Richly Drawn Novel

15818278The One I Left Behind by Jennifer McMahon
My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Fate has a funny way of intervening in my life, and if it wasn’t for fate, I probably wouldn’t have ended up with an Advanced Reader’s Copy (ARC) of THE ONE I LEFT BEHIND. I attended Bouchercon at the beginning of this month (October 2012), and on Friday, several authors were signing advanced copies of their latest novels, or copies of their just released novels. Out of curiosity more than anything else, since I’d never heard of Jennifer McMahon, I made my way to the hospitality suite, stood in line, had a brief conversation with the author, and walked out of the suite with the ARC in tow. Because I discovered a new author more than worthy of my attention, I have the signed copy in my possession, sitting on my bookshelf.

As for the author, I’d have to agree with the Los Angeles Times, who called her “One of the brightest new stars of literary suspense.” And I’d say she does a wonderful job at proving the only rule of writing that matters: With great writing, there are no rules. I’ve never read an author before that bounces between the past and present in alternating chapters, and from what I understand, this isn’t the only novel that takes advantage of this technique. Also, in a few cases, she picks up the action immediately in the next chapter of this alternating sequence. Many writers probably couldn’t get away with this, yet Ms. McMahon makes it work, and upon finishing this novel, I don’t think she could have structured the story any other way.

THE ONE I LEFT BEHIND is a suspense novel, but much more than that, it is a novel about character, friendships, embracing the past, place, and relationships. In other words, it’s a richly drawn novel that will leave you well satiated by the time you reach the end. It’s a novel I feel rather lucky to have discovered, yet it’s not a novel I probably would have consciously sought out. So I feel rather fortunate fate intervened and shoved this book in my lap, and practically screamed at me to pay attention. If not for fate, I would have missed out on a bright star in literary suspense, along with one beautifully written novel. As for future reading material, I already downloaded a special Kindle edition of Don’t Breathe A Word, and I’ll keep my eye on her backlist.

I received this book for free at Bouchercon.

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