Right Behind You by Lisa Gardner
Star rating: ★★ ☆☆ ☆ 2/5
Summary: Eight years ago Sharlah’s brother beat their father to death when he killed their mother and then came after them with the same knife. Now Sharlah is thirteen and about to be adopted out of the foster care system when her brother comes back into her life in a dramatic way. Telly is wanted as a suspect in a recent spree killing and Sharlah has to face the brother she hasn’t seen in eight years and the person he has become.
Review: I received a digital galley of this book from Penguin’s firsttoread.com.
I wanted to like this book, there was potential but I just couldn’t make myself like it.
It is the seventh book in a series I’d never read before but it’s pretty stand alone, I didn’t feel like I was missing anything by not having read the rest of the books. I do feel if I had read the rest of the series I would be annoyed by how much the two main characters of this series seems to be introduced to the reader. It feels like they’re always being described in a way that shouldn’t be necessary in the seventh book.
A lot of the characters drove me nuts, or I suppose the descriptions of the characters. Take Cal, the tracker for instance, did you know he makes cheese? I do because it was brought up every five seconds. I’m not even joking one page had three separate times where it is mentioned he makes cheese! We get it, oh my god. It’s to the ridiculous level where one of the notes I made to myself was “hey, you guys hear Cal makes cheese?” and I groaned every time it got mentioned (so I groaned a lot). Also Sharlah’s name bugged me, as did her brother’s Telly Ray Nash, they were just weird names that irked me every time they came up.
The overall theme that technology is bad made me think
Like it was just so over the top. And there were a lot of unrealistic views of teens and how they use technology. Such as at one point Sheriff Shelly talks about how teenagers use burners to hide things they don’t want their parents to know. What? I’ve never ever met a teen that does that, that’s some made up old man yells at a cloud bs. Also the characters are in Telly’s room, examining his things and they’re surprised he has real books instead of an ereader because that’s apparently the only thing kids these days read on. Um, one not true and also SO much time is spent making sure the readers know that foster kids do not have a lot of things so where the hell would a foster kid (one that is also an apparent trouble kid) get an ereader? No where. They’re not like books where you can buy them cheap at thrift stores and library sales. Come on.
I was so irritated when I read of how invasive Sharlah’s foster parents are, and the book justifies it!! The mom apparently reads every text she sends? You know what that does? That makes kids more secretive and more creative in ways to hide things from their parents and they don’t trust their parents. And they talk about how trust has to be earned, um?? You’ve had her for three years, she’s not in any danger of hurting herself or others– there is no reason to be so invasive into her privacy besides wanting that control over her. Like maybe if she was as troubled as her brother and brand new to them but she isn’t! Ridiculous.
The plot itself is okay, there are some twists but it feels very cop procedural show and not one of the good ones. It’s pretty boring in a lot of places and drags, there is no real thrill to it. Honestly the only part of the book I liked was the tracking dog Molly. Otherwise? Super forgettable and lots of irritating moments. A lot of the parts that could have been more interesting, like Sandra and her past, were fairly vague and brushed over. But hey! We got to hear Cal makes cheese!