Monday, January 30, 2017

Right Behind You ~ Lisa Gardner (earc) review [@LisaGardnerBks @DuttonBooks @PenguinUSA]

Right Behind You (Quincy & Rainie #7)
January 31, 2017
400 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

Lisa Gardner's next thriller following her runaway New York Times bestseller Find Her takes her wildly popular brand of suspense to new heights.

Is he a hero?

Eight years ago, Sharlah May Nash’s older brother beat their drunken father to death with a baseball bat in order to save both of their lives. Now thirteen years old, Sharlah has finally moved on. About to be adopted by retired FBI profiler Pierce Quincy and his partner, Rainie Conner, Sharlah loves one thing best about her new family: They are all experts on monsters.

Is he a killer?

Then the call comes in. A double murder at a local gas station, followed by reports of an armed suspect shooting his way through the wilds of Oregon. As Quincy and Rainie race to assist, they are forced to confront mounting evidence: The shooter may very well be Sharlah’s older brother, Telly Ray Nash, and it appears his killing spree has only just begun.

All she knows for sure: He’s back.

As the clock winds down on a massive hunt for Telly, Quincy and Rainie must answer two critical questions: Why after eight years has this young man started killing again? And what does this mean for Sharlah? Once upon a time, Sharlah’s big brother saved her life. Now, she has two questions of her own: Is her brother a hero or a killer? And how much will it cost her new family before they learn the final, shattering truth? Because as Sharlah knows all too well, the biggest danger is the one standing right behind you.

Right Behind You was the first Quincy & Rainie book I have read, so I can tell you that you do not have to have read books one through six first. We get enough of their backstory to understand who they are, what they do and to see why Sharlah is such a great fit for them.

I really loved Sharlah's character and how she fits into the events of the story and into Quincy and Rainie's life. Her past is an undoubtedly painful one and she still has those scars - both physical and emotional - but is working at moving on, forming a new, healthy life. The past she shares with Telly, how that became part of the story, the conflicts it created and the contrast it provided really makes you feel for all of the characters.

For Sharlah, for Telly, even for Quincy and Rainie, it isn't that the past is in the past and everything is just fine and shiny, happy now. What they've experienced has shaped who they are today, for better or for worse. I really liked how Sharlah's personality was, in so many ways, an effect of those first few years of her life and how that affected the decisions she makes in the story.

From Sharlah's personality to Cal and the SAR involvement to Luka and what he can and does do to the crime and the response, all of Right Behind You feels like Lisa Gardner really did her research, really understood who and what she as talking about. It is all fictional, but every bit feel realistic and true.

There were elements of the story, certain developments or events, that I thought I could predict and, sometimes, I was even right. What really kept this novel surprising, tense and thrilling, however, was that the how or why or when things happened wasn't easy to guess. Things that were so seamlessly integrated into the characters or the story that you never questioned them would end up having much more impact than you'd ever imagine.

Right Behind You does a fantastic job not only providing a thrilling mystery, but including SAR searchers, super smart (and loving) dogs, and unconventional family situations. It all comes together  to make for a superb read. This  may have been the first Quincy & Rainie series book I read, but it won't be the last.

(This is a book that shows both a pit bull and a German shepherd in a positive light, something I love the book (and author) all the more for doing!)

digital copy received for review from publisher, via NetGalley

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