Cover Image: The One That Got Away

The One That Got Away

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I really enjoyed this fast-paced thriller. If you enjoy things like ID TV, this is definitely a book you'd want to check out!
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The One That Got Away has an interesting premise and wasn't a bad read, but it didn't hook me in the way that others in the same genre have done.

The main character, Alex, was the last victim of a serial killer who was rescued before her captor had the opportunity to murder her, but not before she had been subjected to horrific trauma - further compounded by her unhealthy and unethical relationship with the detective who worked her case. While I can barely imagine the psychological trauma that she suffered, and the effects that would have on her life, I just didn't find Alex - or any of the other characters really - to be particularly likeable, and therefore struggled to get into this book. I do feel the author has done a good job of illustrating what life in a struggling small town is like, and how toxic and constricting environment that can be for the people who are, essentially, stuck there. Overall, it was an okay read, but it didn't capture my attention in a lasting way.
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Great dark thriller. Definite page turner and keeps you on the edge of your seat. The author does a great job developing characters and motivations and keeps your guessing and interested all the way to the end.
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Enjoyed this book. Kept me interested all the way through. Would recommend to a fellow reader.  Love the cover.
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I overall enjoyed this book. The book centres around a young girls relationship with her past. Alex, the young girl in question travels back to her hometown with some less than welcoming characters waiting for her. She wrestles with her emotions as she tries to find answers to her past. 

Overall a great read.
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Alex is the girl that got away from being a victim of a serial killer. She was abducted by the killer but got rescued before she could be raped and killed like the previous victims of the killer. She moved away from her small town soon after the incident, after another girl - Kira Shanks - went missing and Alex became old news. She's now back  for what she thinks is a legit interview but turns out to be wild-goose chase by a lazy college student for a paper about Kira Shanks' case.

This student claims that the guy caught for killing Kira Shanks is pretending to be mute and mentally unstable just to escape punishment. He also tells Alex that detective Riley, the same guy who had rescued Alex is trying to get Kira's apparent Killer Benny saved. Alex who had an affair with the much older and married Riley after he rescued her when she was 17, gets the excuse to meet the guy again. She admits to still having feelings for him. But he is dismissive of her and that spurs Alex to dig up the truth.

Alex is a mess. She tends bars, walks dogs and sells pills for a living. Even therapy didn't help her. She's also very erratic, impulsive and unpredictable. Her motives for digging up the bones for the Kira Shanks case were shaky at best. At first, it looks like she just wants to reunite her ex-lover. Then she claims that she's doing it for the money offered to her. Detective Riley takes her to the mental facility Benny is living in to meet him. She's indignant that a criminal gets to live in a facility akin to a hotel. But a few pages later she talks about how looking into Benny's eyes made her feel that he was innocent.

Honestly, even though Alex's character kept giving me whiplash, and was treating other characters with disdain, I still felt for her. She looked like a wary stray puppy to me who just needed some affection. It was the storytelling, fast pace and the plotting that made it a very enjoyable thriller to me. The author kept it realistic. Even the ending was bittersweet. But I finally read a psychological thriller that mystery that kept me on my toes after a long time. I believe that it would make a great film adaptation!
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This was a fast paced thriller tying in the main character's past with another local mystery. Alex is the one who survived being abducted by a serial killer and was rescued by Detective Riley. They have a sordid history that is a point of contention throughout the book. Alex is barely surviving lured back to her hometown by a local student trying to write an article on a disappearance. The story was overall good and I did enjoy it. There were some points where I was annoyed with the main characters and some things did not seem believable. I think the small town dynamics assisted in the telling the story.
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So there are kind of two stories in this book. The story of Alex before and the redemption of Alex after. While I enjoyed the premise this story presented, I don't feel that it was produced in a manner that made for a good story.

 A lot of the book is Alex hating herself and second guessing everything. No matter the praise she receives or the admiration that's thrown her way, Alex is still a pissed off sore excuse for a survivor. Given her attitude, I would have expected a stronger person. Not some blase character that doesn't give a shit about anything.

 The one part of the book that I enjoyed was Benny's relationship with Kira.
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Thanks to Net Galley, Down & Out Books and Joe Clifford for a chance to review this book.

The One That Got Away is one hell of a mystery thriller, the prologue itself causing terror in our hearts. The story focuses on Alex Salerno who even after many years still has not able to get over the trauma of having been captured and locked into an underground box from where she was rescued. And that's exactly what all the people in her hometown refers to, 'The One That Got Away'. Her captor is in prison but the town of Reine has experienced another murder 7 years back with Kira Shanks  and a college kid's research questions sends Alex to a whole new discovery of things in her town where no one is as it seems. There is a darkness permeating the story especially when the main character Alex is set about destroying her 2nd chance at life with drinks and drugs to keep the edge off of her daily life. Her character is not warmth inducing most times utterly unlikable to all the people helping her.  The ending was a surprise and the chapters with Benny's thoughts were really heartbreaking.
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3.5 stars

Alex Salerno is better known as the last victim of Ken Parsons ... the only one who survived. Alex has been living in New York City trying not to remember the days she spent under Parsons control and the short lived affair with the detective who rescued her.

Kira Shanks has been missing for seven years.   The accused is Benny Brudzienski, who now resides in a mental institution.  Reporter Sean Riley has been looking into this disappearance, and along with Alex, has doubts that Benny is guilty.

There are some people who want Alex to go away before any dark secrets are exposed. Someone is following her.  She is attacked. Doesn't take long to understand that there are people willing to kill to protect the truth.

The One That Got Away is a dark, psychological thriller featuring a compelling, conflicted heroine and a page-turning narrative that races toward its final, shocking conclusion. 

People from her past make an appearance .. but can she trust any of them?   

