The One I Left Behind: A Novel (Paperback)
“One of the brightest new stars of literary suspense.”
—Los Angeles Times
New York Times bestselling author Jennifer McMahon is back with a gut-wrenching mystery about an architect whose troubled mother has been found 25 years after being kidnapped—by a killer who is still on the loose
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.
About the Author
Jennifer McMahon is the author of Dismantled, the New York Times bestseller Island of Lost Girls, and the breakout debut novel Promise Not to Tell. She lives in Vermont with her partner, Drea, and their daughter, Zella.
“McMahon expertly ratchets up the suspense, but it’s her full-blooded characters that make this thriller stand out from the serial-killer pack.” — People (3 ½ stars)
“Totally engrossing...Hard to put down...A quick read that is highly entertaining.” — Oklahoma City Oklahoman
“A mesmerizing psychological thriller...McMahon fills THE ONE I LEFT BEHIND with unpredictable twists and turns as she explores that great mystery of the human heart.” — South Florida Sun Sentinel
“[A] haunting work of literary suspense ...Grippingly plotted, this intricate, character-driven story seamlessly shifts time.” — Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“McMahon scores a solid touchdown in this creepy but engrossing thriller....Readers will find themselves unable to turn the pages fast enough in this perfectly penned thriller.” — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Haunting and harrowing, The One I Left Behind offers enthralling suspense but also so much more: a richly poignant tale of the families we’re born into and the ones we build ourselves.” — Megan Abbott, author of Dare Me