The One I Left Behind, by Jennifer McMahon
It scared Reggie a little - how consumed Tara had become with all of this. But deep down, she believed Tara was right - the police were not going to catch this guy. They'd had their chance and failed three times. And this time was different. This time, it was her own mother's life at stake.
The summer of 1985 changed Reggie's life forever. 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 who harbors a dark secret. That same summer a serial killer nicknamed Neptune begins kidnapping women, leaving their severed hands on the police department steps and, five days later, publicly displaying their corpses 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 her body fails to show up five days later, and Neptune is never caught.
Now a successful architect who left her hometown behind, Reggie doesn't trust anyone and lives with few attachments. But when her aunt calls saying her mother has been found alive, Reggie must confront the ghosts of her past and find Neptune before he kills again.
I really liked how the book jumped between 1985 and 2010 each chapter, and even more so when Reggie's friends from 1985 started appearing in 2010. Reggie had a huge crush on Charlie, who had feelings for Tara (that were not reciprocated), but now he's a plump real estate agent and she can't reconcile the two. Tara is now a nurse and is hired to care for Vera, Reggie's mother, once she returns, but soon Tara is taken by Neptune and Reggie must find her before she turns into the next victim.
We also learn about a criminal act that the three friends were involved in back in 1985, and how it was covered up and labeled an accident, as well as a dangerous habit that Tara and Reggie shared back then, that Tara introduced to Reggie.
The One I Left Behind is perfect for those who love mysteries, or really anyone that loves a good read - I enjoyed it very much, and it leaves you guessing until the very end as to the real identity of Neptune.
The One I Left Behind will be in stores on January 2, 2013. 5 stars out of 5.
*Disclosure: I received a copy of this novel to review. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.