a timber baron, it had been cut into several apartments and was now owned by Cheryl Reynolds, a fiftyish woman who claimed to have a “gift” to not only be able to hypnotize her clients, but also, for a few extra dollars, predict their future.

You’ve never been one to believe in hocus-pocus or parlor games or hypnosis, have you? Remember going to the state fair and seeing a hypnotist with volunteers from the audience, how they all appeared to sleep, then got up and stomped around, then flapped their arms as if they were chickens? Is that what you want? The first time, this didn’t work, right? But still you’re back here, hoping for what? Answers about your son? Repressed memories brought to the surface?

Ava’s shoulders tightened. She felt a cool breath of wind tugging on her hair and remembered the dream, how real it had been, then yesterday seeing Noah on the dock.

She pressed the buzzer.

Two of Cheryl’s stray cats watched from their perches in the retaining wall as Ava waited, second-guessing herself.

Half a minute later, the door opened.

“Ava, so good to see you,” Cheryl said as she motioned Ava inside.

Barely five feet, Cheryl hid her curves with a tie-dyed caftan, and her blond curls were banded away from her round face, which was creased with worry. No doubt the story of Ava’s latest crazy dive into the bay had reached her ears, too, through the coffee shops and tearooms of the town. “So, tell me,” she insisted as soft music whispered through the hallways and the scent of incense couldn’t quite mask the thin, sharp odors of mildew and cat urine. “How are you?”

“I keep saying I’m fine, but of course . . .”

“You’re not.”

“It’s the dreams again. I know it sounds crazy, impossible, but I see him. I see my baby.” She fought to keep her voice from cracking when she thought of Noah.

Cheryl patted her arm. “Come on in. Let’s see what we can do.”


This is a photo of Lisa Jackson and her pug, Jackie O No, at her local coffee shop. In You Don't Want to Know, there’s also a coffee shop in town that serves as a meeting place for different characters at different times. 

Here's another snippit of the story that features this local hot spot...

Grabbing her bags from the backseat, Ava waved good-bye, then walked down the asphalt path to the marina. Her stomach clenched with each footstep. Somehow she had to get through the next few hours with Wyatt and pretend to enjoy spending time with him when all she wanted to do was get back to the island and set up the recording equipment. She’d lock herself in the bathroom, run the shower, and connect all the pieces of her spy equipment so that all she had to do once everyone in the house was asleep was place the camera and recorder in the attic. Motion activated, it would only record when someone came into the bedroom and checked his or her equipment. “Spy vs. Spy,” she whispered, thinking of the old comic strip and cartoon show she’d seen as a child. “Two can play at this game.” 

 But first she had to deal with her husband.

On the waterfront, lights were strung near the entrance to the marina. She passed the open market, where the smell of fish was overpowering, and she saw Lizzy helping to scoop out a mound of shrimp for a couple who were perusing the glass display case.

Three doors down, she entered the coffee shop where the scent of brewing coffee was strong and rows of brightly colored Christmas gifts for the coffee connoisseur were displayed near a case of coffee cakes, doughnuts, and croissants. She ordered a pumpkin latte she really didn’t want, then sat at a tall table near the window, her bags at her feet.

Sipping the latte, she set her elbows on the top of the bistro table and stared out the window toward the waterfront, dreading the boat ride with her husband.


"In You Don’t Want to Know, a woman believes she sees the ghost of her two-year-old son who drowned years before, and the question becomes whether she is losing her mind through grief, or if there is truth to her visions,” says Jackson. “Although this novel is fiction, the experience of losing a child and the shattering grief it causes is all too real for many families. It’s a tragedy that my own family has experienced. When a child is lost, you feel so alone and guilty, and often you are left with haunting questions. This kind of turmoil is often treated almost shamefully and an important part of moving through it is by sharing it with others who understand. Coincidentally, just after I finished writing You Don’t Want to Know, I connected with Molly Bears, an organization that provides stuffed bears to those who have lost a child. It was started by Bridget Crews, who named it after Molly, the daughter she lost at birth. The bears are individualized and made to weigh the same as the child. These cute bears help comfort grieving families and put an upbeat spin on something very dark.”

Learn More About Molly Bears >>

For more from Lisa Jackson on her latest suspense, pick up the August issue of RT BOOK REVIEWS in stores now. You can also subscribe to the magazine here. Additionally, you can find the latest genre news and coverage on RT's Everything Mystery/Thriller/Suspense Page!