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The Only One Left by Riley Sager
Thriller

The Only One Left

by Riley Sager

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Quick take

From the King of Thrills and Chills, a new story with unexplained murders, a spooky cliff mansion, and lots of secrets.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_80s

    80s

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Unreliable

    Unreliable narrator

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Creepy

    Creepy

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_HauntedHouse

    Haunted House

Synopsis

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.

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Free sample

Get an early look from the first pages of The Only One Left.
The Only One Left

We’re at the typewriter again, Lenora in her wheelchair and me standing beside her as I place her left hand atop the keys. A fresh page sits in the carriage, replacing the one from last night. Now faceup on the desk, it serves as a partial transcript of our conversation.

i want to tell you everything

things ive never told anyone else

yes about that night

because i trust you

But I don’t trust Lenora.

Not entirely.

She’s capable of so little yet accused of so much, and I remain torn between wanting to protect her and the urge to suspect her.

But if she wants to tell me what happened, I’m willing to listen.

Even though I suspect most of it will be lies.

Or, worse, the complete, terrifying truth.

The fingers of Lenora’s left hand drum against the keys. She’s eager to begin. I take a deep breath, nod, and help her type the first sentence.

The thing I remember most

The thing I remember most--the thing I still have nightmares about--is when it was all but over.

I remember the roar of the wind as I stepped onto the terrace. It blew off the ocean in howling gusts that scraped over the cliff before slamming directly into me. Rocked onto my heels, I felt like I was being shoved by an invisible, immovable crowd back toward the mansion. The last place I wanted to be.

With a grunt, I regained my footing and started to make my way across the terrace, which was slick from rainfall. It was pouring, the raindrops so cold that each one felt like a needle prick. Very quickly I found myself snapped out of the daze I’d been in. Suddenly alert, I began to notice things.

My nightgown, stained red.

My hands, warm and sticky with blood.

The knife, still in my grip.

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Why I love it

The rocky Maine shoreline. A crumbling old manor filled with antiques. Decades’ worth of family secrets and lies. Add in a sprinkle of murder, and you’ve got the recipe for another perfect summer thriller from Riley Sager.

Kit McDeere arrives at Hope’s End, a mansion shrouded in secrets and rumors, as an unenthusiastic caretaker for elderly Lenora Hope. Lenora, who spends her days sitting silently in her wheelchair, only communicates with Kit through a typewriter. She is infamous in her small coastal town, which believes that she murdered her whole family decades prior. Soon Lenora, starts writing messages that refer to her family’s murderous past, and Kit can’t help but try to piece together the clues Lenora is leaving her. Even if everyone else at Hope’s End is against her and her own past haunts her every move . . . Kit has to find the truth.

The Only One Left explores what happens when you take a house ripe for ghost stories and add two complicated women with plenty of skeletons in their pasts. Each suspicious character and typed message will have you on the edge of your seat—or beach blanket. This is a summer thrill-ride you won’t want to miss.

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Member ratings (17,588)

  • Jennifer B.

    Winder, GA

    Another fantastic Sager novel!! I loved the setting and all the twists and turns that just kept coming. It wasn’t an edge-of-your-seat thriller for me but a definite page-turner for sure! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

  • Andrea A.

    Soulsbyville, CA

    Almost more twists than my brain could handle, each one less predictable than the last! Couldn’t put it down and thoroughly enjoyed the entire ride and the absolutely PERFECT ending ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Jennifer J.

    Oshkosh, WI

    What a wild ride! Just when you think you got a handle on things the story takes a dramatic turn! I could not read this fast enough. The atmosphere of this book was haunting! The plot was amazing!❤️❤️

  • Rachael M.

    Bloomington Springs , TN

    I mean I don’t even know where to begin. This is by far the best Riley Sager book I’ve read to date. A twisted tale with a perfect ending I never saw coming. Fantastic writing, I couldn’t put it down!

  • Erin W.

    Sparta, WI

    Couldn’t put it down. There was some “but why”’s in there (the snow globe, the decades of debility) that made it hard to believe but it’s fiction, that’s how it goes. But I was enthralled 100%.

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