I have read all of Ms. McMahon's previous books and found them uniformly excellent. This latest one is no exception: well written, with appealing characters, and a mystery at its heart. It seems that, in the mid 1980s a serial killer was cutting off the right hands of females, and depositing them on the steps of the local police station. Five days later the bodies would be placed somewhere in the town. The killer was never apprehended, and the last victim's right hand showed up, but her body never was found.
In 2010 the female protagonist is told that her mother, the last woman kidnapped, was not dead as had been feared, but was alive and suffering from a terminal illness. The mother is in a very confused state, and the daughter rushes to her childhood town and home to help. The chapters alternate, with events in 1985 and then in 2010, and also with excerpts from a book about the killings published by a local reporter in the `80s.
There occur a number of surprising moments, and the daughter resolves to discover if the killer, nicknamed "Neptune", has survived and if he will come after her mother. The worst happens and it appears that Neptune has returned, leaving the severed right hand of the daughter's friend in the usual place. She has five days to discover Neptune's identity and save her friend.
It's an exciting book, with red herrings tossed here and there, and with a climax that is heart-stopping. I hope Ms. McMahon continues to write such excellent novels, and I will certainly read them!
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About the reviewer
Frank J. Konopka (frankiethek)
I'm a small town general practice attorney in the hard coal region of Pennsylvania. Books are my passion, andI read as many of them asI can. Being the President of the local library board for over … more
“[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 Behindoffers 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 ofDare Me)