by Sandra Murphy
& Spencer Quinn
This week we have a review of The Right Side, something very different from mystery author Spencer Quinn aka Peter Abrahams, who is known for his Chet and Bernie mysteries. We also have an interesting guest post by Spencer where he explains how he came to write this book.
Spencer will be signing copies of The Right Side at Mysterious Galaxy, 5943 Balboa Ave Suite 100 in San Diego, CA on June 29 at 7:30 p.m.
Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of The Right Side. If you are unable to attend the booksigning, we also have a link to order it from Amazon, and from Mysterious Galaxy where a portion goes to help support KRL.
The Right Side: By Spencer Quinn
Review by Sandra Murphy
LeAnne Hogan was someone to watch in the military. Sent to Afghanistan, she worked with the local people through an interpreter. Local women felt more comfortable around her than male soldiers until she shot and killed a suicide bomber at the opening of a center for women.
Another bomb kills and injures most of her outfit. LeAnne lost her left eye and has a lot of scarring. Her memory is impaired, too, leaving her deeply flawed in the eyes of many, including herself sometimes. She has one friend in her roommate at Walter Reed. Marci lost a leg. When Marci dies of a blood clot, LeAnne decides she’s had enough of the hospital and leaves without telling anyone.
At first, she just wants to get on a bus and ride, no destination. Soon, a car seems a better idea, no other people around. Without a plan in mind, she heads west to see Marci’s daughter. As if she hasn’t been through enough, she finds that Marci’s daughter is missing. As a person who’s lost a lot of memory, LeAnne needs help if she’s going to find the girl, and she gets it in the form of a stray dog. She’s positive she can’t keep the dog and will give it to a shelter, but somehow the dog manages to stay with her, help out, and even cause her to reimagine her life. She names the dog Goody.
LeAnne is basically screwed up, lost within herself and society. The loyalty of a dog no one wanted serves them both well. Two mysteries are hers to solve—how was her unit betrayed and who has Marci’s child?
The book starts with LeAnne in the hospital, trying to come to terms with her injuries. There are insights into her childhood that are a stark contrast to what she had and what she lost. When she arrives in Marci’s home town, the suspense is enough to grab you by the throat and not let go until you know where the child is. The dog, of course, takes charge of LeAnne when she’s not sure what to do or where to go next.
In the end, readers are going to wish this wasn’t a standalone book. LeAnne and Goody are a pair you’ll want to revisit now and again, just to catch up and see how they’re doing. Wherever they are, whatever they’re doing, it’s going to be good.
For readers who enjoy the Chet and Bernie series of books Quinn writes, this is totally different. It’s suspenseful, a thriller, a mystery, a tale of a woman and a dog who saves her when she thought she’d saved the dog. It’s a story of healing. It’s a story you won’t want to put down.
How I Came To Write The Right Side
by Spencer Quinn
Here’s something that readers of The Right Side will notice after just a page or two: it’s not a Chet and Bernie novel. In fact, it’s very different—tonally, thematically. You name it! You may even ask: Did the same guy write it? Answer: Yes, I swear! And my bet is a careful reader will actually find, if not exact similarities, then indications that these different stories come from the same consciousness. Here’s a good place to say there is a dog in The Right Side, a dog who plays an important role, although this dog is not Chet. But I think you’ll end up liking her (Spoiler alert!) a lot.
Sometimes—and they’re often the best times in what my grandmother always called “the writing game”— a character grabs you and won’t let go. This character, a figment of your own imagination but not wholly under your power, demands to be brought to life, and in the case of LeAnne Hogan, the main character in The Right Side, will bring herself to life with or without your help. So—I helped!
But why her? And why now? I think the answer is that every writer is affected by the big events going on in the world, and that sometimes those big events just need to be written about; which I did, but in my own way. And in the course of writing, I confess I was deeply moved by LeAnne, this semiautonomous figment becoming so real to me. At the same time, she was capable of doing shocking things, and I wasn’t totally sure what I thought of her until the very last lines. But when they came spooling out, I suddenly knew exactly what I thought, and reading over the whole draft for the first time, I saw that the ending was inevitable from the start.
To enter to win a copy of The Right Side, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “right,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen June 24, 2017. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address.
Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & short stories in our mystery section.
Use this link to purchase the book & a portion goes to help support KRL & indie bookstore Mysterious Galaxy:
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Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases using those links. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.
As a huge fan of the Chet & Bernie series, I was uncertain about this book. After reading this review/post, I know The Right Side must be on my tbr list. Thanks for the chance to win it. nschwenkner (at) g mail (dot) com
I’ve been seeing a lot about this book. Thanks for the chance to win! firstname.lastname@example.org
Don’t believe I’ve read this author, but this book sounds like there will be insight to a world I don’t know. I do love books with animals and they prove their loyalty over and over. email@example.com
This does sound like a Must Read. Thanks for the interview & giveaway.
Can’t wait to read it.
This book sounds like an amazing read. My son was in Iraq. He has had a hard time since coming home. Physically, he still is undergoing replacements and therapy but that is improving. Mentally and emotionally, though, I know he will never recover fully. If not for family support, I don’t know where he would be. I am so grateful his wife and daughters are there with him. So many vets, from all wars, have very little to no support after coming home. From the review it sounds like LeAnne is one of those. I love that she stays strong and finds support with Goody. Though broken some may be, they are all heroes. I can’t wait to read this book! cristinaalaska(@)gmail(dot)com
This looks like a wonderful suspense novel, please enter my name for the chance to win a copy. crs(at)codedivasites(dot)com
I am very familiar with Chet and Bernie. His new book looks very good. Thanks for the chance to win.
New to me author. Sounds fascinating!
I am a fan of Spencer Quinn’s books and would love to win this new one!
For those unfamiliar with Chet and Bernie, Chet’s the dog and Bernie is a private investigator. The books are told totally from Chet’s point of view, a difficult thing to do as Chet sometimes has vital information but Bernie doesn’t understand him. Or Chet doesn’t realize it’s important. Chet is also easily distracted but he knows when it’s time to grab the perp by the pants leg and not let go. They are a delightful read. The Right Side confronts more serious issues and Leann not only has to try to deal with her new disabilities, her family, memory loss – she also has to learn to rely on Goody, the dog who adopted her. It’s a little slower start but the tension and action build until you can’t turn the pages fast enough. I love reviewing Quinn’s books.
Sounds like a great read. Adding to my TBR list.
We have a winner!