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The Life I Left Behind

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  2,436 ratings  ·  383 reviews
Six years ago, Melody Pieterson was attacked and left for dead. Only a chance encounter with a dog walker saved her life. Melody's neighbor and close friend David Alden was found guilty of the crime and imprisoned, and the attack and David's betrayal of her friendship left Melody a different person. She no longer trusts her own judgment, she no longer trusts her friends. I ...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published February 24th 2015 by Minotaur Books (first published January 1st 2015)
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Katie Winkler Definitely adult. This book has some disturbing situations, even though it is not especially graphic in its violence.

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3.78  · 
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 ·  2,436 ratings  ·  383 reviews

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Feb 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
THE LIFE I LEFT BEHIND is the second book I read by Colette McBeth, and in my opinion, the superior one. The story unfolds slowly, told by Eve and Melody, the two women attacked by the same killer, yet only one has survived. I really enjoyed the back and forth between characters and times, though this may annoy some readers, it certainly added to the sense of confusion felt by both women.
I won't go too much into the plot, that is done very nicely already. The story is essentially a murder myster
Maxine (Booklover Catlady)
This book just got better and better as we went along and by the end I was almost doing star jumps but with tears in my eyes. This is a powerful novel, part crime book, part taut psychological thriller, part ghost story, what more could you ask for in your next book to read? I was uber excited to get my eyes stuck into this one.

Told from several points of view – Eve who is dead, Melody who has survived a vicious and violent attack and Victoria the Police Officer in charge of investigating Eve’s
 Li'l Owl ~ Incorrigible Reader
Wowza! What an imaginative way to write a story! And that ending? Pure genius!
Colette McBeth is definitely a favorite author of mine!

"There would be benefits to dying, I figured, like finding my dad in heaven listening to Dire Straits and playing his air guitar. My real death was nothing like that. There was the pain that accompanied it. And there was this. The thing it had transmitted into. This pain had teeth and venomous glands. It fed off everything I saw and everything I knew had ended
Dale Harcombe
This book begins with an unnamed 10 year old who finds his mother dead in their home. As a reader I figured this person would resurface later as an adult. And he does. But the story is not told by him. It is told by Eve, who has already been killed. This was my first problem. I am not keen on dead narrators. But I was prepared to accept that Eve was killed for trying to uncover the killer and help Melody who was attacked six years earlier and left for dead but survived. David, the man convicted ...more
Liz Barnsley
I was a huge fan of Colette Mcbeth’s first novel Precious Thing, so I was very excited to receive an advanced copy of her new story “The Life I Left Behind” and if anything it was even better – I read it in about 4 hours, it really was hard to put aside once started.

Told from several points of view – Eve who is dead, Melody who has survived a vicious attack and Victoria the Police Officer in charge of investigating Eve’s murder, it is an emotional and very addictive read with some loveable (and
Sep 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars
I really enjoyed this murder mystery told predominantly by two main characters - the girl who escaped being murdered and the girl who was murdered!
The stories converge beautifully to the big reveal. The joy is in the exploration of the characters and everything they've been through rather than the ending (if this is your main focus you may be disappointed).
I found the two girls relatable and realistic. The book has a good pace and I didn't get 'stuck' at any point.
I would like to read m
Margaret Madden
Dec 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
Thanks to for the review copy of this title...

When the body of a young woman is found in a London park, there are similarities to a previous case of attempted murder. The previous victim, Melody, may be alive but she is barely a shell of her old self. When she hears that the man has actually been successful this time, she fears the worst, as he has been released from prison and come be coming back to finish what he started, all those years ago. When she sees a photo of the dead gi
Nov 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I still have Colette’s debut ‘Precious Thing’ waiting on my bookshelf to be read but when given the opportunity to read and review this, her second novel, I wanted it immediately!

It sounded so intriguing, a story narrated by a murder victim. Whilst reading reviews for this, I’ve seen many references made to The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. I must be one of the few people in the world who really didn’t like that book so I was hoping that this wouldn’t be a disappointment. I needn’t have worried.
Oct 20, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Reading this book is like digging my clay garden - time consuming and heavy going, and not something I want to do again.

Eve is dead, having been murdered and dumped in a field. but she's also narrator of this wordy, heavily padded story. Melody is a survivor with "issues", and bringing up the rear we have DI Victoria Rutter who tries to fit the pieces together, having suddenly realised the one Who Dunnit is possibly not the one Who Dunnit. What a surprise!

