I’m participating in a blog tour! This is stop #6 of the RIGHT BEHIND YOU blog tour, set up by Headline. My post is a review of the newest novel by experienced crime writer Lisa Gardner.
Eight years ago, Sharlah’s brother, Telly Ray Nash, beat their drunken father to death with a baseball bat to save them both. Sharlah has had no contact with her sibling since. She’s moved from foster to foster, and has finally found her forever home with her future adoptive parents, Quincy and Rainie, as well as with her dog, ex-police dog German Shepherd, Luka. But is she safe?
The call comes in: a double homicide at a gas station in their sleepy little town. It seems that, despite everything, Telly isn’t done killing yet. And Sharlah might be his next victim.
Phew, what a read! I won’t deny it, and this is the truth: I could not stop thinking about this book. When I put it down, all I wanted to do was pick it up again! I was always wondering what was going to happen next.
I’m not going to give too much away about the plot, but I really liked the premise and it did keep me completely gripped the whole way through. I think that if you were a very experienced thriller reader, some of it may have been predictable, but overall I didn’t guess anything and had a “WHOOAAAAA” moment by the end.
I did think that, in places, it dragged on a little, and that’s partly why this book got 4/5. I thought that at times the writing and plot could’ve been more concise and it would’ve been more effective in the thriller-esque manner it has been written. This was especially apparently towards the ending, when I felt like people were waiting for the conclusion. It could’ve been wrapped up a little quicker. The writing style also seemed to flitter between big explanations and snappy sentences. However, I did like the changing POVs, which meant Gardner could hold back certain information and reveal more backstory as the book went onward.
The characters were really interesting. I loved how the past of Sharlah and Telly was picked apart slowly, and how that coincided with the plot. The right things were definitely revealed at the appropriate time to create the desired effect. Sharlah was a little dumb at times, though. I don’t know if it was Gardner or Sharlah herself, but she seemed to pretend she was really intelligent, and then did the stupidest things (although to give her credit, she utilised Luka and I admire her thinking in that aspect). The doing-the-stupid things annoyed me – a lot. She also seemed to have little-to-no consideration of Quincy and Rainie, which again, annoyed me, HOWEVER, I do not pretend to understand how it feels to be adopted so I cannot understand Sharlah’s thinking pattern at some points in the book.
(Also, slight, but reassuring, spoiler: Luka does not die. I was so scared I even Googled it, but I thought I’d put it out there for other people who don’t want dead dogs in novels. You can thank me later. And also Luka was awesome. 10/10 literary dog.)
Apparently, this is Quincy and Rainie’s 7th book (although I’ve heard that Rainie doesn’t turn up until book 2). Oh my gosh, they were awesome. They were the best power couple I have seen in a long time, and I loved their understanding. I thought that this novel raised the stakes for them, their own daughter being involved and all, and it was really interesting to see how they reacted. Their dynamics in the partnership were really well put together, and I’d be interested in reading more about them.
I felt like every character supported the plot, too, which was really good to have. No one felt useless. Cal was an interesting character – I liked him, but thought that in some points he was put in unnecessarily. Shelley, I thought, could’ve been better as a person, but she was a good character, and very brave and yet caring.
If you’re wondering, you don’t have to have read any other books in the series for this to make sense. Although it’s the 7th in the series, it works perfectly well in a standalone. Of course, having prior knowledge would make the reading of this novel all the more enriching, but I didn’t feel like I was missing out on anything not having read any previous works.
Overall, I give this book a 4/5. Critically, perhaps it isn’t the best-book-of-ever, and towards the end it did feel a bit draggy and lacklustre, but in general terms I really, really enjoyed it, and I would love to pick up more books by Gardner in the future. I would definitely recommend this book!
This review has been written as part of the RIGHT BEHIND YOU blog tour. I was sent a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review by Headline. Thank you very much!
TITLE: Right Behind You (Quincy and Rainie #7)
AUTHOR: Lisa Gardner
PUBLISHER//YEAR OF PUBLICATION: Headline // 2017
NUMBER OF PAGES: 368
PERSONAL SOURCE: Sent by the publisher