If you’re paying this blog a visit as a result of its place on the Right Behind You blog tour, then welcome. While you are here, feel free to have a look around at other books and authors I have featured.
As the author of several series, Lisa Gardner used a Facebook poll to determine who should be the star of her 2017 novel. The winners were FBI profilers Quincy and Rainie who in Right Behind You find themselves working on a case that couldn’t be closer to home.
Eight years ago their adopted daughter Sharlah, now 13, saw her brother Telly kill their parents in order to protect her. Although they have lived completely separate lives ever since, that all changes when Telly goes on the run following the deaths of his foster parents.
For the less technically minded reader it can be frustrating when an author introduces an obscure technique to miraculously solve a case. Thankfully, Gardner doesn’t let her investigators use such shortcuts.
So, when Telly goes on the run, the team looking for him have to employ old-fashioned tracking skills rather than helicopters equipped with heat-seeking cameras (it’s too hot to use them). They sit in his room and imagine the world from his point of view.
Writing from the perspective of different characters can be confusing, but Gardner gives each character a distinctive voice, meaning there’s never any confusion about who is speaking to you. It’s also interesting to get alternative perspectives on a single event from different characters, leaving the reader to wonder which is the more accurate.
One of the things I like about this book are the details of the character’s lives before the story began. From a mother sharing her chicken recipe to a girl’s love for her dog. It’s snippets like these which help keep it all rooted in a world we can recognise, although the story is one that is far removed from most of our experiences.
The action takes place in one town over a 24-hour period in the middle of a heatwave, which all adds to the pressure the central characters are under to resolve the situation.
I only have a couple of minor quibbles. Would a girl of 13 really be allowed to sit in while investigators discussed a murder investigation, and are American crime scenes really left unguarded by police within hours?
Other than that, I really enjoyed it. It starts slowly with what appears to be a conventional manhunt but turns into something much more complex and satisfying. Each of the characters brings something different to the narrative and as the plot unfolds I found my feelings towards each of them changing.
A well-drawn set of characters, an original plot with plenty of twists to keep you continually rethinking how it is all going to end. Recommended.
If you want to see what others have said about Right Behind You, do pay a visit to the other book blogs on this tour.