Book Reviews

The Only One Left by Riley Sager

Thank you NetGalley and Dutton Books for my (slightly) advanced copy of The Only One Left! This is one of the most talked about books of the summer, and there’s a very good reason why.

The Story

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.

My Thoughts

I’m a late-to-the-party Riley Sager fan. In case you don’t know, I am one of the ones who loved The House on the Lake (look it up, it has been a very divisive book amongst his fan base), so I jumped at the chance to get an early copy of The Only One Left. I haven’t been terribly disappointed by any of his books that I’ve read, so why not?

This was one of my five star reads of the year! I haven’t given out this rating to too many books so far in 2023, but this was one of them.

You know what was so redeeming? No substance abuse! It was just questionable of its own accord.

The Only One Left kept you guessing until the very end. Well, maybe not guessing, but it definitely kept the surprises coming until the very last page.

Also, you’d think that it’s similar to And Then There Were None by the QUEEN, Agatha Christie, because of the poem and kind of the title, but it isn’t! (I’m looking at you One by One and Daisy Darker.) I repeat: Riley Sager did not do what so many other authors have tried in attempting to “retell” And Then There Were None. It is not related!

One thing that I really enjoyed about the book? It was actually eerie. I actually had to put the book down a few times because I got the heebie jeebies and needed a brain break before I went to bed (or I’d get nightmares).

I would definitely recommend The Only One Left! It’s one of my favorite books of the year so far, and I think a lot of you would really enjoy it (not you, Mom, sorry).

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