Graduate student Zoe and her friend Holli go on a road trip to Vegas. On the way home, they are abducted and tortured by a man who says he wants to teach them a lesson. Zoe manages to escape while Holli is being tortured, and she leaves, swearing she’ll come back to save Holli. The problem is, she was given rohypnol, and doesn’t remember where the building was located or where she came from. Holli is never found and the killer is still out there.
A year later, Zoe is racked with guilt, and acts out because of it. One night after bar hopping alone, she stumbles onto a police investigation of a murder that sounds eerily familiar to the man who tortured her. She decides she is going to help do whatever she can in order to see the killer brought to justice.
I’ve read a number of books lately where the killer’s identity is not a secret. In The One that Got Away, we know who the killer is by chapter three, and the book alternates perspectives between Zoe and Marshall, the man who kidnapped her. To Marshall, Zoe is only a girl who escaped, who still needs to be taught a lesson. He’s not done with her. After reading so many of these books lately, I have to say that I don’t love them. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate them, but they just aren’t as exciting for me as the ones where the bad guy is a surprise or the ones where the protagonist also knows who the bad guy is, but is being stalked or can’t go to the police for some reason. But when we know who the antagonist is but the protagonist doesn’t? It takes away from the suspense for me.
Zoe is a mixed bag for me. I was rooting for her, but I also didn’t love her as a character. She was reckless and immature, and while I get that there’s probably a lot of guilt around the fact that she survived while her friend didn’t, I would like to think that she’d try and live her life and be grateful for the second chance at life rather than purposely try and throw it away by putting herself into situations similar to the one where she got abducted, sort of hoping it would happen again.
Overall, I liked the book despite the lack of surprise twists. I thought Marshall as a killer was really creepy. His thought process was so twisted and disturbed that he was definitely a scary character, especially knowing he lived a relatively normal life outside of his nighttime proclivities, and no one suspected a thing. The book was really fast paced, and I finished it in a few hours. If you’re looking for a thriller that’s short and quick but that doesn’t have a lot of surprise elements, this is the book for you!
**What do you think? Do you like thrillers better when you know who the bad guy is, or do you like to be surprised? Let me know in the comments!**