Reviewed by Vera Pereskokova
It is the summer of 1985 and in the sleepy town of Brighton Falls, Connecticut, a serial killer known only as Neptune is killing women. Carefully severed hands placed in milk cartons are dropped off on the steps of the police station, and several days later, matching bodies are displayed, naked, around town for everyone to see.
Awkward 13-year-old Reggie is used to her barfly mother’s frequent absences, but when the fourth hand is found she knows exactly who it belongs to: Vera Dufrane, a has-been beauty queen and her mother. However, this time, Vera’s body never shows up and the killings stop. Reggie, who’s never met her father, blames her aunt Lorraine for kicking her mother out and straight into the hands of Neptune, and leaves town at seventeen.
Twenty-five years later, Reggie, now a successful green architect, is shocked to discover that Vera is alive. Reluctantly, Reggie returns to Brighton Falls in order to deliver Vera into Lorraine’s care, but Vera’s reappearance brings back another character from Reggie’s past – Neptune. When a severed hand of someone close to Reggie once again appears on the police steps, she must come to terms with her past and find Neptune before it’s too late…
The One I Left Behind alternates between 1985, when Vera first disappeared, and 2010, when she turns up in Massachusetts. In her typical – and absolutely amazing – fashion, Jennifer McMahon unfurls the story slowly, revealing one small clue after another, until the entire mystery is unraveled, but not until the very last pages.
I don’t generally read anything in the suspense genre, but I will always read anything by Jennifer McMahon. If you’ve read just one of her books, you begin to look for tiny hints and intricate foreshadowing that she lays out ever so carefully. And if you think you know who the culprit/bad guy/killer is before the book’s end, I can almost guarantee you that you’d be wrong. The One I Left Behind is my fourth book by McMahon, and I’m yet to be even remotely close to solving the wonderful puzzles that all her books are.
The One I Left Behind is sure to please all readers, regardless of their genre preference. As always, bravo Jennifer!
Also by Jennifer McMahon: Dismantled
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by William Morrow Paperbacks. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.