The Right Side by Spencer Quinn, 323 pages (2017)
I've read and relished Spencer Quinn's Chet and Bernie mysteries, but I wasn't prepared for the mood switch in his newest book, The Right Side. LeAnne Hogan, a soldier who was badly hurt in a bombing in Afghanistan when she was nearing the end of her deployment, is struggling with her injuries, both physical and psychological. When the book opens, she is in full rebellion at Walter Reed VA Hospital, rejecting her prosthetic eye as well as her psychological consultations. It is an understatement to say that LeAnne is not lovable as she fights off everyone around her, unable to trust even her mother. Her abrasiveness repels me, but as she flees Walter Reed without telling anyone, her story is too compelling to put down.
Flashbacks ping us around in her life and include bits of her childhood, her athletic abilities, her acceptance into West Point, and her father's death. We bounce around in her head, feeling the post-traumatic stress as she tries to get a handle on where she is and what happened during her last assignment in Afghanistan. Along the way, a dog adheres to her, in spite of the fact that she is decidedly not a dog lover, as she travels across the country in an attempt to find the answers in her life.