This author goes in for so much padding;
Jul 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
To be published Jan 2015

Thanks to Bookbridgr for my lovely review copy of ‘The Life I Left Behind’.

I really loved ‘Precious Thing’, which was Colette McBeth’s first Brighton based novel. I was very keen to get my hands on this new one.

‘The Life I Left Behind’ follows three characters; Melody, a woman who was viciously attacked six years ago by a friend, Victoria, a detective in charge of hunting for Eve’s killer and Eve, narrating after her death and watching the proceedings.

We slowly get to kno
Stephen Goldenberg
Mar 03, 2017 rated it liked it
I should have learned by now to steer clear of novels described as psychological thrillers. Two things about this one put me off as soon as I picked it up - the recommendation by Paula Hawkins on the cover and one of the narrators being Eve, a murdered girl observing events from beyond the grave (I was not an admirer of The Lovely Bones). However, in its defence, I didn't find Eve's post-death narration off-putting, although it could just as easily have been a simple flashback.
The problem for me
Liza Perrat
Aug 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
I found this quite a gripping read, if a bit slow in places. I'm not keen on dead narrators, but it worked ok here, as there are also other points of view.
Trish at Between My Lines
This review was originally posted on Between My Lines

Hello gritty, whimsical book! Now they are two words you don’t often see to describe one book but both apply equally to The Life I Left Behind.

First Line of The Life I Left by Colette McBeth:
“The first thing that strikes him is the cold.”

My Thoughts on The Life I Left by Colette McBeth:
Two lines on the back of the book intrigued me and made this a must-read for me.

“I know exactly who attacked her.
He’s the same man who killed me.”

I immediat
Jo Barton
Jan 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Life I left Behind is a clever psychological suspense story which takes the concept of a gross miscarriage of justice and turns it completely on its head by allowing the principle narrators to be the voices of two women, one of whom has already died and the other who is so badly damaged by a traumatic incident that she has no recollection of what has happened to her.

The story is compelling on two levels. The first is that the woman who has died gives a unique insight into the whys and wheref

This is one book I have wanted to read, I couldn't wait until it came further and further up my pile.

Colette McBeth has written a superb book! Its a unique story line that keeps you on tender hooks, flicking page after page right from the beginning.

We have a woman here who was murdered. She was found by her son, he at first didn't realize she was dead, went off found a blanket and covered himself and his Mom up. Then his Father arrived......

Eve Elliot is the woman murdered. We find that somethin
Dec 11, 2014 rated it liked it
After reading Ms McBeth's previous works, A Precious Thing, and loving it, I was really looking forward to this one. I was lucky enough to be granted a copy via Netgalley, so thank you to the publisher and the author for the ARC.

The story is one of Melody, a survivor of a vicious attack who is trying to live with the aftermath as best she can. Then we have Eve, the victim who wasn't so lucky and Victoria, the investigating Detective Inspector. Three viewpoints throughout, what's different is tha
Sep 19, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: discarded
I had to abandon about a quarter of way in. On the back of a good run of books. Just a bit too disposable for me. I appreciate more and more books that stand the test of time and not littered with modern day references to specific songs, social media channels, mobile phone types, specific tv programmes or films etc etc. In a few chapters I got all in this book. Overkill. And the mystery / suspense... All felt quite predictable

I had to continue this review on web, as the Good reads app is so sho
Bill Kupersmith
Mar 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed Precious Thing & this story was even better because I cared so much for the narrators, all three: Melody, Virginia, & Eve. They're the sort of people you'd like to have as friends. I'm always drawn to such vulnerable characters as Melody & I liked having a detective who is not a male middle-aged divorced alcoholic (unlike her nominal superior who is & belongs to the frame-the-first-likely-suspect-&-close-the-case school of policing). She is a good & harried mum ...more
Jan 08, 2015 rated it liked it
I read and reviewed Precious Thing and totally loved it. When I found out That Colette McBeth had another novel I needed to read it.
The Life That I Left Behind is a great who done it.
A man walking his dog in Ham Common Woods Richmond Park discovers the body of 30 year-old Eve Elliot. Her body had lain here for up to a week before being discovered. Eve worked as Senior Producer for a TV programme Appeal that investigated miscarriages of justice. The question is who killed Eve Elliot and why?.
Tracy Fenton
Dec 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is another great book by Colette Mcbeth. An interesting concept with the 3 narratives and I thought that I had worked out who "dunnit" half way through and was pleasantly surprised when I realised I got it wrong. Great book.
Nov 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was given an advance proof copy of this book by Georgina Moore at Headline in exchange for an honest review which I'm more than happy to give. I had devoured Colette's first novel Precious Thing, staying up late then setting the alarm for early the next morning so I could finish it off before work. Shortly after I had read it I met Colette at a book launch for another author's book and she told me about the book she was writing writing - I have literally drummed my fingers, impatiently waiting ...more
Jan 04, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015, crime, abandoned
Woe, woe and thrice woe!

