Thursday, January 30, 2014

The One I Left Behind by Jennifer McMahon

I can't say exactly how it happened, but Jennifer McMahon has made it onto my list of "auto-read" authors–– the ones whose books I always pick up and enjoy reading. That said, my reading habits were pretty terrible in 2013, and although I picked up The One I Left Behind right when it was released, it took me nearly nine months to finish it (until September). With her next novel, The Winter People, about to release, I knew that it was time to write this review before I get the two confused.

In The One I Left Behind, thirteen year-old Reggie's life changes forever when a serial killer called Neptune takes her mother. It's the killer's last victim, and nobody appears before he disappears forever. Nearly two decades later, Reggie gets a call-- her mother is confused and sick, but alive. Now Reggie has to figure out what happened in order to prevent Neptune from returning.

The One I Left Behind is the fourth book I've read by McMahon, and at this point there are certain things I expect from her books. Basically, I expect vivid settings, a mystery that suddenly becomes important decades later (and the book alternates between when it occurred and the present time), and a strong, female voice to narrate. Occasionally, there is a hint of the paranormal as well.

Despite certain predicable elements, there is something just so engaging and well-written about McMahon's books, and so although I don't think I would reread any, I will definitely keep picking up her new ones. Although it has a few lulls, overall The One I Left Behind had me on edge while I was reading it and wanting to know what happened. It was an intelligent, original, and fun novel to read, one just as much about Reggie and her relationships both as a child and now, as about the serial killer.

Ultimately, The One I Left Behind is successful for the same reason McMahon is, because her storytelling takes fully-fleshed characters that feel authentic and human, and put them in unexpected mystery situations the reader really wants to solve. As long as she keeps doing that, I will keep reading her books!

Release Date: January 2nd, 2013  Pages: 422  Format: ARC
Source: Publisher  Publisher: William Morrow   Buy It: Book Depository


  1. I think I auto-read her books for the same reason that you do. I haven't read this one, or her new one, yet, but I definitely want to.

    1. I have an egalley of her next one so I'm planning to start it next week :)

  2. Interesting blog. It would be great if you can provide more details about it. Thanks you

    HealthCare CPA


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