Review of The Life I Left Behind by Colette McBeth

Published: 13th August 2015 (Paperback!)
Publisher: Headline
Pages: 384


She’s dead but she’s the only one who knows what really happened; What your friends have said. What the police missed. Who attacked you. So if you want the truth who else are you going to turn to?


Thank you to Headline for the review copy.

In October 1987, a woman is murdered and discovered by her ten year old son. He knows all about death but it’s only until he hears his Father scream the following morning that the death becomes a reality. With instant chilling descriptions, Colette pulls the reader in as if we’re sat watching the events in unfold in the cinema.

Eve is dead. She’s been murdered in the woods and discovered a while later by an elderly man out walking his dog. Eve is in limbo, waiting to complete a task. Melody is due to get married in a few months and is putting her cooking skills to the test. Neither of these women are the one from the opening prologue, so it makes me wonder what their link will be…

“Sometimes she hated dog walkers and their discovers.”

I was highly interested in Melody’s side of The Life I Behind as she seemed to have more of a background story whereas we didn’t really know an awful lot about Eve at the beginning. The sheer amount of detail which Colette uses is excellent. It allows you to be fully absorbed in the investigation and the mystery. I liked that memories and flashbacks were used right in the middle of the page. I normally wouldn’t like that aspect but in this case, Colette allowed it to flow very smoothly.

David Alden. What a creep. When his name first cropped up in the plot, I thought “he can’t be the killer, that’s too obvious!” We learn very  quickly of how Melody and David one another but what about him and Eve?

“…the feeling of her lungs collapsing if she’s around too many people because she can’t see their individual faces and doesn’t know whether he is among them.”

The mysterious gold chain takes center stage in the second half of the plot. Where has Melody seen it before? She knows that she’s been it before, but her brain refuses for her to remember. When Colette revealed more about the opening, I just wanted to know who killed Eve! It was driving me absolutely crazy!

What I found to be the most shocking was that Eve knew who tried to kill Melody. Why didn’t she track her down and tell her? The last few chapters showed how one strong person did have the ability to help another but I was left wondering about the killer – what happened to that person?

“Pull your eyes away from that doll. Smile. Get out. Leave the flat. Now.”

With sheer intelligence, clever plot twists and dark imagery, Colette has proven herself to be one of the best murder mystery writers of all time. Well, in my opinion anyway.. This is a book which you can’t particularly explain as you’d give the entire plot away! It’s so simple when you think about it at the end but incredibly effective.

Twitter: @colettemcbeth
Website: www.colettemcbeth.com