The One That Got Away


  • TheOneThatGotAwayAuthor: Simon Wood
  • Performed by Emily Durante
  • Published: March 2015 by Brilliance Audio
  • Category: Murder, Suspense, Thriller, Crime
  • four-half-stars

Graduate students Zoë and Holli only mean to blow off some steam on their road trip to Las Vegas. But something goes terribly wrong on their way home, and the last time Zoë sees her, Holli is in the clutches of a sadistic killer. Zoë flees with her life, changed forever.

A year later and still tortured with guilt, Zoë latches on to a police investigation where the crime eerily resembles her abduction. Along with a zealous detective, she retraces the steps of that fateful night in the desert, hoping that her memory will return and help them find justice for Holli. Her abductor—labeled the “Tally Man” by a fascinated media—lies in wait for Zoë. For him, she is not a survivor but simply the one that got away.

Holli and Zoë’s road trip to Las Vegas ended in a way neither of them could ever have imagined. Waking up on the floor of a shed naked and bound hand and foot, Zoë was unable to comprehend how she got there. She remembered stopping for food on their way back but after that, nothing. Then she heard the screams. She had to get out and help Holli. Managing, after several failed attempts, to cut her ties she frantically ran through her options. Unable to see a way to overpower their abductor and free Holli, she told herself the best option was to try and reach her car and get help. Realising neither option would end well she raced for the car.

Over twelve months on from that horrific experience Zoë’s life has altered drastically. Suffering from guilt because she survived and PTSD type symptoms, Zoë is haunted by Holli’s screams for help. She wants to believe Holli is alive somewhere but knows it’s highly unlikely. Having taken up self-defence classes Zoe now works as a mall security guard. She has a tendency to put herself in potentially threatening situations where she can feel in control of her life instead of victimized. The only person she really trusts is her therapist, David Jarocki.

In the year or so she’d been his patient, she’d come to trust him. She felt safe with her thoughts in this room, with him as referee. But she didn’t give him carte blanche to all her emotions. As much as he was the expert on all things to do with the mind, he fell down in one aspect – experience. He hadn’t abandoned a friend to her death. He hadn’t fought against cowardice and lost. He wasn’t a worthless piece of crap like her.

Seeing a news report of a murder victim found locally, Zoë is sure it’s the work of her abductor. Without thinking rationally she races over to the crime scene and her reckless actions get her on the news report covering the story, causing her path to cross once again with the abductor who is never far from her thoughts.

I like the antagonist to have a back story and this one certainly did. There’s no excuse for the atrocities a person like this commits although I can feel sorry for the child he was. The story is told from the viewpoints of Zoë and the killer, which gives a good insight into both characters. The survivor’s guilt feelings, remaining anger, lack of control in certain situations, all the after effects of Zoë’s trauma are described in detail and with realism. It shows how a personality can be reshaped by something shocking and completely unexpected happening and what it takes to get a life back on track. I’d pictured several endings, none of which were correct and I enjoyed Emily Durante’s narration, she did a great job.

Book links ~ Amazon UK Amazon US

Author links ~ Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads

About the author

SimonandRoystonlowSimon Wood is a California transplant from England. He’s an ex-competitive racecar driver, a licensed pilot and an occasional private investigator. He shares his world with his American wife, Julie. Their lives are dominated by a longhaired dachshund and five cats. In the last ten years, he’s had over 150 stories and articles published. His stories have been included in “Best of” anthologies and he’s a frequent contributor to Writer’s Digest. He’s the Anthony Award winner and a Crime Writers Dagger Award finalist. He’s the author of Working Stiffs, Accidents Waiting to Happen, Paying the Piper, Terminated, We All Fall Down, Asking For Trouble, The Fall Guy, Hot Seat and Did Not Finish. His next thriller is, The One That Got Away due out in February 2014. He also writes horror under the pen name of Simon Janus. Those titles include The Scrubs and Road Rash.

No Show

  • 15954438Author: Simon Wood
  • Published: June 2013 by Thomas & Mercer
  • Category: Crime/Thriller/Mystery
  • four-stars


Englishman Terry Sheffield has just arrived in San Francisco to start his new life with Sarah, the investigative journalist he married after a transatlantic love affair. But Sarah never shows up at the airport…

When Terry reports his wife as missing, the police chalk it up to a new bride with cold feet. Then one murdered woman after another turns up, all with something in common: they had exposed scandals just before their deaths…and their names appear on a list that Sarah composed. As a journalist, Sarah’s exposed her share of scandals, and Terry realizes that she’s not missing—she’s on the run.

To find her before the killer does, Terry must explore the dark recesses of his new homeland and rely on the help of some new friends. But as his search brings him closer to finding Sarah, Terry realizes she’s very different from the woman he thought he married.


My review

Terry arrives in the US from England having left his home, family and friends to relocate and live with his American wife who he met while on holiday. To leave everything and everyone behind is a huge step in itself but what happens, what do you do, if things don’t go as planned? Terry is expecting to begin a new life with his wife but after arriving at San Francisco airport he waits for Sarah to meet him. She doesn’t show up and now Terry’s problems really begin…

Having no key he has to break into his house and is seen by a neighbour who calls the police. Terry is arrested but eventually released and, although there are no signs of a struggle at the house, the seeds of doubt are sown.

The story gains tension and suspense as it evolves, the abrasive sheriff investigating Sarah’s disappearance seems hell-bent on making Terry the main suspect and Terry finds himself in an unfamiliar and very frightening situation. Can things get any worse? Oh yes. they certainly can.

Terry’s only support is his new friend, Oscar, and there’s some great interaction between the two of them as they try to find Sarah and piece together what has happened.

This story begs the question, how well do we actually know people, even those closest to us. Terry and Sarah hadn’t known each other very long and had spent even less time together. There were bound to be things they didn’t know about each other which become apparent as the story unfolds. There are twists and turns which keep it moving towards a totally unexpected ending. A very enjoyable read.


Amazon UK  Amazon US

Terminated ~ the book


  • books1Author: Simon Wood
  • Published: November 2012 by Thomas & Mercer
  • Category: Crime/Thriller
  • four-stars

Stephen Tarbell needed that promotion. But they had to go and give the job to his supervisor, Gwen Farris. Now Tarbell has had enough—and he’s about to put Gwen on notice. She has two choices: give him a glowing review on his performance evaluation or suffer the consequences.

Simon Wood takes the reader on an exciting, tense and page turning journey.  From terrorisation to murder, a psychopath with a deadly grudge becomes more and more out of control

Gwen Farris is promoted to a managerial position in the pharmaceutical company where she works and this unwittingly unleashes the monster inside one of her now employees, Stephen Tarbell. Tarbell believes the job should have been his and to add to his grievances Gwen has to give him a poor evaluation report. As his actions begin to spiral out of control Gwen finds her life going from bad to worse.

Gwen is also dealing with the traumatic repercussions of a violet attack in her youth and as events become more nightmarish she resorts to desperate measures which lead to a thrilling conclusion.

The two main characters are believable although sometimes I wanted to yell ‘nooo, don’t do it’ at Gwen’s decisions which all seem to make matters worse for her, The scary thing is you can see how this situation might actually happen for real. A gripping read.

Buy from Amazon UK and Amazon US