The One I Left Behind

The One I Left Behind has an interesting premise and started off well. It had me engaged and questioning. Unfortunately it slowly and painfully disintegrated, becoming implausible verging on ridiculous. About the only enjoyable aspect of the story was how it toggles between present day and the main character’s memories of 1985. I thought Jennifer McMahon wrote a predictable plotline with the main character, Regina and her two quirky friends trying to ascertain the killer. Now in the present, again Regina takes it upon herself to determine the identity of Neptune, although warned to wait due to safety issues and concerns. Of course, this action results in Regina being caught by the killer. McMahon did not develop a unique storyline. This approach has been taken countless times. Then there is the tragic accident that resulted in the injury of a peer. This is poorly constructed and only serves to reconnect Regina and her two best friends in the present narrative. Early on I identified Neptune. The self-mutilation piece is glossed over and not sufficiently explored. McMahon creates Tara who promises to be an interesting character. She could have highlighted her more. Why was she so obsessed with the case? Why was she institutionalized? The ending has a multitude of problems. Many of the characters would have had huge issues surrounding the killer’s identity, impacting them significantly. McMahon writes as if these characters had a really bad meal out, not that they were intimately involved with a serial killer. The killer has surgically removed another character’s hand but with the same ease of losing a favorite sweater accepts the replacement of the prosthesis. McMahon could have gone much deeper, ultimately creating something different, special and much more entertaining. 

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