Wednesday, January 2, 2013
The One I Left Behind by Jennifer McMahon
Published January 2013 by William Morrow Paperbacks
Source: my copy courtesy of the publisher and TLC Book Tours in exchange for this review
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.
After having read and enjoyed by Promise Not To Tell and Dismantled by Jennifer McMahon previously, I was happy to have the opportunity to read and review The One I Left Behind. McMahon's previous books kept me engaged throughout and she included twists I never saw coming. The One I Left Behind is no exception.
The books is as much a book about relationships as it is a murder mystery (the relationship between friends, the relationship between family members) as well as a coming-of-age story. McMahon moves the story back and forth in time, from 1985 to 2010, from teenaged Reggie to nearly 40 Reggie who is still struggling to overcome the sorrows and things she's missed in her life. McMahon keeps things taut, moving along and never staying in one place long enough for the reader to forget where they were previously. There are is a lot of foreshadowing that keeps the reader interested and enough red herrings to keep you guessing.
My one quibble with the book is that every character is so flawed. This may be my Pollyanna upbringing coming into play; I always have a hard time believing that every person surrounding a lead character can be so flawed so I try to not let this distract me from stories.
Thanks to TLC Book Tours for including me on this tour! For other opinions on this book, see list of the full tour. I don't know about the others on the tour, but I know I'll definitely be reading more of McMahon's writings. They never fail to entertain me - and give me the creepies.
To learn more about Jennifer McMahon, check out her website, connect with her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter.