I’m a big fan of thrillers, most likely stemming from my love of Law & Order: SVU. So, this book seemed to be right up my alley with a serial killer and a twenty-five year-old mystery. I’ve read a few other Jennifer McMahon thrillers in the past, but I have to say that The One I Left Behind was the one that most impressed me.
The story starts off with Reggie receiving a phone call informing her that her mother, Vera, has been found alive after being missing for 25 years. Right off the bat, you’re caught up in the suspense: Who is Neptune? Where has Vera been for all of these years? From there the story alternates between present-day (narrated by adult-Reggie) and 1985 (narrated by teenager-Reggie). You’re able to get to know 13 year-old Reggie, and learn about the complicated relationship she had with her mother. The present-day chapters give you an understanding on how Vera’s disappearance affected Reggie, and how she’s still dealing with those issues. You meet a variety of characters, and it seems there’s a possibility that anyone could be Neptune.
Overall, I really enjoyed The One I Left Behind. Once I got used to the back and forth narration, I felt the plot moved at a fairly fast pace. I found myself reading as quickly as possible to try to figure out who Neptune was and what happened to Vera. McMahon drops little clues throughout the story, and it was fun to try to guess who the serial killer was. The end payoff was worth it, as I was surprised by the final twist.
The One I Left Behind is a quick read, but it packs a punch. If you’re into criminal thrillers, I think you’ll definitely be a fan!