Right Behind You (FBI Profiler Series #7)

Right Behind You (FBI Profiler Series #7)

by Lisa Gardner

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Another twisty bestselling thriller from Lisa Gardner featuring Pierce Quincy and Rainie Conner as they take on a case that hits far too close to home.

Eight years ago, Sharlah May Nash's older brother beat their drunken father to death with a baseball bat in order to save both of their lives. Now thirteen years old, Sharlah has finally moved on. About to be adopted by retired FBI profiler Pierce Quincy and his partner, Rainie Conner, Sharlah loves one thing best about her new family: They are all experts on monsters.

Then the call comes in. A double murder at a local gas station, followed by reports of an armed suspect shooting his way through the wilds of Oregon. As Quincy and Rainie race to assist, they are forced to confront mounting evidence: The shooter may very well be Sharlah's older brother, Telly Ray Nash, and it appears his killing spree has only just begun.

As the clock winds down on a massive hunt for Telly, Quincy and Rainie must answer two critical questions: Why after eight years has this young man started killing again? And what does this mean for Sharlah? Once upon a time, Sharlah's big brother saved her life. Now, she has two questions of her own: Is her brother a hero or a killer? And how much will it cost her new family before they learn the final, shattering truth? Because as Sharlah knows all too well, the biggest danger is the one standing right behind you.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780698411432
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 01/31/2017
Series: FBI Profiler Series , #7
Sold by: Penguin Group
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 11,247
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Lisa Gardner is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of twenty novels, including Look For MeRight Behind You, Find Her, Crash & BurnFear NothingTouch & GoCatch Me, and The Neighbor, which won the International Thriller of the Year Award. She lives with her family in New England.

Read an Excerpt

***This excerpt is from an advanced uncorrected copy proof***

Copyright © 2017 Lisa Gardner

Had a family once.

Father. Mother. Sister. Lived in our very own double-wide. Brown shag carpet. Dirty gold countertops. Peeling linoleum floors. Used to race my Hot Wheels down those food-splattered counter tops, double-loop through ramps of curling linoleum, then land in gritty piles of shag. Place was definitely a shit hole. But being a kid, I called it home.

Mornings, wolfing down Cheerios, watching Scooby-Doo without any volume so I wouldn’t wake the ’rents. Getting my baby sister up, ready for school. Both of us staggering out the front door, backpacks nearly busting with books.

Important to read. Someone told me that. Mom, Dad, grandparent, teacher? Don’t remember now, but somewhere I got the message. Book a day. Like an apple. So after school I headed off to the library, sister still in tow. Read some books, ’cause God knows we didn’t have any fruit.

I liked Choose Your Own Adventures. Each scene had a cliffhanger ending, where you had to decide what would happen next. Turn left in the forbidden temple or turn right? Pick up the cursed treasure or walk on by? In the Choose Your Own Adventure books, you were always the one in control.

Then I’d read Clifford the Big Red Dog to my little sis. Not old enough to read yet, she’d point and laugh at the pictures.

Sometimes, the librarian would sneak us snacks. She’d say stuff like, Someone left behind their bag of chips. Would you like them? I’d say, Nah. She’d say, Go on, better you than me. Potato chips aren’t good for my girlish figure.

Eventually my sister would grab the chips, eyes greedy. She was always hungry back then. We both were.

After library, home.

Sooner or later, always had to go home.

My mom had this smile. When she was in the right mood, having a “good day,” oh, that smile. She’d ruffle my hair. Call me her little man. Say how proud she was of me. And hug me. Big, strong hugs, envelopes of cigarette smoke and cheap perfume. I loved that smell. I loved the days my mother smiled.

Sometimes, if things were going really well, she’d fix dinner. Spaghetti noodles with ketchup—that’ll leave a stain, she’d cry gaily, slurping up noodles. Ramen noodles with scrambled eggs—dinner for fifteen cents, now we’re living the dream, she’d declare. Or my favorite, Kraft macaroni and cheese—it’s the nuclear orange color that makes it special, she’d whisper.

My little sister would giggle. She liked my mother in this mood. Who wouldn’t?

Dad was usually at work. Bringing home the bacon. When he had a job. Gas station attendant. Night clerk. Warehouse stocker.

Stay in school, he’d tell me, afternoons when we came home in time to watch him button up yet another grimy uniform. Fucking real world, he’d tell me. Fucking bosses.

Then off he’d go. And my mom would appear from the hazy cloud of their bedroom to start dinner. Or the door would never open, and I’d get out a can opener instead. Chef Boyardee. Campbell’s soup. Baked beans.

My sister and I didn’t talk those nights. We ate in silence. Then I’d read her more Clifford, or maybe we’d play Go Fish. Quiet games for quiet kids. My sister would fall asleep on the sofa. Then I’d pick her up, carry her off to bed.


“Sorry,” she’d say sleepily, though neither of us knew what she was apologizing for.

Had a family once. Father. Mother. Sister.

