Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Right Side

The Right Side by Spencer Quinn, 323 pages.
Spencer Quinn is the author of the "Chet and Bernie" mysteries,  stories that all apparently feature a dog helping the detective solve crime. That doesn't sound all that appealing to me, but after reading The Right Side, and after finding out that Spencer Quinn is a pseudonym for prolific author Peter Abrahams, I would be willing to give them a try. Abrahams has written a wide array of thrillers over the years and they almost never disappoint.
The main character in this novel is Afghan War vet LeAnne Hogan.  On her last tour, Sgt. Hogan had served with a CST, or Cultural Support Team. It's a real thing apparently, female soldiers work with special operations combat teams to "engage the female population in an objective area when such contact may be deemed culturally inappropriate if performed by a male servicemember." On Hagan's last mission, things went terribly wrong; her friend was killed and she was badly hurt. The book moves between Hagan's earlier life with her parents and her plans, her time in the Army, and then focuses on her PSTD-marred present. While trying to adjust to her circumstances, or maybe to find a way back to her pre-trauma self, Hagan flees Walter Reed Medical Center in Maryland and ends up in Washington state, at the home of a dead comrade. Along the way she finds a dog and solves a mystery (the book itself is not a mystery, but you can imagine the sequels with the angry soldier and her trusty canine helping out those in need), and both of these smaller plotlines add to the story. A good story with a compelling main character.

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