- Associated Press - Monday, January 30, 2017

“Right Behind You” (Dutton), by Lisa Gardner

A terrifying incident that occurs when a young girl witnesses something life-changing propels Lisa Gardner’s tight and compelling thriller, “Right Behind You.”

When Sharlah May Nash was 5, her 9-year-old brother, Telly Ray, kept her safe from their alcoholic parents. One horrible night, Telly is forced to murder their parents in self-defense. As a result, Sharlah gets a broken arm, and the two of them are pushed into foster care and also separated from each other.

Sharlah is now 13, has gone through several homes and is about to be adopted by retired FBI profiler Pierce Quincy and his wife, Rainie Conner. Fans of Gardner’s previous work will be excited to see them back in action after a long absence, and the two of them enjoy having the teenager in their life. They even have a dog, and though Sharlah has difficulty expressing her feelings, deep down she loves her family and they love her.

For the past eight years, she hasn’t seen her brother. When a murder in a convenience store shows her brother as the person responsible for pulling the trigger, Quincy and Conner work behind the scenes with law enforcement to not only stop Telly from going on a killing spree, but also to keep Sharlah in the dark about who is responsible for the murders they are investigating. Evidence on Telly’s cellphone shows recent pictures of Sharlah, and as the body count increases, Quincy and Conner fear the young girl they want in their life is a target.

Gardner knows how to get the reader emotionally hooked into the story, and the police procedure elements of the novel shine. One part of the story is a bit obvious for savvy thriller aficionados, but Gardner still knows how to surprise and tantalize. She’s a master of the psychological thriller, so don’t leave this one behind.

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