• The One That Got Away

  • By: Nicky James
  • Narrated by: Nick J. Russo
  • Length: 12 hrs and 34 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (201 ratings)

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The One That Got Away

By: Nicky James
Narrated by: Nick J. Russo
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Publisher's Summary

Someone is following me. I’m not imagining it. I’m not crazy. 

Charlie Falkingham is convinced someone is stalking him. There are signs. There are clues. But no one believes him. After living through a childhood horror, Charlie suffers from a severe paranoia disorder, among many things, and the Hamilton Police Department has labeled him the boy who cries wolf. 

When the only person in the department who ever listened to Charlie’s concerns retires, who can Charlie reach out to for help? 

Arrogant and young, Officer Takoda Dyani has a chip on his shoulder a mile wide. He’s rude and brash and doesn’t play well with others. He has more enemies than friends. When his senior officer assigns him to be Charlie’s consultant, Takoda knows it will end badly. He doesn’t have time to coddle a prissy rich boy. 

However, if he can’t calm Charlie’s paranoid delusions and act civil for once, he’ll lose his job. 

But are they delusions? 

The longer he knows Charlie, the more Takoda realizes something isn’t right. 

Is someone really stalking Charlie, or is Takoda getting too wrapped up in Charlie’s world? 

The One That Got Away is an MM romantic suspense thriller. Triggers for severe anxiety and panic disorder, OCD, dissociative episodes, and PTSD. The plotline includes a reference to a past child kidnapping and sex trafficking incident. Details of sex trafficking are NOT discussed in any part of the story.

©2021 Nicky James (P)2021 Nicky James

What listeners say about The One That Got Away

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

This book has problems

The chemistry between the two main characters is wonderful and well written. The story itself is well paced and interesting. The narrator does a wonderful job.

The problems start with how the author treats mental Illness. I do not know if the author is nuroatypical or not. I am. I suffer from crippling anxiety, depression and paranoia. Without my mediation I cannot hold down a job, or fiction in society, it is only Through the use of medication and therapy I’ve been able to find my feet and I can once again hold down a job.

The way this author deals with medication in relation to mental illness makes my skin crawl. She talks about mediation like it’s damaging, something that is forced on Charlie. That he’s being “drugged.” It is obviously possible to misuse medication but the author doesn’t deal with that. Instead she presents it as if the drugs themselves are making him worse rather than their misapplication. There is already a huge stigma against seeking treatment for mental illness, i for one struggled for a long time before finally seeking help and it’s the attitude of people like this author that support that stigma.

She also has Charlie call his reaction to his trauma cowardice, and has him have an epiphany at the end of the book that he can just choose a new way forward. That’s not how mental illness works. That like a diabetic saying they’re just going to choose to start producing enough insulin. It’s bullshit and it dangerous.

Overall I would not recommend this book. The good points just don’t out weigh the bad ones.

