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Review: The Right Side by Spencer Quinn

Title: The Right Side
Author: Spencer Quinn
Year Published: 2017

Genre: Adult fiction
Pages: 323
Rating: 4 out of 5

Location (my 2017 Google Reading map): USA (WA)

FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book for review from the publisher via TLC Tours

Summary (from the back of the book): LeAnne Hogan went to Afghanistan as a rising star in the military, and came back a much lesser person, mentally and physically. 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 confused, 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 roommate, 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 and her damaged psyche. Arriving in the rain soaked small town in Washington state that Marci had called home, she makes a troubling 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 surprising 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 menacing as her last Afghan mission. Thsi time she has a strange but loyal fellow traveler protecting her blind side.
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Review: LeAnne is tough. Physically tough and emotionally tough. She was a gymnast, a pole vaulter, and soldier in Afghanistan where she survived a grenade attack in which she lost an eye. That would make anyone wary, untrusting and angry. Her anger made it difficult for me to like LeAnne for at least the first half of the book. She was mean to everyone she met from brief encounters to longer relationships. I guess I get that, but as a reader it made me not care about her. 

Then LeAnne got to Washington state where she connected with Marci's family. Marci was her roommate at Walter Reed Hospital for military personnel. LeAnne is adopted by a large dog at the same time and I think the dog really has a huge impact on how she feels. The dog makes sure she is always at LeAnne's side, the side with no eye. The dog is strong, protective, and no-nonsense; perfect for LeAnne. But the dog parts aren't gushy, which fits well.

When the book ends I am not totally sure that LeAnne is going to be okay. I wanted to know that she would return for follow-up appointments (both medical and therapy), but I am not sure that she will. I think she is definitely in a better place than at the beginning, but that the road to being "okay" is a long one. The book does a good job at letting the reader into the headspace of a veteran with PTSD and I think it's an important story to tell.

The publisher is doing a Rafflecopter giveaway which begins Tuesday, June 19 at midnight EST and ends at July 16, 2017. Good luck!

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