A Female Soldier’s Journey Through Hell & The Dog Who Helped Her Navigate It.

In writing fiction that closely aligns with current events, one might think the writer is feeding off the headlines and stories of the day, as if it were some plot to sell more books. In the case of Spencer Quinn’s The Right Side, one would be wrong in thinking that. Mr. Quinn, it turns out, has developed his own cottage industry of dogcentric novels, earning unprecedented critical acclaim for his New York Times best- selling The Chet and Bernie series. Its first book, DOG ON IT, captivated mystery readers and dog lovers alike and was followed by seven more equally enthralling stories with such fetching (pun intended) titles as Thereby Hangs A Tail, A Fistful of Collars and Paw and Order among oth- ers. It also turns out that Spencer Quinn is a nom de plume for Edgar Award winning novelist, Peter Abrahams, a mystery uncovered by The Daily Beast in 2009. The prolific Mr. Abrahams, is The New York Times bestselling author of twenty-five books, including End Of Story, Down The Rabbit Hole and the Edgar Award winning Reality Check. Stephen King, no slouch in the mystery department himself, has called Abrahams “my favorite American suspense writer.” I read a lot and when a story like

The Right Side grabs me by the throat from the get-go, it’s worth noting that for me, early character development is key. Quinn’s remarkable ability, perhaps his signature talent, is just that and more. The litmus test for me is that I become irritat- ed at being called back to reality by something as mundane as earning a liv- ing, necessitating putting the book down. Our protagonist, LeAnne Hogan, is

an Afghanistan war veteran who returns home physically wounded and emotion- ally shattered, with little or no memory of how or why. From the publisher:

“LeAnne Hogan went to Afghanistan as a rising star in the military, and came back a much lesser person, mentally and phys- ically. Now missing an eye and with half her face badly scarred, she can barely remember the disastrous desert operation that almost killed her. She is con- fused, angry and suspects the fault is hers, even though nobody will come out and say it. Shattered by one last blow – the sudden death of her hospital room- mate, Marci – LeAnne finds herself on a fateful drive across the country, reflecting on her past and seeing no future. Her native land is now

unfamiliar, recast in shadow by her one good eye, her damaged psyche, her weak- ened body. Arriving in the rain-soaked small town in Washington State that Marci had called home, she makes a trou- bling discovery: Marci’s eight-year-old daughter has vanished. When a stray dog – a powerful, dark,

unreadable creature, no one’s idea of a pet – seems to adopt LeAnne, a surpris- ing connection is formed and something shifts inside her. As she becomes obsessed with finding Marci’s daughter, LeAnne and her inscrutable canine companion are drawn into danger as dark and men- acing as her last Afghan mission. This time, she has a strange but loyal fellow traveler protecting her blind side.” This is a special story. It’s believable

and unforgettable, watching (nay living with) our protagonist as she navigates through her heartbreak and disillusion- ment, hoping the search for Marci’s daughter will provide purpose and redemption.

THE RIGHT SIDE By Spencer Quinn Published 2017 by Atria Books A Division of Simon & Schuster Review by Steve Cooke


What A Great Idea.

For the first time, dog lovers can create a personalized hardcover storybook unique to their playful canine. “If My Dog Could Talk” by i see me! is whimsically illustrated with the dog’s name and unique personality. Select among twelve illustrated styles and five colors to create the character that closely resembles your dog. The dog’s name and the names of up to four family members (children, adults, other dogs) are included throughout the book. What a great way to remember a lost pet or celebrate a dog’s adoption. Perfect for a Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day or birthday gift. A personal message from you

and up to two photographs of the dog will appear in the book. The gift set includes a copy of the book, a personalized bandana and place mat. Create and order online from and be sure to include THE NEW BARKER.

Winter 2018 THE NEW BARKER 53

A Personalized Dog Book.

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