First line: "The first thing he notices is the cold."
Colette McBeth follows up her debut novel, Precious Thing, with a suspense-filled mystery told from three women's perspectives: Detective Inspector Victoria Rutter, crime survivor Melody Pieterson and the spirit of murder victim Eve Elliot.
The paths of these women cross when Eve is found dead clutching a chain with a small birdcage pendant. Six years earlier Melody narrowly escaped the same fate--grasping a similar necklace--saved purely by the luck of a chance passerby. David Alden, the man convicted of Melody's attack, is out of prison and the prime suspect in Eve's murder. However, unbeknownst to Melody, who remembers nothing of her assault, Eve had been investigating the case in an effort to clear David of the heinous crime.
As DI Rutter and Melody pour through the investigation files Eve left behind, a tangled web of lies and deceit starts to unravel. David Alden's innocence becomes clear, meaning DI Rutter has to race to identify the true killer before he can finish what he started with Melody.
The Life I Left Behind is a spellbinding thriller with several strong plot twists that will likely have seasoned mystery readers second-guessing their early whodunit predictions. However, the novel is also a compelling look at the devastating psychological effects violent crime wreaks on everyone connected.
The role of DI Rutter is ultimately inconsequential to the overall story and focusing solely on Melody and Eve could have tightened the plot; still McBeth's sophomore novel is a captivating page-turner capable of stealing hours before readers ever notice they're gone.
The Life I Left Behind is available in hardcover (ISBN: 9781250041210) from Minotaur Books and as an unabridged audio download, narrated by Imogen Church, from Headline Digital.