Title: The One I Left Behind
Author: Jennifer McMahon
No. of Pages: 432
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Origins: William Morrow
Bottom Line: Easy to read and fun – it is a great thriller that really does keep you guessing.
”The summer of 1985 changes Reggie’s life. An awkward thirteen-year-old, she finds herself mixed up with the school outcasts. That same summer, a serial killer called Neptune begins kidnapping women. He leaves their severed hands on the police department steps and, five days later, displays their bodies around town. Just when Reggie needs her mother, Vera, the most, Vera’s hand is found on the steps. But after five days, there’s no body and Neptune disappears.Now, twenty-five years later, Reggie is a successful architect who has left her hometown and the horrific memories of that summer behind. But when she gets a call revealing that her mother has been found alive, Reggie must confront the ghosts of her past and find Neptune before he kills again.”
Thoughts: Jennifer McMahon can write a thriller. In her latest novel, The One I Left Behind, she proves that she can write a character-driven thriller. Reggie is a fascinating character. Her tough-love exterior and need for independence and mobility is a strong counterpoint to the fragility of her mother. The search for Neptune, twenty years after he first disappeared, is a thrilling roller coaster ride through human nature. The big reveal will have readers on the edge of their seats, while Reggie’s continued growth will keep readers cheering until the last page.
As readers discover through the flashes through time, Reggie never loses that awkwardness and fragility she had at the time of her mother’s disappearance. This discovery not only creates a more vulnerable and therefore sympathetic character, it also adds an emotional element to the story. Reggie’s growth as an adult, as she finally learns to accept and move beyond the events of that fateful summer, are as enjoyable as the search for Neptune is.
The One I Left Behind is a suspenseful thriller that grabs a reader’s attention from the first page and does not let go. While the story itself is very strong, it is made even more interesting by Reggie’s surprising delicateness. The seamless flashes between 1985 and 2010 not only help drive the mystery, but they create an essential character development that adds to the story’s heart and ultimately its intensity. Reggie’s battle is not only with Neptune and his continued hold over the family, but it is with herself as well. Ms. McMahon adds plenty of twists and turns that will keep readers from guessing the truth until the big reveal. The entire story is an excellent example of a suspenseful novel done right and definitely worth checking out as an excellent way to ring in the new year.
That was me when I read it. I loved that novel and was just completely not expecting a story like that. I felt this was just as good. Enjoy!
I read that one last year and loved it! That book is actually what prompted me to request this one. I really enjoyed her twists and turns.
LOL! Carry on. I understood what you were saying. This one is excellent and definitely not horror-filled.
This one, though, I could read. (yes, I'm carrying on a continuing conversation with myself in your comments)
I read Don't Breathe a Word a few years ago and it sucked me in. I was completely caught off guard and I've been curious about reading more of her work since. 🙂 I'm glad to hear this one is great too!
I am reading her Don't Breathe a Word right now – it's really good.
Enjoy! I read one of her previous novels, but I think this one is better!
Ooh … I do love character-driven thrillers! I'm adding this to my list.
LOL! I have been reading a lot of thrillers lately. It's weird as I usually read a lot more YA and that has been virtually nonexistent in recent months. I promise 2013 won't be so thriller-heavy!
That being said, I love adding to your mental tbr list. Just let me know when it reaches 600 and I'll be satisfied! 😉
It was interesting, to me anyway. I am extremely picky about my thrillers – they can't be too predictable or contrived, and this one met my criteria. I hope you decide to add it to your list of thrillers and that both you and your friend enjoy it!
Ooooh, this one sounds good! I don't read many thrillers..heck I think the ones I have read in the past 6 months were recommended by you. So! Another rec from Michelle is added to my mental tbr list, what do you know!? 😉
Sounds like an interesting read indeed though my list of thrillers read has grown smaller in recent years. Might have to check this one out in the near future but in the mean time, I definitely have a friend that would love to read it. Thanks for sharing…and happy reading!