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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
Elizabeth George departs from her bestselling Inspector Lynley series with an intriguing new novel that, nonetheless, takes as its launching point the climactic scene from last year's Lynley-centered mystery With No One as Witness, in which the inspector's pregnant wife was inexplicably shot to death. The aptly titled What Came Before He Shot Her chronicles the sequence of tragic and heartrending events that led up to the murder.
Front and center in the drama are three effectively orphaned siblings, left on their aunt's North Kensington doorstep after their self-absorbed grandmother abandoned them and hightailed it for Jamaica. With a delinquent older sister who is well on her way to a lifetime of incarceration and a younger brother who would rather exist in his imaginary reality, 11-year old Joel has the weight of the world on his shoulders -- and does what he must to protect his family and himself…
Featuring children whose lives have been irrevocably destroyed by poverty, abandonment, and widespread social neglect, George's novel is eerily reminiscent of Charles Dickens's 1838 classic, Oliver Twist (Dickens is even referenced on the first page) -- only replacing the pickpockets and chimneysweeps of London's Victorian slums with gun-toting pushers, disease-ridden drug addicts, and underage prostitutes. While What Came Before He Shot Her may be a bit of a surprise to fans of the Thomas Lynley mysteries, this profoundly powerful novel will surely satisfy everyone who reads it. Paul Goat Allen