Review: 'The One I Left Behind' by Jennifer McMahon
BY OLINE H. COGDILL Sun Sentinel
Sunday, February 10, 2013
2/10/13 at 3:56 AM
Jennifer McMahon's novels share a common link - expert plotting complemented with a real feel for the complicated nature of relationships, emotions and other motivations of a person's actions.
The Vermont-based author continues that high standard in her fifth novel. "The One I Left Behind" works well as a mesmerizing psychological thriller, as a look at how childhood trauma can forever scar an adult and as a testament to the power that the past and how people can hold sway over a person.
And just for good measure, McMahon throws in a bit of small-town angst and a touch of the Gothic.
Reggie Dufrane knew what it means to feel like an outsider, to feel inadequate, awkward and angst ridden. A gangly child, she lived with her distant aunt and her glamorous mother, Vera, a former model and actress, in a rambling house. Reggie's only friends were other outcasts: the goth girl, Tara, forever blamed for her parents' divorce, and Charlie, the police chief's sensitive son.
When she was 13, a serial killer called Neptune murdered four women in her small town of Brighton Falls, Conn. Vera was believed to be the last victim, although her body was never found.
Now 39, Reggie has reinvented herself as one of the top "green" architects in the country, a sought-after professional with multiple awards. She never discusses her past until her aunt calls to tell her that her mother has been found living in a homeless shelter, dying of cancer and incoherent.
Reggie's return home is fraught with emotional peril. But worst of all, Neptune appears to have followed Vera back home.
McMahon fills "The One I Left Behind" with unpredictable twists and turns as she explores that great mystery of the human heart.
Original Print Headline: McMahon writes thrillers with heart
‘THE ONE I LEFT BEHIND’
By Jennifer McMahon
Wm. Morrow, $14.99