It Takes One: a complex, but also frustrating read

It takes one book review

What is this about?: Audrey returns home after seven years, and pretty much gets embroiled in the murder investigation into her former best friend’s death. Thing is, she’s the suspect that makes the most sense given their history, but there’s so much more to Maggie than she ever thought

What else is this about: Setting the scene for a series, in and around a complex character-driven story


They say there are no secrets in a small town…

Criminal psychologist Audrey Harte is returning home after seven years. She’ll have to face the whispers and the rumors that have haunted her family since she left. Because when Audrey was thirteen, she and her best friend Maggie killed Maggie’s abusive father.

Her first night back in town ends in a fight with a drunken Maggie, with her old crush Jake to witness it all. Audrey can’t believe it can get worse. Then Maggie turns up dead.

Now, Audrey has to find out who the murderer is – before everyone decides that she is to blame. And before the murderer can set their sights on her.

It Takes One was definitely not what I expect by a long shot.


First up, Audrey was the reason I had to read this book — a criminal psychologist who was once a murderer? Sign me up! She has come to terms with her past simply by virtue of not returning home for years, and avoiding Maggie, her best friend and their reputation in the town. When they were 13, they accidentally killed Maggie’s sexually abusive father and both suffered the consequences of that act after.

But what also happened after, is that Maggie and Jake, a boy she loved dearly and still does to some extent, betrayed her. All in all, it was a perfect storm that led to her leaving town and never looking back.

When she returns, she gets into a public argument with Maggie, and soon after Maggie is murdered. All suspicion falls to her and Audrey has to figure out what was going on in Maggie’s life that led to her death — and that means going back to her past, which Audrey does not want to do.

From there, Audrey finds herself reconnecting with people from high school, including Jake, which yes you can see the romance coming from a mile away. But there are other characters — Maggie’s step daughter, Bailey and her husband Gideon, and Jake’s siblings and his niece, that come together to draw a picture of Maggie and her life.


Maggie looms large over everything, over everyone, even more so than her diary entries that are dispersed within the book. Slowly you begin to realise that Maggie loved Audrey, obsessively, and the act of killing her father, in her head, bound them together forever, no matter the reality of the situation. Audrey never realised that, and that plays a big part within this story.

What’s frustrating though…

The book explores what her family went through when she left, as they had to stay behind in a small town where she had committed a crime. In addition, her parents’ relationship, despite her father’s alcoholism and their family dynamic is far more interesting than what we did get: Audrey defines herself as the daughter of a drunk, with a violent temper, and she reminds readers of that fact constantly, to the point that it lost any meaning.

Sighs. I just didn’t care and I was annoyed at the potential that it did leave hanging — though I suppose that’s what the rest of the series is for.

What saved this book is the complexity of characterisation, and an ending that was shocking and sad, and more than a little heartbreaking for what it said about Maggie, and what Audrey never understood about her.


  • I would have picked up this book just for Audrey too. She sounds great! I’m sorry to hear there were so many frustrating elements though. I don’t think I would care about what the family went through after she left either, unless, like you say, it really becomes important later on in the series.

    • Verushka says:

      She really is — and if there had been more of a payoff for having to endure a sister than nagged her constantly for example, I would have been more open to the family aspect. I guess at a stretch they were around to give her a reason to remain attached to the town — for spoilery reasons, I won’t say more. But Audrey and her relationship with Maggie — and even Maggie herself — made for such a good read!

  • It sounds like a pretty frustrating read on the whole. What a pity it wasn’t better for you!

    • Verushka says:

      It had it moments, and the ending was seriously impressive with how the author built up to it and the reveal. But yeah some of the way there did no work

  • Ooh this sounds super fascinating. I’m sorry some aspects were a bit frustrating, but it sounds like it was an overall really good read!


    • Verushka says:

      Overall I was pretty impressed with parts of it and frustrated with others and the ending was just WOW. So a mixed bag, but good overall.

  • Jen Mullen says:

    I hate it when an author keeps reminding the reader! Some things don’t even need to be said if they are carefully illustrated through behavior, but even that can be overdone and can seem condescending. The premise sounds interesting, but I think the things that bothered you would bother me as well.

    • Verushka says:

      I did roll my eyes more than a couple of times with this — and you’re right there was plenty of behaviour that indicated what the author kept telling us *shrugs* These was some excellent bits here which made this book worth the read though.

  • Christy says:

    This sounds really interesting and that maybe the frustration is worth it.

  • I really like this cover and I’m pretty sure I’ve considered this book in the past. Does sound like it might be frustrating at times though.

  • Daniela Ark says:

    ugh I’m with you this would have sounded like preaching to me and that’s usually a no no in books. At least for me. Sorry to hear this one let you down! It had potential!

  • Angela says:

    What a complex friendship! I’m sorry it wasn’t a better read for you, though.

  • Unexpected can go either way, so I’m glad to hear it turned out well this time! This does sound super character-focused and like it has a pretty unique plot and backstory.

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