10 people found this helpful

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4.5

I like to think of myself as a semifunctioning adult; one for whom leaving a keyboard smash as a review would never be an option. But as I tried to figure out exactly how I would formulate my thoughts, it began to seem more and more appealing. I hesitated over starting this book at first. Having read the author’s trigger warnings, it seemed like death—which is touched on in this novel but not in an excessive way—and gore would not be present. But I hesitated nonetheless. The psychological thriller was the next part to snag my attention. I worried that, depending on how the author wrote things, it might end up giving me some anxiety/leading to some paranoia of my own. But I kept coming back to it; reading the sample and scouring reviews. Finally, I gave in and bought it… And then I came to my next hurtle. I already felt like I’d like Charlie from his chapter. But I immediately went on the defensive, as a WOC, reading about an officer being an ahole—punching some random in the face, damaging property, I was a little on edge. But, warily, I soldiered on. I started understanding Takoda a bit more. Learning about his background helped… but I remained wary. So I’m not quite sure when it happened, maybe when Takoda was clearly feeling uncomfortable following his superior’s orders when it came to handling Charlie’s condition. Maybe it was, while still being an ahole, when he seemed concerned for Charlie’s well-being not just for the sake of his job (or that could’ve been wishful thinking). Anyway, like I said, I can’t pinpoint when it happened, but all of a sudden I was invested. I stayed up till 6 AM, something I haven’t done in a while to know what was happening next—during the suspense bits—but also to read about the budding friendship/romance during the “slice of daily life” bits. I loved what Charlie and Takoda became for each other. They complemented one another so well. I loved how patient Takoda was and watching Charlie gain confidence in himself. I really appreciated the relationship Charlie had with his dad. And I thought the conclusion to the mystery was great (in a disconcertingly surprising way. And then there was the narration by Nick J. Russo. I’m pretty sure I would still have liked the book on it’s own,but I think he brought it to a whole other level! He had distinct voices for Charlie and Takoda and I think a few more for other characters. It was just great! Oh, another thing I enjoyed about this book was that the drama/suspense/angst happened outside of the romance. With Charlie’s insecurities and Takoda’s hang-ups, there was definite room for romantic drama on top of everything else. I do have complaints: Takoda never apologizes for his initial treatment of Charlie. I wanted to know/see more with Takoda’s brother. We never got a followup with mom after the complete 180 it sounds like her character did. So I might knitpick a bit and make this review 4.5. Nicky James is a name I’ve seen around but never checked out. After this story, I’m eager to read what else this author has to offer.

7 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Riveting, surprising, and touching!

If I could say only one thing about this book it would have to be that I was riveted from chapter one, and it never let up! This is a gripping mystery with characters that will tug at your emotions. Prepare yourself for a wonderful ride.

Due to a horrible childhood trauma, 29 year old Charlie suffers from OCD, anxiety and severe paranoia. As a result, over the last decade and a half, he’s been prone to reporting ”concerns” about his personal safety to the police. Often. Now, when the same white car begins to appear nearly everywhere he goes, Charlie fears he’s being stalked. Once again he goes to the police for help, fully expecting to speak to the detective who’s always been willing to listen and help him in the past. But, at the police station, Charlie is told that the patient detective he’s come to trust has retired.
Enter Takoda, a younger, cocky police officer with an explosive chip on his shoulder. As a punishment for bad behavior at work, Takoda gets assigned Charlie’s case. The last thing in the world Takoda wants is to deal with a rich boy, privileged complainer. But, over time, Takoda starts to wonder if, maybe, this time something really is wrong… is Charlie right? Could he be in danger?

Fairly early on I liked Charlie. His struggles, both mental and emotional, felt very raw and real… but I could tell there was more to him than just his fears and quirks. I quickly became invested in his well being. I cared about him and wanted him to be ok. My concern however was that I wouldn’t ever like the seemingly always rude, perpetually angry Takoda. And in a romance, I want to like both characters. I was happy to be wrong about our hotheaded cop. I began to love that he hated lying to Charlie. I loved watching him become protective. I found it beautiful that Takoda softened as he got to know Charlie… to become patient and respectful of his needs. I need never have worried that James would have given us an unlikable hero… that is not her style.

Nicky James has easily become a favorite author of mine. Her brilliant writing is richly layered, full of emotion and truth. Her sensitive approach to mental illness is unsurpassed. As I’ve come to expect with her books, The One That Got Away is unapologetic in its gut punching hurts. It will drag you through some painful times, but rest assured you’ll relish the journey. You’ll want to know every detail she offers and then beg for more. James will have you dying to know what happens next and cursing any clock that tells you that you should stop listening for a while, to sleep… or eat… or go to work!

Nick J. Russo’s performance in this audiobook elevates an already incredible story to epic heights. He isn’t reading… he is performing as he tells you the story. His clearly distinct voices for every character add to the experience. I loved Charlie’s sweet, soft tone and Takoda’s gravelly deeper snarl. Every moment of witty banter, snark, fear, frustration, anger, joy, and steam is perfectly conveyed in this narration. The combination of Nicky James and Nick J. Russo is a gift, and I treasured it!

If you like a good mystery, two very different men, some hurt/comfort, and a beautiful romance that will sneak up on you, you’ve found your your book!! Happy listening!!

6 people found this helpful

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Absolutely Brilliant 🤩🤩

I absolutely loved this fast paced romantic suspense thriller!!