A dogwalker discovers the body of a young woman, strangled to death, in a park. Oddly, we are told this by Eve, the dead woman, herself – her ghostly narrative forming one of the voices in the book. The main focus of the book, however, is on Melody, a previous victim of the murderer, it is assumed. Melody lived, but has lost all but the vaguest memories of that night and so can't identify her attacker. Six years on, she is still trying to get over the psychological effect
Nov 12, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
Colette McBeth made quite a splash with her first novel, Precious Thing, a roller coaster of a read with so many twists and turns that it almost made you dizzy. If you're a fan of what people now seem to be calling "domestic noir", that's one you really shouldn't miss. So, now we have the second novel: does it live up to the promise of the first?

The story is told from the viewpoints of three separate women. Melody has been profoundly changed by her attack five years earlier - formerly a wearer o
Judy Collins
A special thank you to St. Martin's Press and Minotaur Books for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Nice cover. 4.5 stars

Colette McBeth’s psychological thriller THE LIFE I LEFT BEHIND will keep you glued to the pages until end, with this suspenseful crime mystery of two women.

Told from three perspectives and voices there is Eve, a murder victim, and Melody who was left for dead by Eve’s attacker from previous years, and detective Victoria Rutter, the investigating officer on Melody’s c
David Reviews
Aug 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

The Life I left Behind is a cleverly crafted story that's a little bit different. An excellent and intriguing read narrated by three women from different perspectives. There's Eve, whose already dead, murdered by the person responsible for nearly killing Melody, and then finally there is DI Victoria Rutter who is in charge of finding the attacker. Quite simply a terrific psychological thriller that is a little bit chilling and creepy with unexpected twists. Great storytelling and a book I can ha
Oct 13, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Life I Left Behind is another psychological thriller, with a dark, twisty-turny plot narrated by characters who are both alive, and dead.

Eve has been murdered, and begins the story as her body is discovered. This discovery turns Melody's world upside down. She too was attacked by the same man, and left for dead, and the years since then have been hard. Afraid to leave the house, questioning herself and her relationships, the news that he has struck again is enough to tip her over the edge. T
I listened to this in audio format.

I will be honest I did not enjoy this book, it didn't grab me from the first page. It took me 10 days to listen to this book which is unusual, sometimes had to force myself to listen. However I have read other people's reviews for this book, and I appreciate that I am in the minority here.

My main reason for disliking The Life I left behind was it was slow. I also did not feel any sympathy for the first victim Melanie Pieterson. She had no memory of the events
Oct 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
This is one of those books that the enjoyment depends on what your feelings and beliefs are. Do you believe in the afterlife? Are you open minded enough to accept that there could be an afterlife even if you don't want to accept that there might be?

Written from the point of view of three main female characters: Eve, the dead female victim narrates from beyond the grave, the second is Melody, a survivor of a similar attack six years earlier, and the final one is the Detective Inspector, Victoria,
Oct 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a very enjoyable psychological thriller from the author of Precious Thing. From the very beginning I knew the story was going to keep me up to the early hours of the morning trying to figure out who the killer in this book was going to be.
The main characters of the story are Eve, Melody and Detective Inspector Victoria Rutter. From the beginning we know that Eve Is dead , she was murdered but she is lingering here unable to go on to where ever dead people are supposed to go as she has
Feb 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Excellent, excellent, what more can I say. I thought at one point I had this figured out, and then it took a turn I never saw coming.
The story is told by Melody, a victim who survives. And Eve, who is murdered. Eve lingers in the in-between. Not sure why she has been left in the in-between, Eve eventually understands why.
The spirit of Eve was left in-between for a reason. Wow, what a wonderful story. Definitely will be reading Colette McBeth's first book.
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Colette McBeth had been a BBC News reporter for 10 years when she won a place on the Faber Academy Writing a Novel course and started her first book, Precious Thing. She lives in London with her husband and three children but dreams of being beside the seaside.
“Up above she spies a murmuration of starlings like a dark cloud of iron shavings wheeling, turning and swooping in the sky.” 1 likes
“If you have a problem, take it for a walk, my dad used to say.” 1 likes
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