There are surprising twists and turns leading to the unexpected finale.  As a character, Alex didn't come across as fully defined.  She was a bit unlikable for a pseudo-heroine.  The story premise was a good one, although there were areas that just didn't seem credible.

Many thanks to the author / Down & Out Books / Netgalley for the digital copy of this crime fiction.  Opinions expressed here are unbiased and entirely my own.
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What a great book, I was sucked right in, finished it in three days.  Damaged goods, Alex sure knew how to push back when returning to the small town she grew up in.  There was always something festering away, and she brings it all to the surface trying to solve the murder of a high school girl.  
I am now going to find more of Joe Cliffords work.
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The book starts out with a girl who survives a horrible fate.  Her kidnapper who would have been her murderer goes to prison.  She survives but her life is not exactly happy ever after.
Fast forward a few years and another girl is taken.  Her death is blamed on a local man who has now been committed.  Our heroine is contacted for her point of view and ends up returning to her home town where she has many questions about what really happened.  
Joe Clifford took some of today's headlines and gave them an original twist to make a great story even better.  His characters are truly broken but not quite giving up.  It's rare to see central characters who overcome their own problems and save the day.  I really enjoyed the story, especially the ending.
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A great standalone novel. Alex is a great character. Really enjoyed this novel.  It was edgy and thrilling and funny at times. I really enjoyed this x
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3,5 stars

Alex Solerno was kidnapped and imprisoned by a serial killer at the age of seventeen. Unlike the previous victims she survived and was rescued by detective Sean Reillys.

The serial killer had been caught and sentenced and Alex became a local celebrity – a girl who got away. Years later she recalled the time after the kidnapping as the best time of her life. An invisible girl got suddenly all attention she longed for, not to mention a forbidden love affair with her safer. Only it didn't last long enough for her: some months later another teen girl disappeared in spite of the killer had been convicted and locked away. The publicity quickly forgot Alex turning ist attention to a new case. But the missing girl has never been found. The case has never been solved. 

Seven years later Alex, who lives in the meantime in New York and has permanently a shortage of money, agrees to give an interview about the horrible experience of her young life to her hometown's newspaper that turns out to be only a local student who wants to interview her for his project. This unexpected turn of events evokes her memories and raised her curiosity. She decides to stay in her home town, in the place she doesn't feel any connection at all, to find out what really happened to the disappeared girl. 

This book is really well-written, and I would rather qualify it as a literary fiction as a mystery. But I had problems to believe that the case remained unsolved in spite of police did everything to solve it, and then a woman without actual detective skills succeeded in finding out what really happened at that time. Even though 7 years already passed by and the details of the case became blur.

What kept me also from rating it higher was a main female character that I couldn't warm up with. I am not even sure if Alex was supposed to irritate or to feel compation and pity for. I just disliked her, doesn't matter what she had gone through and that I totally understand that the kidnapping didn't go without a trace and her mass life was a prove of it.
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The One That Got Away
by Joe Clifford
Down & Out Books
Mystery & Thrillers
Pub Date 03 Dec 2018



I am am reviewing The One That Got Away through Down and Out Books and Netgalley:



Back in the early 2000’s a series of abductions rocked the small upstate town of Reine New York.  The only girl that survived was Alex Salerno.  Ken Parson’s the murderer was turned away, and life went back to normal, no more girls dying until it all changed and another girl was murdered.  




Kira Shanks was reported missing and presumed dead twelve years ago.  Alex Sareno has been living in New York City piecemealing paychecks so she can earn a livable wage, as she tries to forget the three days she was locked underground or her affair with Sean Riley the married detective who had rescued her.


Noah Lee, a hometown reporter with a journalistic pedigree requests an interview so Alex heads back to Reine and Riley opening up old wounds.  The interviews that begin as Q&A’s for a newspaper article becomes an opportunity for money, closure and Justice.  The disappearance of Kira Shanks has long been blamed on Benny Brudzienski, a hulking man-child who is now a brain-addled guest at the Galloway State Mental Hospital. But after Alex reconnects with ex-classmates and frenemies, doubts are cast on that guilt. Alex is drawn into a dangerous game of show and tell in an insular town where everyone has a secret to hide. And as more details emerge about the night Kira Shanks went missing, Alex discovers there are some willing to kill to protect the horrific truth and that maybe the wrong man has been blamed for the crimes.


I give The One That Got Away four out of five stars!
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This novel is a character driven thriller. I enjoyed getting to know the characters, keeping me more invested in the already intriguing story. This is a short novel and a relatively quick read. As this was a character driven book, the pacing isn't fast but getting to know Alex and Benny over the course of the novel made it enjoyable. 

Thank you to Down & Out Books and NetGalley for the free review copy, in exchange for my honest feedback.
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The One That Got Away by Joe Clifford is a dark psychological thriller that delves into alcohol and drug addiction and the devastation it causes. This is a dark tale of abduction, destruction, pain, and death. This is real-life 5 star read!
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interesting concept, it drew me in and i read it quickly, wanting to get back to it,  I assume a man wrote it but i felt like she was a woman not like a man writing a woman character.  I added him to my list of authors to read other books by.  I like psychological mysteries and esp ones that keep me guessing for at least a good part of the book plus have a lot of complex characters and relationship
twisty and emotional
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Joe Clifford brings a new book for us to enjoy, Great characters, plot and pace. A fresh change from the Jay Porter series and great new read
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This is another good, detective/survivor story. I feel like I have read a lot of books that follow the same framework as this book. With that said, I was definitely invested in this story and interested to see what was going to happen next. However, the story did not totally blow my mind and I feel like this main character is the same or similar to a lot of the female main characters in other detective/survivor thrillers and mysteries. But, if you enjoy those stories and books then this book is for you!
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