A star rating of 4 out of 5.

Set against the backdrop of 9/11, People Who Knew Me is a curious tale of a woman who uses a devastating tragedy to escape her own vices.

Rosamund Pike leads the cast as our unreliable narrator - a woman so wrapped up in secrets and lies, it's hard to know at times if we can trust her or not. But that's all part of the intrigue of the BBC Radio 4 series.

The premise of the Kim Hooper novel is complex, and by no means easy to follow. Emily Morris (played by Pike) uses the devastating 9/11 tragedy as a chance to ditch her life in New York City and head to California.

We pick up the narrative 14 years later when Emily (who now goes by Connie Prynne) is given a breast cancer diagnosis. With time against her, Emily must reconnect with her past to make sure her teenage daughter will be OK should the worst happen.

The story is told over a split timeline, diving between New York and California. To say the least, this series demands the full attention of listeners.

What's more, Pike's performance as Emily/Connie is pitched to perfection, with it being hard at times to know whether to trust her narrative. Spiky and defensive, Emily is a closed-off character that only gives what she wants to.

In an audio format, it can be hard to know whether you want to stick around to hear what happens to the protagonist – but you can rest assured with Pike's captivating performance, which gives much-needed compassion and humanity to this complex character.

Subtle voice cracks, pauses for breath and a voice filled with complex emotion make for a compelling listen. It's clear there has been huge trauma in Emily's life that it's hard not to be drawn to her as you strain with every sentence to understand her story deeper.

Pike's whispering and quiet performance pulls in listeners and it's impossible not to find yourself eavesdropping on her private thoughts and feelings. The audio medium offers more intimacy than television could dare to, and it works perfectly for this particular narrative.

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The question remains as to whether or not Emily is a likeable character. At times selfish, closed-off and sarcastic, Emily makes for an intriguing figure. What could happen to someone that they feel they need to use 9/11 to their advantage?

Perhaps more haunting is the fact this is partially based in truth - some probably did use the terror attacks as an escape route out of New York. Sneha Philip hit headlines in 2021 for this very reason; her husband reported her missing on 11th September, and he never saw her again.

The details behind why she may have disappeared rather than died in 9/11 are in New York Magazine and whatever you think happened to Philip, it makes for a captivating premise, which is something Pike describes as "haunting" when discussing why she got involved in the audio drama.

And really, that's what People Who Knew Me is: haunting. It's the type of drama that leaves a lasting impression on you, seeping into your consciousness as you find yourself clawing for more from such an enigmatic and divisive lead character. Long after each instalment, you'll find yourself reflecting on what Emily told you, on what she allowed you to know.

Listening to People Who Knew Me feels like a brain work-out, like an enigma code that needs cracking. Writer/director/co-star Daniella Isaacs has penned a masterful script, created an unsettling atmosphere and produced a piece of work that demands attention.

You should. You should give it your full concentration. It's worth it.

People Who Knew Me episodes arrive Tuesdays and Thursdays on BBC Sounds, with episodes 1 and 2 available now. Check out more of our Drama coverage or visit our TV Guide and Streaming Guide to find out what's on.

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