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Audiobook Review

The One I Left Behind

Jennifer McMahon
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average rating is 4 out of 5
average rating is 4 out of 5

Excellent, Unforgettable, Best of the nest

Very good, thoroughly enjoyed, 

Good, Solid, Enjoyed many aspects


Tragic, Horrifying, Fascinating


💛 A psychological thriller about a long dormant serial killer who may strike again. The story of a dysfunctional mother-daughter relationship. A coming-of-age retrospective. A slowly simmering horror. There are so many layers to this story, so many rabbit holes. And they work together seamlessly.

🧡 As always, McMahon develops a compelling story rich in detail, dramatic events and characters with complex motivations to match. Only then does she indulge in her trademark twists, turns and elements of horror, allowing them to emerge organically.

💙 In other words, by the time the creepiest, scariest elements of this tale came out to play, I was already fully invested in Reggie's difficult upbringing. I already felt simultaneously sorry for and infuriated by Vera. I held a deep dislike for Tara and was intrigued by Neptune. All of this together is what makes McMahon the queen bee of her genre.

💜 This is such a hybrid of a story, it's hard to find a good comparison. Here goes: Take the toxic friendships in The Craft and add every character played by Constance Langdon in American Horror Story. Mix in a serial killer cold case and a Stranger Things retrospective. Top off with a twist as creepy and unexpected as The Sixth Sense. I think we're in the neighbourhood of this now.


🎧 My everlasting love of Julia Whelan endures. Yes, it is the Whelanator (I'm still working on the moniker) herself who narrates this audiobook, giving it that wistful, thoughtful yet personable touch. The Whelan Factor, if you will. Beautiful performance.


No spoilers for this one. Maybe next time!
Click For Spoilers

The One I Left Behind


The summer of 1985 changed Reggie's life. Thirteen, awkward, and without a father, she finds herself mixed up with her school's outcasts-Charlie, the local detective's son, and Tara, a goth kid who has a mental hold over Reggie and harbors a dark secret. 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-an ex-model with many "boyfriends" and a thirst for gin-the most, Vera's hand is found on the steps. But after five days, there's no body and Neptune disappears.

Now a successful architect who left her hometown behind after that horrific summer, Reggie doesn't trust anyone and lives with few attachments. But when she gets a call from a homeless shelter saying that her mother has been found alive, Reggie must confront the ghosts of her past and find Neptune before he kills again.

With her signature style, Jennifer McMahon portrays the dark side of adolescent friendship and introduces characters who haunt the imagination, along with a disturbing web of secrets, betrayals, and murder.
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