But then the father worked less and less and drank more and more. And the mother . . . Dunno. Drugs, booze, her own foggy mind? Parental units appeared less and less to cook, clean, work. More and more to fight, scream, yell. Mom, hurling plastic plates across the kitchen. Dad, punching a hole through the cheap drywall. Then both would guzzle more vodka and do the whole thing all over again.

Sister took to sleeping in my room, while I sat by the door. ’Cause sometimes, the parents had guests over. Other boozers, druggies, losers. Then all bets were off. Three, four, five in the morning. Locked doorknob rattling, strange voices crooning, “Hey, little kids, come out and play with us. . . .”

My sister didn’t giggle anymore. She slept with the light on, ragged copy of Clifford clutched in her hands.

While I kept watch with a baseball bat balanced across my knees. Then, morning. House finally quiet. Strangers passed out on the floor. As we crept around them, stealing into the kitchen for the Cheerios box, then grabbing our backpacks and tiptoeing out the door.

Rinse, spin, repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Had a family once.

But then the father drank or shot up or snorted too much. And the mom—envelopes of cigarette smoke and cheap perfume—started to scream and scream and scream. While my sister and I watched wide-eyed from the sofa.

“Shut up, shut up, shut up,” the father yelled. Scream. Scream. Scream.

“Fucking bitch! What’s wrong with you?” Scream. Scream. Scream.

“I said, SHUT UP!”

Kitchen knife. Big one. Butcher knife, like from a slasher film. Did she grab it? Did he? Don’t remember who had it first. Can only tell you who had it last.

My father. Raising the knife up. Bringing the knife down. Then my mother wasn’t screaming anymore.


My father, turning to my sister and me. Bloody knife, drip, drip, drip. And I knew then, what he’d do next.

“Run,” I told my little sister as I dragged her off the sofa, shoved her toward the hall.

The shag carpet slowed him down. But the peeling linoleum tripped us up. As we raced through the double-wide, silent in our terror, I passed my sister, scooped her up, little legs still churning through the air.

I could hear him, right behind me. I could feel his breath on my neck, already picture the blade slicing between my bony shoulder blades. I threw my sister into my bedroom.

“Lock the door!”

Then sprinting down the hall, my father and his bloody knife close behind.

I bolted into my parents’ bedroom. Leapt onto the bed. “Fucking kid. Stay still, stay still, stay still.”

Knife going up, knife going down. Shredding the bedding. Tearing into the mattress.

I jumped down the other side. Grabbed anything I could find from the top of the bureau. Empty wine bottles, beer cans, perfume. Hurled them into my father’s beet-red face.

“Shit shit shit.”

Then, as he staggered, I jumped back over the bed, whirling around him. I heard the slash of the knife. Felt the burning pain in my shoulder. But then I was clear, hammering down the hall. If I could make it out the front door, into the yard, cry for the neighbors . . .

And leave my little sister behind?

Then she was there. Standing in my bedroom doorway. Holding out the baseball bat.

I didn’t hesitate. I grabbed the wooden bat. I raced into the family room, turning at the last second, assuming the proper stance.

My father. Wild eyes. Flushed face. Lights on, I thought, but no one home.

He raised the bloody knife.

I swung with all my might. Felt the connection, a solid, wet smack, as I knocked it out of the park. My father, falling down, down, down, knife dropping into the carpet.

And still I swung the bat. Bam. Bam. Bam. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

My little sister, suddenly appearing beside me. “Telly, Telly, Telly.”

Myself, looking up. Wild eyes. Flushed face. Lights on but no one home.

“Telly!” my baby sister cried one last time. As I lifted the bat. Had a family.



Sheriff Shelly Atkins wasn’t supposed to be in the law enforcement business anymore. Ten years after a fire had left her torso and upper shoulder a ropey mess of scars, not to mention ruined her hip, she’d hung up her hat, so to speak. Taking up an anonymous benefactor’s offer of a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Paris (retired FBI agent Pierce Quincy, she remained certain), she’d initially salved her

wounds with French crepes, French wine, and French museums.

Then she came home. Set herself up with a steady schedule of walking the beach, hiking the woods, keeping herself busy. Her replaced hip did best when in motion, the soreness of an active day far better than the knifing ache of idleness. And roaming the great outdoors, she was less likely to remember. A woman with her number of scars was definitely best off not remembering.

Then two years ago, the sitting county sheriff, an outsider whom the locals had never quite taken to, had resigned abruptly. Some whispers of impropriety, but nothing the DA could prove. Either way, the county found itself sheriff-less. And Shelly . . .

She wasn’t a beautiful woman. Not even pretty, and that was before the fire had turned half her body into a Picasso painting. She had the solid build of a plow horse and the kind of no-nonsense face that invited men to talk to her at bars while still eyeing the prettier girl three seats down.

She had no family, no children, not even a pet goldfish, because she was never entirely certain she wouldn’t take off again.

