The One I Left Behind

  • by Jennifer McMahon
  • Narrated by Julia Whelan
  • 12 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The summer of 1985 changes Reggie’s life. An awkward 13-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, 25 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.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Suspense that won't quit!

This came up in my recommendations, and I'm glad I gave it a shot. The author alternates between 2010 and 1985, telling the story of architect Regina "Reggie" Dufrane and her flaky mom, Vera. Vera's a washed-up former model who asks everyone she meets if they knew she was the Aphrodite Cold Cream girl.

In 1985, Vera disappears, taken by a serial killer. Her body never turns up, though...at least not for a while.

The alternation between timelines adds to the suspense. It's hard to guess what's going to happen next, no matter which year you're in! I have to admit it didn't keep me guessing all the way until the end--but I was still in the dark for much longer than I would have been with a typical mystery.

Going back and forth was also the source of my main issue with the book: some of the characters came out a bit cardboardish. It seemed that with their timelines split, none of them had the chance to become whole. That feeling carried over to a few characters who existed only in one of the years, too. It felt like they just didn't get enough page time to fully develop.

Still, the problem was small in a story that moved so fast, taking so many interesting twists and turns. The ending did not disappoint. And I can't say enough about the narration, expertly provided by Julia Whelan who did such a fabulous job on "Gone Girl."

Recommended for anyone who enjoys a good, creepy serial killer yarn!



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- Lesley

Could not get through it

Perhaps this is my fault, but I could not get past the pathos. The characters leave such incredibly depressing lives (the ones who didn't have it that bad felt that they did)...and, quite frankly, I did not feel that McMahon was going to make the ending worthwhile. There were too many implausible "twists" already. Too many relationships that simply did not add up. A better listener might have struggled on and gotten to the ending that other reviewers are praising, I couldn't. Listened to about two thirds of the book and gave up.
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- cristina

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-02-2013
  • Publisher: HarperAudio