One Left Behind // Carla Kovach

The lovely morning, flooded with golden sunlight and with lush foliage spreading across the land, was now tainted by the death of a young girl and Gina clenched her hands. Whoever strangled her had to be caught and they had no time to waste.

 One Left Behind
Author:  Carla Kovach
Publisher: Bookoture, July 15, 2021
Format/Source: eBook, Publisher/Netgalley (ARC received from the publisher /Netgalley in exchange for an honest review)
ISBN: 9781800193956    


Five teenagers sneak out of their homes for a clandestine party in the woods. After a night of drinking, dancing, and tears, one is dead and the remaining four-along with several nearby residents angered by the kids’ loud music and prankish tendencies-are all suspects.

I have not read the previous novels in the Detective Gina Harte series, so I am reviewing it as a stand-alone. Please take that into consideration when reading my review.

For the most part, I enjoyed this story. The subplot with the mysterious messages Gina kept receiving was, I felt, simply a distraction and unnecessary to the story or character-especially since the conclusion of it was quite anti-climatic. And one or two of the characters felt forced. It’s as if they were there to provide more of a moral than benefit the story; a people-in-glass-houses type of thing. Also, from the summary, I expected Naomi and her missing hour to play a larger part in the story but, after the first chapter, she was only an afterthought. Her yellow handbag is even featured prominently on the cover, but she is nowhere near as integral to the story as the summary and cover would indicate. This was confusing.

These are but a few small complaints, however. The plot was very well woven around the characters. Most enjoyably, I did not guess who the killer was. No inkling at all. I also liked the interactions between the detective and her coworkers. There were plenty of viable suspects, and multiple points of view to tell the tale. And the descriptions of the sweltering summer heat were spot on; I could feel the stickiness and stagnation radiate from the pages.

This one was a quiet mystery, too slow-burning to make it a “read in one sitting” novel. It would, though, be a good one to pick up in your downtime and read for a few minutes. Easy to drop into the story and easy to drop out again makes it perfect for a bit of entertainment while waiting at the doctor’s office or in line at the school kiss-n-ride.