This was action packed with the perfect amount of mystery.

The writing was beautiful, addictive and engaging.

An absolute stunner!!

The narration was enjoyable as well

5 people found this helpful

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Great listen!

This audio was great! I loved the narrator and the story! I highly recommend this audiobook !

5 people found this helpful

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Another winner by Nicky James

I loved the book, a definite five star. But when you combine a fabulous book written by a talented author such as Nicky James, and match it with an incredible narrator Nick J Russo the result is perfection. Nick takes a fabulous book and brings it to a higher level. This is what audiobooks are all about. Highly recommended.

3 people found this helpful

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What a rollercoaster ride!

Wow, I really loved this book. The only other books by Nicky James I've read are the Jasper Hometown series and while they deal with somewhat serious topics, they're overall more on the lighter side. I wasn't sure what to expect from James with a book that was fairly dark and dealt with very serious situations. Trigger warning: kidnapping and sex trafficking, but no explicit details.

I absolutely loved the way James wrote Charlie's character. He was so vulnerable, especially in the beginning, but you could tell that he was getting tired of himself and the way the people around him were coddling him and treating him like a child. At first he seemed okay with being in his bubble, but then as you got to know him you got to see his struggles and desire to break free. I felt so awful for him and what he went through.

Takoda was amazing. He's brash and a huge jerk at first, but I could tell he was so much more than that the first time he felt bad for lying to Charlie. I loved how careful he was with Charlie once he looked beyond Charlie's eccentricities and how he was the only one not treating him like a child. The relationship between Takoda and Charlie was absolutely perfect and I thought everything was handled really well.

This book basically had me hooked from the beginning. It was engaging and kept me on the edge of my seat. Nick J. Russo did a phenomenal job narrating. I honestly don't know how he manages to make his voice sound like multiple people. I've never heard a narrator do so many voices and make it seem like there was more than one narrator. He's probably an all time favorite narrator of mine and I fully admit he is the reason I picked up any of Nicky James' books.

Overall, I HIGHLY recommend this one. If you're looking for something gritty and not your average romance book, this one is definitely for you. For those looking for spice, this really only has about two scenes and they're spicy, but not insanely so. I typically enjoy more spice in my books, but honestly this one was so good I didn't miss it.

2 people found this helpful

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EXCELLENT!!! 5 Stars

I absolutely loved this book. Nicky James with another outstanding book. Nick j Russo brought the book to life with his great Narration. 5 stars all the way!!!!

2 people found this helpful

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Love

I loved this. There were a few times I had to click over to my kindle app to read the book faster than the narrator because the suspense was killing me. I wished for more intimate moments but it’s still a good story.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Nobody writes romantic suspense, grumpy/sunshine, opposites attract like Nicky!

Narration: When I saw that Nick narrates this book, I grabbed it up immediately. He’s one of my favorites. And he does such a good job with this book! His voices for the main characters were spot on, and he always captures the emotions perfectly. I had already read this book, but I was just as hooked by the story and romance as I was the first time. Definitely grab this audio!

Story: This may end up being my favorite book of the year. I’m not sure what could top this! Nicky is the best at romantic suspense so I knew this book was going to be great, but I wasn’t expecting to be so blown away. The mix of story, romance, and character development was perfect. The psychological component of this book is intense and written incredibly well.

Why did I love this book so much? Charlie and Takoda! Takoda is introduced as a man with deep anger issues. He’s abrasive, mean, and reactive to the slightest things. So how could Nicky make anybody like him? Thanks to Charlie, of course. Watching big bully Takoda slowly soften towards Charlie was my kryptonite. Their dynamic is so good! I loved how Charlie doesn’t let Takoda get away with throwing up his spiky walls, and Takoda treats Charlie like a sane adult with valid issues caused by intense trauma. But even as Takoda softens up, he’s still pretty thorny, so his character felt authentic and relatable. I also loved how realistic the ebb and flow of Charlie’s mental health was. He will never erase his trauma, but Takoda is determined to help him try and find new coping methods. One of my favorite things was when Takoda puts power in Charlie’s hands by teaching him self defense. Charlie is treated so carefully by everyone else that it’s not something anyone had ever considered; not even his therapist.

