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

Completely Sucked Me In!!!

What made the experience of listening to The One I Left Behind the most enjoyable?

This story is told both in the present and the past so you get all the details. It sucked me in and I was hooked. I listened to it in 2 days. Really kept me on the edge of my seat wanting to solve the mystery.


What other book might you compare The One I Left Behind to and why?

I guess I would compare this to Shiloh Walker's Ash Trilogy because both have a serial killer that is killing women in a town that doesn't have crime. And both keep you changing your mind about who you think the killer is.


Have you listened to any of Julia Whelan’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

The narrator did a good job. I don't think I've listened to anything else she has narrated to compare but she fit this story well. I can say I wasn't a big fan of the voice she used for the girls mother, Vera, other than that I liked how she narrated this book.


Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I couldn't stop listening until I knew what had actually happend!


Any additional comments?

Definitely worth the credit. I will recommend this to my friends. If you like mystery/suspense (with no real romance) you'll enjoy this.

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- Cyndi Marie "Addicted to any type of Romance/Erotica audio books."

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 "From Austen to zombies!"

Book Details

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