When Eve Elliot is murdered, Melody Pieterson can’t ignore the startling similarities between Eve’s death and her own attack six years previous when she was left for dead, and someone she trusted was convicted of the crime. Melody has been living a pale imitation of the life she used to have, but the new investigation changes everything, forcing her to question not only the supposed betrayal of a friend, but every decision she’s made in the last six years.
The Life I Left Behind is told from several perspectives, mostly Eve’s lingering ghost, who needs to figure out why she’s been left in limbo, and Melody herself, who discovers that Eve was already working to clear David Alden’s name, the friend accused of Melody’s attempted murder. With the help of Eve’s friend Nat and Eve’s file on the investigation, Melody realizes that what she’s accepted as truth might not be and must confront other betrayals she uncovers.
I figured out fairly early on who the real killer was, but it didn’t diminish my enjoyment of the book (McBeth is great at throwing out red herrings that made me doubt my thoughts on the killer’s identity several times). Because what makes this book so good isn’t trying to figure out the whodunnit, it’s watching Melody fight to reclaim everything that she’s lost, to take her life back. Hence the deeper meaning of the title. This isn’t just about Eve’s ghost finishing her task before she can rest in peace. Eve’s death is just the catalyst Melody needs to regain her own life and to learn to trust herself again.
If you’re looking for the creepy factor, you won’t be disappointed either. Every time you put something down and it’s not there the next time you look for it, you’ll remember this book. When you walk home alone at night and headlights linger just a bit too long. The strange noises outside your door after dark. McBeth plays well on these little fears we overlook every day.