Six years ago Melody Pieterson was attacked and left for dead. She coped by locking away her memories, burying herself. The man responsible was caught and convicted. Even his release from jail won’t derail her new life. She’s a survivor after all. Then the body of another woman is discovered in identical circumstances. Like Melody she has blond hair and green eyes. Like Melody she is found holding a gold bird cage chain.
Her name is Eve Elliot.
The woman were strangers, so Melody thinks. But Eve knew all about Melody’s life. She’d been talking to her friends, she knew their secrets. She knew the man who attacked them had never been caught.
Eve has left behind her story, the clues that will force Melody to confront her own lies and the lies she’s been told.
The clues that will put her life in danger all over again.
A big thanks to Headline Review for providing me with a copy of this book in return for an honest review. This is Colette’s second book and I loved it just as much as her first. Colette was kind enough to send me a signed copy of her debut novel and from the moment I turned the first page, I became an avid fan. The Life I Left Behind cemented Colette as one of my favourite psychological thriller authors!
The story revolves around our protagonist Melody who was a victim of an attempted murder six years ago. Although physically she’s mostly healed, emotionally she’s still as tormented and distraught as before. Melody has tried really hard over the years to move on from what happened to her and in some ways believes that getting married is a step forward in that direction. However, unfortunately things never usually go to plan in a crime novel and before anyone realises, the body of a woman is found tortured in the same way Melody was. Although it was initially presumed that the man responsible was convicted, Melody becomes convinced that something isn’t right and somehow, someway a killer is still lying in wait. The woman who’s body was found is called Eve Elliot and she becomes one of the three main narrators, with the other two being Melody and Detective Inspector Victoria Rutter, who was in charge of investigating the crimes. From the moment we read about Eve’s murder, the novel takes an abrupt turn and becomes this fast paced journey of finding out whether or not the killer was actually convicted and how this will put not only Melody’s life in jeopardy but also those around her.
Now I love a good ghost story as much as the next person but The Life I Left Behind is so much more than that. Melody’s narrative was by far my favourite. Perhaps because she already knew about the lies surrounding the characters or maybe it was just because of how she was as a character but I really loved getting into the mind of a woman who was brutally murdered and who has now made it her mission to warn and protect Melody.
Both Eve and Melody were likable characters. Their grief was saddening and at times I felt that their characters shined the most when they were at their worst. Melody has suffered a great deal and although her family wants the best for her, it becomes apparent that the trauma she has suffered is long term and it’ll take a long time for her to fully overcome it, if ever. In that regard, I found Eve to be quite refreshing, one wouldn’t presume that she’s a individual who has just been murdered. Her sole focus is to warn Melody of the dangers that lie ahead. It was Eve’s narrative that had me turning page after page.
The writing style is unique in the sense that Colette is very detailed in how she goes about telling the story of these two characters. There were times when I felt the story went slightly off tangent but Colette quickly draws the reader back in by adding a new twist in. Like her debut novel, this story too had many twists and turns that are enough to keep you reading from start to finish.
Although I prefer my psychological thrillers to give me the chills and keep me on the edge of my seat, The Life I Left Behind is an intelligent and well crafted thriller that allows you to appreciate this genre to its full capacity. Colette’s storytelling is brilliant and one that I thoroughly enjoy and if you’re a fan of psychological thrillers then this book is definitely worth a read! The Life I Left Behind is a well written, fast paced novel that captivates you from beginning to end and takes you on a thought provoking journey of just how deeply a trauma can impact you and those around you.
Overall Rating: 9/10
You can find out more about Colette and her books from the following places: