Publication date: January 31st 2017
My rating: 4 stars
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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.
Thirteen year-old Sharlah hasn’t seen her older brother, Telly, since he killed their parents in self-defense eight years ago. Obviously, these two didn’t have the greatest start in life with drug addicted, violent parents, but they had each other. Telly loved Sharlah, would feed her, make sure her clothes were clean, and take her to the library each day after school to read her favorite books. Now Sharlah is finally getting a permanent home, and parents who love her: Quincy and Rainie, a perfect pair for this troubled girl. Both have personally experienced firsthand the horrors humans can inflict on others, both have their own dark pasts, and can easily relate to Sharlah’s issues.
As everything is looking up for Sharlah, Telly life is another story. It seems he’s the prime suspect in a series of shootings that baffle law enforcement. Did that night Telly saved them change him so much that he could commit these crimes or is there more at play here? Sharlah doesn’t know what to believe, but she must find out the truth. Thankfully, she has her criminal profiling parents to help. The clock is ticking to find answers and Telly before anyone else is killed.
I was thrilled to hear after so many years we’d be getting another Quincy/Rainie book! Apparently, Lisa Gardner wrote Right Behind You in response to a poll asking readers who should star in her next mystery, and the overwhelming answer was this beloved duo. Quincy and Rainie have long been my favorite characters of Ms. Gardner’s many books. Their history, emotional struggles, and romance captured my heart! The mysteries they worked on were riveting! I spent the last few weeks re-reading most of their previous stories before reading Right Behind You. That isn’t necessary to enjoy this story, I believe you can read this installment as a standalone, but it did greatly enhance my enjoyment.
I will say the mystery part didn’t really take off for me until the 39% mark, but I didn’t mind. Life with Sharlah, Rainie and Quincy, still acclimating to each other while investigating the shooting, was engrossing to me. More threads and possibilities become apparent as the team investigates Telly’s life with his foster parents, a place he seemed to settle into, and the urgency to find Telly ramps up. I was eager to get to the bottom of what actually happened all the while hoping everything would turn out okay for Sharlah and her brother!
Ms. Gardner really does her research into criminal behavior and investigative techniques making her mysteries a stand out for me. They are well written crime procedurals with a solid, multi-layered cast of characters. Most of her stories have left me thinking about them long after I closed the book.
Lisa Gardner is going on tour, the dates and cities are below. Alas, she's not coming to my state! *sobs*