The Life I Left Behind, by Colette McBeth, is a nicely woven whodunnit with the added twist of an ongoing narration by a murder victim.
For reasons that she does not understand Eve has been left in limbo, observing her family and friends as they attempt to come to terms with her violent death. As events unfold it becomes clear that another young woman is in danger from the man who murdered Eve. Is the perpetrator really the prime suspect, who has already served time in prison, or could it be someone else? Only Eve knows the truth.
As the shared history of the cast of characters is recounted it becomes clear that secrets and lies abound. Eve had been investigating a possible miscarriage of justice, digging deeper than the police had done in their quest for a speedy conviction. As those who are left read through her notes they start to ask themselves if it was what Eve uncovered in her investigation that lead to her death.
The plot is compelling and well written. Although I had my suspicions I could not be sure how it would end. There were plenty of suggestions and false leads which were nicely tied up, although I was disappointed by the main denouement. To me the book felt unfinished, missing a final chapter. The ghost narrator worked as a plot device but I did not fully appreciate its relevance to the conclusion. A fleeting explanation was there, but personally I did not feel it was enough.
It was only this last chapter that didn’t work for me. The rest of the book told a satisfying story that teased without telling too much too soon. The complex characters were believable and had sufficient depth to maintain interest.
Given the quality of the writing this was an enjoyable enough read, even with the perceived weakness of an incomplete end.
My copy of this book was provided gratis by the publisher, Headline.