I was surprisingly engrossed in this book. I mean, I enjoy Gardner’s books but this one in particular had me hooked and I was forced to read it in a sitting and dine on red wine and chocolate instead of the leftover fish awaiting me in my fridge!
Right Behind You
by Lisa Gardner
Series: Quincy & Rainie #7
Published by Headline
on January 31st 2017
Source: Hachette Australia
Genres: Thriller / Suspense
ISBN: 1472220331, 9781472220332
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.
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.
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.
This is the seventh installment in the Quincy / Rainie series – most of which I’ve read. Although the sixth was published in 2008 so (other than a novella last year) it’s been a long time between drinks with the crime-solving duo. Which was a relief as I hadn’t remembered them having a foster child and was worried there was going to be a gap in my knowledge.
But it wasn’t the case and we learn how Sharlah comes to be living with the pair. Her backstory is a key part of the plot of this book, and Gardner does a great job at giving readers insight into Sharlah’s life, with her family, in foster care and now with the couple who want to adopt her.
In fact, I think the strength of this book is its characters and – in particular – the relationship between Quincy, Rainie and Sharlah. We’re in all of their heads at various points (though Sharlah’s thoughts and actions are revealed in first person) so know they’re all tip-toeing around the obvious. They’re all fragile. They want to be honest with each other but afraid of rejection and all overthink / overanalyse their behaviour and that of the other two.
Having said that, Quincy and Rainie are both wonderfully up-front with Sharlah about what’s happening. As is expected, there’s a lot of detail around psychopathy and psychological profiling in the book, and I realise that’s Quincy’s bent; but – as part of the investigation – they also call on a therapist who talked to the two children after the murder/death of their parents.
And of course we’re given insight into the children’s intimacy and attachment issues, although Sharlah’s had a far better run than her older brother.
Gardner sets a good pace in this novel and I was invested from the beginning. And although the crime spree seems to be the work of Sharlah’s brother Telly, we know there HAS to be more to the story than initially suspected. Plus it’s hard not to feel sorry for Telly as we first meet him when he’s an intelligent 9yr old, caring for his younger sister.
But of course nothing is as it seems and Gardner adds an extra twist or two at the end making this one of my favourite of her books. Ever.
Right Behind You by Lisa Gardner was published in Australia by Hachette and is now available.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes.