An adrenaline-driven, emotionally-charged force to reckon with, Patricia Gussin’s And Then There Was One recounts a heart-rending and an equally disturbing family tragedy that unfolds against the backdrop of every parent’s worst imaginable nightmare. From the first page itself, you will be gripped in the never-ending suspense surrounding a devastating mystery.
Scott and Katie Monroe lead a perfectly happy life with their identical triplet daughters; Sammie, Alex and Jackie, and their prominent careers; she, a forensic child psychiatrist and he, a Yankee catcher. While in Detroit to attend Scott’s sister Monica Monroe’s concert, the picture-perfect family of Scott and Katie are shattered when two of their triplets go missing without so much as a clue.
Scott and Katie are utterly devastated, falling apart in the aftermath of the horror they are faced with. The news was especially unbearable for Katie, being always overprotective of her triplets. ‘She knew that she needed sleep, that she was physically and emotionally drained, but when she closed her eyes, the horrors of what might be happening to her daughters burned her retina.’
It is just too much for little Jackie to learn that her sisters Sammie and Alex have been abducted. ‘She thought about her sisters in some horrible place with nothing to eat. Were they being tortured? Could they even be dead?’ Before long, she crumbles under the heavy stress of grief and survivor’s guilt, taking all the blame for herself.
As the investigation sends the FBI on a goose-chase with several suspects and false leads, Scott and Katie’s suffering continues as hope eludes them. ‘They each seem to cycle in and out of paralysis. In and out of hope. In and out of despair.’ As the seemingly never-ending search for the missing triplets continues, Scott finds himself collapsing under despair as much as Katie has. ‘He didn’t know if he could take another day of agony, another day of uncertainty, another day of abject helplessness.’ What if their daughters are never found, or not found alive?
Narrated just over a span of one week, Gussin effortlessly ensnares the readers into the heart of the terror that engulfs the Monroe family. The flawless, taut writing makes it a thrilling ride from cover-to-cover as Gussin gradually peels layer by layer of the dreadfulness that await to engulf not only the Monroe family but also us, readers. Similar to that of the emotional roil of The Lovely Bones and the adrenaline rush of Gone Baby Gone, Gussin tugs at your heart mercilessly with the extremely vivid, distressing details that would make you recoil at times and gasp at other.
An utterly absorbing thriller that will leave you breathless, the fast pace of it will send you turning pages at super speed in your quest to find out the fate of the missing triplets. You will not be able to close the book until you have reached the end of this haunting tragedy. Rush into your nearest bookstore, grab this book and dive right in! You have got to read this one.
Reviewed by Hamdhoon Rashad for Bookpleasures.com