This is a book where you have to read it to feel the full impact of all that goes on. The story was super interesting and it felt pretty suspenseful. These guys will always have a special place in my heart!

The audio is narrated by Nick J Russo, who I love, so I’ll definitely be snatching it up so I can “re-read” this book any time.

I loved this book and can’t recommend it enough. I’m all caught up on Nicky’s suspense books and can’t wait for more!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Northie
  • 04-24-22

Points of difference

Having a neuro-divergent main character adds an interesting twist to an otherwise fairly predictable story. It's an enjoyable suspense offering though with its Canadian setting another point of difference in its favour.

Nick Russo is an acceptable narrator except when he's yelling. I don't want to adjust the volume every time he comes to a patch of heightened dialogue. It isn't necessary or effective. Other narrators manage this issue much better.

1 person found this helpful

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  • HMM
  • 10-20-22

Nice and very well read.

I was captivated but noticed a few flaws. The reason for the stalking was not clear to me. And the cops were unrealistic with their claims 'we got them all because one convict struck a deal.' The mystery was no surprise because of that. It's a story I will remember but probably never relisten. I tend to relisten only the romance focused novels.

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  • K S
  • 10-19-22

Great book!

I really loved this book. It was so interesting that I had trouble putting it down. The story was great and so was the narrator. He was able to do so many characters so well. I was impressed with how he could switch from one voice to the next within a conversation with speed. This is one of the few books that I've enjoyed so much that I was disappointed when it came to an end. :)

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  • C M Silver
  • 06-06-22

A lot of whinging

The excellent narrator could not change all the whinging and whining, angst and anxiety which sadly is imparted to the listener, so much so that it depleted my will to try to get beyond it and properly into the story. I listen for enjoyment not to get stressed out. Gave up before the first hour. DISAPPOINTING

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  • Lynne77
  • 01-27-22

Loved It

I loved the way the personalities of the two MC's changed as they began to trust in each other. I didn't like Takoda initially, with his giant chip on his shoulder but warmed to him as he helped Charlie. Charlie was sweet, even with his OCD and insecurities, which will probably stay with him for the foreseeable future. But to see him blossom and begin to trust was beautiful.

This reminded in some small way of Nicky's Love Me Whole, which dealt with multi-personality disorder for one of the main characters and if you haven't read it, it's well worth a listen.

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  • Amelia
  • 01-23-22

A suspenseful mystery

I've yet to meet an author who writes suspense as compellingly as Nicky James, and combining that with Nick Russo's expressive narration made for an audio I couldn't tear myself away from. I'm pretty sure this book is what made me earn my marathon badge on audible, because I quite literally listened to the whole thing in a single day.

Nothing gets me quite as excited as a suspense plotline that makes me question my perception of reality, and from the very beginning Charlie was a contradiction I couldn't sort out. What I first interpreted as a very real threat turned out to be just one in dozens of paranoia-driven observations that never led anywhere. Charlie was heartbreakingly aware of his reputation for being crazy, and yet his insistence that his stalker was real was hard for even me to believe given the pattern. By the time I realized that maybe this time Charlie's observations were more fact than fiction, it was too late to reverse course and stop a chain of sinister revelations all linked to Charlie's traumatic past. As scary as it was to see the panic overtake Charlie each time a seemingly innocuous object triggered a forgotten memory, it was also fascinating to piece together the clues and try to uncover what was really going on. I felt a lot like Dakota as the story progressed--initially unsympathetic about Charlie's plight, but as time went on, deeply concerned for his safety and frustrated that no one was taking him seriously. Dakota had a massive chip on his shoulder for those who grew up with privilege, so it was particularly sweet to see how he softened to Charlie over time. Their romance was pretty low-key for the majority of the story, but honestly it didn't bother me because I was much more interested in solving the mystery. That didn't make my heart squish any less every time Charlie and Dakota showed affection for each other, because they were so dang cute once they woke up to their feelings. As time passed and Charlie's stalker hovered ever closer, I was impressed (and immensely frustrated) by how carefully Nicky James doled out little bits of information--never enough to solve the puzzle, but just enough to keep me constantly guessing and second guessing what I thought I knew. To say I was on the edge of my seat for the last few chapters is a severe understatement, but it was so worth it to finally know for sure what was going on. Of course, the ending couldn't come without some truly heart-racing encounters and tests of grit, but Charlie and Dakota proved they were up for the challenge.

