A Book Spy Review: ‘Right Behind You’ By Lisa Gardner

511aue-oml-_sx329_bo1204203200_Nine years after the last time readers saw Pierce Quincy and Rainie Conner in Say Goodbye (2008), bestselling author Lisa Gardner has brought them back for another pulse-pounding adventure that turns deeply personal for her beloved characters.

After a hellish childhood, Sharlah Nash is finally happy. Her new parents-to-be not only love her, but, thanks to their professions, understand what she’s been through in her life.

And she’s been through a lot.  

Growing up, Sharlah’s father wasn’t just abusive, he was a killer. One night after an evening of drinking, he murdered Sharlah’s mother when an argument turned physical. Later that night, in self-defense, Sharlah’s nine-year-old big brother, Telly, beat their father to death with a baseball bat when he came at them with a knife.

In the aftermath, Sharlah and Telly were split up. Sharlah bounced around from foster family to foster family, none of which were really very nice to her, always wondering what happened to her big brother. Eventually, she landed with Pierce and Rainie, who she’d lived with for the last three years before they recently decided to make their family official by adopting her.

For the first time in her thirteen years, Sharlah was finally happy. 

And then her world was shaken once again… 

A gas station clerk and random customer were murdered in cold blood. Video footage shows a gunman who appears to be Telly, now a troubled seventeen-year-old. That assumption is later strengthened when Telly’s foster parents (who taught him how to hunt and shoot) are also found murdered in their home. Upon searching for clues, one of the things that’s recovered is Telly’s cell phone, which contains pictures of Sharlah. 

Without any insight into Telly’s current state of mind, the police cannot rule out that Sharlah isn’t next on his hit list. And until given a reason to suspect otherwise, she’s presumed to be in danger. 

Pierce, a retired profiler who had a prolific career with the FBI, and Rainie, who moonlights with the Bakersville County Sheriff’s Department, have helped find and put away a lot of bad guys in their careers. This time around, they’ll need to draw on every ounce of experience they’ve banked over the years. 

Hellbent on protecting Sharlah at all costs, the duo realizes that the only way for their daughter to be safe–and for the killing to stop–is to find Telly before it’s too late. 

The story initially opens with flashback scenes, then picks up in the present day, at which point it switches between Sharlah and Telly’s points of view. As the plot develops, little things come to light that will make Pierce, Rainie, and even readers, question everything they think they know about Telly. 

Is it possible that Telly isn’t a stone-cold killer? Is there a chance that, somehow, his actions are justified? Is he even the one responsible for all the murders?

Those are just a few of the questions that drive Gardner’s plot, which (after a long opening chapter) moves at breakneck speeds. Even better is Gardner’s ability to create heavy, palpable tension that jumps off the page–a skill that she puts on full display here. 

Fans of psychological thrillers won’t find anything better than Right Behind You, one of Gardner’s best books so far, and an early winner in 2017.

Book Details

Author: Lisa Gardner
Series: Quincy & Rainie #7
Pages: 400 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 0525954589
Publisher: Dutton
Release Date: January 31, 2017 (Order Now!)

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