Thursday, August 3, 2023

The Only One Left by Riley Sager

Bestselling author Riley Sager returns with a Gothic chiller about a young caregiver assigned to work for a woman accused of a Lizzie Borden-like massacre decades earlier.

At seventeen, Lenora Hope
Hung her sister with a rope

Now reduced to a schoolyard chant, the Hope family murders shocked the Maine coast one bloody night in 1929. While most people assume seventeen-year-old Lenora was responsible, the police were never able to prove it. Other than her denial after the killings, she has never spoken publicly about that night, nor has she set foot outside Hope's End, the cliffside mansion where the massacre occurred.

Stabbed her father with a knife
Took her mother's happy life

It's now 1983, and home-health aide Kit McDeere arrives at a decaying Hope's End to care for Lenora after her previous nurse fled in the middle of the night. In her seventies and confined to a wheelchair, Lenora was rendered mute by a series of strokes and can only communicate with Kit by tapping out sentences on an old typewriter. One night, Lenora uses it to make a tantalizing offer-- I want to tell you everything .

"It wasn't me," Lenora said
But she's the only one not dead As Kit helps Lenora write about the events leading to the Hope family massacre, it becomes clear there's more to the tale than people know. But when new details about her predecessor's departure come to light, Kit starts to suspect Lenora might not be telling the complete truth--and that the seemingly harmless woman in her care could be far more dangerous than she first thought.

Paperback, 400 pages
Published June 20, 2023 
by Dutton
4/5 stars

Riley Sager is an author I have managed to read each book as it's released. I loved his first two books, The Last I Lied and Home Before Dark. But with each consecutive book since has been just an OK read for me. I went into The Only One Left with crossed fingers, hoping that this book would be as good as  the hype on social media.

Told from the view point of health aide worker Kit, she tells the story of her past with the tragic and suspicious death of her mother six months previous. But also center stage is her new job, taking care of Lorena Hope, long suspected of murdering her family way back in 1929.

I have to say this did live up to the hype, it was mysterious and suspenseful. The year  is 1983, so any age of electronic devices is nonexistent. What follows is a story that weaves the past slowly into the present as Kit uncovers things from the past that call into question, both the rumours that circulate about the lone survivor and what happened that fateful night.

The Only One Left is a story of guilt, survival and family. All taking place in a house/mansion that is slowly crumbling before Kit's eyes. There were twists and turns that I didn’t anticipate, as well as revelations that were surprising. I will say that this ranks up there with my two favourite Sager books.

Released just last month. The Only One Left is available in all different formats.

This book was part of my 2023 reading off my shelf challenge

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