The Life I Left Behind by Colette McBeth is an enticing and intricate thriller told mainly in the perspective of two women: Melody and Eve.
Melody Pieterson lives a life ruled by her distrust of herself and the people around her. She keeps herself hidden behind the walls of a fortress, both mental and physical. However, when Eve Elliot’s body is found by a man and his dog on their walk one day, Melody’s carefully built façade is shattered. Six years prior, Melody was attacked and left for dead at the exact same place Eve was, and one of her friends, David Alden, was found guilty of the crime.
With the two incidents having uncanny similarities, and David’s recent release from prison, the cops automatically point the finger at David for the murder. As Melody tries to make sense of everything that is happening, she begins to think that David may not have been the one that attacked her. However, the answers that she is searching for may come at a price. Will she be able to handle the truth? And will she live long enough to find it?
This novel is told in the perspective of Melody and Eve’s ghost. I had a hard time reading Melody’s sections, not because they were badly-written, but because they were so well-written and in character, that I found myself feeling some of Melody’s emotions. Her chapters were filled with sorrow, depression, and fear. McBeth did a fantastic job capturing the essence of a character living in constant fear and mistrust of herself, but again, it was difficult to read through these parts of the book because they were overwhelmingly depressing. I loved that McBeth used Eve’s lingering spirit to recount the days and months leading up to her murder. McBeth certainly has a talent for creating well-developed characters!
I liked the overall story line…I mean, who doesn’t love a good thriller? If I could find one fault in this novel it would be the complicated webs woven throughout the story that sometimes get a little jumbled with the change in perspectives. The ending, however, made up for this completely. I never would’ve guessed the culprit, and was surprised by how well McBeth set this up. She left breadcrumbs for us throughout the novel, but they weren’t noticeable until we were made privy to the identity of Melody’s attacker.
Overall, I enjoyed reading this novel and would love to read more of McBeth’s novels.
Bethany Kelly is currently getting her MFA at Goddard College and has a BA in English. She is a writer, editor, and stay-at-home mother and wife who spends her spare time (when she has some) reading and cooking. Check out her website at www.bckwritingcorner.com.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Minotaur Books. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.