Monday, January 7, 2013

Review: The One I Left Behind

The One I Left Behind by Jennifer McMahon
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Pages: 432 (paperbook)
Source: TLC Book Tours - Thank you!
Author's Website | Twitter | Facebook
Buy it: Amazon | Kindle | B&N | Book Depo


Bestselling author Jennifer McMahon is back with a gut-wrenching mystery about an architect whose troubled mother has been found 25 years after being kidnapped-by a killer who is still on the loose.

The summer of 1985 changed Reggie's life. Thirteen, awkward, and without a father, she finds herself mixed up with her school's outcasts-Charlie, the local detective's son, and Tara, a goth kid who has a mental hold over Reggie and harbors a dark secret. 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-an ex-model with many "boyfriends" and a thirst for gin-the most, Vera's hand is found on the steps. But after five days, there's no body and Neptune disappears.

Now a successful architect who left her hometown behind after that horrific summer, Reggie doesn't trust anyone and lives with few attachments. But when she gets a call from a homeless shelter saying that her mother has been found alive, Reggie must confront the ghosts of her past and find Neptune before he kills again.

With her signature style, Jennifer McMahon portrays the dark side of adolescent friendship and introduces characters who haunt the imagination, along with a disturbing web of secrets, betrayals, and murder.

My Rating:

My Review:
Oh how to describe a book like this!  Reggie is a quiet girl who is in love with her best friend and believes the world of her mother.  When a serial killer abducts her mother, she not only loses a parent, but she learns many truths about her mother that she was not yet ready to face.  In the midst of tragedy the friends set out to solve the mystery themselves to a disastrous result.  Fast forward twenty-five years and Reggie's mother is found and she must go home to face the demons that she couldn't face as a child.  But with her mother's return comes the return of the serial killer, Neptune.  Once again, Reggie finds that tragedy hits close to home. But this time, is she strong enough to face it?

This is such an engrossing read that has a bit of everything.  It's a mystery, a coming of age, and story about friendship.  The chapters alternate between the present, the past, and excerpts from a book written about the serial killer, Neptune.  The latter felt like a bonus because it was unique and the voice read so different from that of Reggie.  I felt the middle dragged a little in terms of pacing but the last 150 pages or so had me sitting on the edge of my seat.  I tried to guess the serial killer and was confident in my choice but failed miserably.  I loved how there was a big mystery and a few mini-mysteries that were gradually unveiled throughout the read.  Toward the end my feelings about so many of the characters shifted dramatically.  I thought I knew them, but then a rug was pulled out of my feet and I was left a bit incredulous.  And I loved every minute of it.

Overall, a great coming of age crime mystery book.

P.S.  Isn't the cover just so haunting and real?
Have you read this one?  If so...we really need to talk about those last 150 pages.

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  1. I've got this one on my tbr pile and hope to read it soon. I've always heard such good things about her books. I'm glad to see you enjoyed this one.

  2. True, the cover does look haunting and real

  3. Sounds fantastic. Like something I could dig.

  4. This one sounds fascinating. I like the idea of confronting a mystery so many years later than when it occurred. Glad to know this one isn't easy to guess and is amped up in the mystery end. I'll have to check this one out!

  5. I've this one around Goodreads, it certainly looks good. Great review of the book too.

  6. This sounds amazing! I love a good mystery!

  7. "a mystery, a coming of age, and story about friendship" - sounds like a great combination!

    Thanks for being on the tour. I'm featuring your review on TLC's Facebook page today.


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