**I voluntarily listened to a free copy of this book. This review expresses my honest thoughts and opinions.

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  • loveQhuay
  • 01-18-22

WOW! Loved it.

I couldn't wait this book to come out in audio too and OMG it was just perfect. Nicky's story with Nick's voice, that's just the perfect combination. Loved listening to this audio, so so good.

The storyline and the characters were perfect, I loved how both Takoda and Charlie changed, and how perfect they were for each other.

Charlie's character was so well written and his past was handled so good. I loved how Charlie communicated with everyone and how funny he was, especially when he corrected Takoda's words. It was hilarious.
Takoda was a little shit and I really loved how he grew up in front of our eyes and fell in love with Charlie. The best thing about Takoda was that he wasn't handling Charlie with kid gloves and told him everything without filter.

Charlie's PTSD and OCD was so perfectly portrayed, but it's not a new thing, everything Nicky touches is beautifully and carefully depicted.

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  • Mandy Tunstill
  • 01-16-22

Utterly Amazing and Brilliant 💖💖

Absolutely blew me away simply brilliant and captivating from start to finish the fantastic book by Nicky James and listening to audio is a whole new level Nick J Russo as done a brilliant and unforgettable job of bringing Charlie & Takoda to life its simply heartbreaking full of suspense and intrigue but oh so beautiful couldn't stop listening to this recommend so much. 💞💞

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  • AL
  • 01-12-22

Gripping and emotional

Story: Nicky James created a riveting suspense story that I was hooked on from the get go. Loved the plot, but even more - I loved the deep dive into the emotions of both characters. A unique pairing and a very unique, and trademark to this author, approach to emotional issues and psychological struggles.
Narration: Great job by Nick J. Russo. Clearly distinguishable characters and perfect portrayal of all the emotions.

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  • Mrs N
  • 01-10-22

I was hooked from the first minute !

What a story !!
What incredible narration !!

Boy oh boy, I couldn't tell you what I enjoyed the most about this story.
Charlie has so many heartbreaking debilities, trying to survive in a world he doesn't really want to, while creating a world he has complete control over, where monsters always die, but he is a real sweetheart.
Then there's Takoda, a police officer with a huge chip on his shoulders. He is aggressive, and loud and rude and hates Charlie's privileged background. I may have called him a name or two in the beginning, but the kinda redeemed himself to everyone. He hated being forced to what he called " holding the rich boy's hand " but his case was so much more than he could have ever imagined .
This story has so many layers and so much depth, the complex and broken characters and the constantly changing and escalating scary situations kept me hooked. I felt deeply for Charlie and his intense anxiety, and cheered when he showed his cheeky side, but Takoda's love for his animals gave me all the feels. That bad-ass copper deserved everything he got from his colleagues, but Charlie showed him the right path, and boy did he have to work for it.
A really enjoyable story made better by the talented Nick. J Russo, the light and shade in his voice and those accents were so good, I loved it all .

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  • Whatever my name
  • 06-04-22

Hooked from start to finish

This was a ride really. The development between Charlie and Takoda was really interesting. The preconceptions that people can have about others get a bit of schooling here.

While it is a romance book, it is also a mystery. The idea of the boy who calls wolf, do you believe him or not. Then Takoda, the cop, who is about to get kicked off the force. One has to help the other, whether they want to or not. In the end, they help one another.

The mystery side was a surprise and I never saw it coming. I love mysteries and then with a bit of romance as well, all good if you ask me.

Some narrators just tell a story and you don't really need to pay that much attention to them. For me, Nick J. Russo is one of those. I don't really remember his voice, but I remember the story. He did a fantastic job.

If you love mysteries then this MM romance/mystery is a good one to listen to.