Basically, eight years after the fire had nearly killed her, Shelly had managed to add nothing and no one to her life. Mostly, she missed her job like hell. Not to mention the people she’d once worked with.

So she’d run for sheriff. And given that she was still remembered as something of a hometown hero for saving a federal agent from that fire, the locals had enthusiastically voted her back into office, bum hip, scarred torso, and all.

Which meant, Shelly reminded herself now as she drove, lights flashing, that she had only herself to blame. A report of shots fired this time of year? Not good for the local sheriff, nor the business leaders who counted on the quaint coastal town’s sleepy reputation to remain, well, sleepy.

Hour was still early, just after eight, which argued for either cranky good old boys who were still half-skunked from their excesses the night before, or disillusioned tourists who’d finally figured out that camping in a heat wave wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. Normally, August in these parts wasn’t so bad, especially with the ocean breeze helping keep temperatures reasonable. But the mercury had been topping a hundred for the past five days and bringing tempers with it.

In a rural community of five thousand, where the number of guns probably did outnumber the total population, maybe a report of shots fired had been only a matter of time. Dispatch had provided the address, a gas station/convenience store at the edge of town, and Shelly had personally taken charge. Both her deputies had already logged overtime working the normal summertime nuisance calls, so she felt it was the least she could do. And while she wasn’t happy about gunshots in her town, she wasn’t terribly concerned. Overall, Bakersville, Oregon, was most famous for its cheese, trees, and ocean breeze. Sure, it also had a growing meth problem, but policing in these parts was hardly big-city stress.

Headed north, having already made it through the blink-or-you’ll-miss-it downtown, Shelly was approaching the county’s biggest claim to fame: the cheese factory. Even with lights flashing, she had to blare her horn to weave her way through the thick line of RVs and campers already stacked up, waiting to turn into the parking lot. Given the already hotter-than-hell morning, most of the tourists were probably planning on ice cream for breakfast. When she completed this call, Shelly might join them. Community policing. Eat ice cream, mingle with locals. Sounded like a plan to her.

North of the factory, traffic died down and Shelly picked up speed. Road was narrower here, winding through sharp bends as it twisted its way along the rocky coast. Then, five miles after a turn-in for yet another campground, Shelly arrived at her location: the EZ Gas.

Shelly swung in, killing the lights while appraising the scene. She saw one truck parked in front of the twin gas pumps, a battered Ford that had seen better days. Otherwise the place appeared quiet. Shelly got on her radio, alerted dispatch that she’d arrived. Then, picking up her broad-brimmed hat from the seat beside her, she placed it on her head and climbed out of her white sheriff’s SUV.

First thing that struck her: the absence of sound. That, much as anything, set her nerves on edge. In a hot hazy August, when the local businesses were as busy as they were gonna get, the quiet here . . . It wasn’t a good kind of quiet. Shelly’s hand went to her holster. She automatically shifted her stance sideways, making herself less of a target, as she approached the front of the worn-looking convenience store.

Smell hit her next. Coppery, thick. An odor even a small-town sheriff knew better than she would’ve liked.

The faded red pickup, midnineties, was to her left, the open glass door to the small convenience store to her right. Shelly paused, considering. Vehicle appeared unoccupied, which left the store as the main area of concern. She moved closer to the exterior wall, bottom half blocked by giant coolers of ice, upper windows plastered with various posters advertising cheap beer. Hand still on her holster, she tucked herself beside the ice coolers and peered through the open door.

Nothing to see. And again, nothing to hear. Not the ring of the cash register. Not the murmur of voices as the clerk rang up the sale from the truck owner. Just that smell. Thick and pungent in sweltering August heat.

Then, a sound did reach her ears: soft, steady. The drone of flies. Lots and lots of flies.

Shelly knew then what she’d be finding inside.

Customer Reviews

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Right Behind You 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 39 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Another one that you don't want to stop reading . Can't wait for the next book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kept me guessing to the end. One of my favorite authors. Can't wait for next book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As always a great book i have always followed the profiler series and hope there will be more
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good read. Takes a surprise turn near the end. Lisa Gardner is an excellent mystery writer. Does her homework and provides believable characters and plot.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lisa Gardner Never fails
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I waited a long time for Quincy and Rainie to return. So happy to see them return. Great book.
GratefulGrandma More than 1 year ago
Eight years ago, nine year old Telly Ray Nash beat his father to death with a baseball bat. After stabbing their mother, their father came after Telly and his five year old sister Sharlah May. He defended them, and changed their lives forever. Telly and Sharlah haven't had contact since that day, placed into different foster homes and leading different lives. Sharlah now lives with Quincy and Rainie. She adores her dog Luka, a retired police dog,who is always by her side. Telly is almost ready to age out of the system as an adult and his most foster parents are kind but their focus is on preparing him to live alone. When there is a double murder at a small convenience story, Quincy and Rainie are called in. When Telly is seen on camera at the sight of the double murder and his foster parents are found shot in their bedroom, the manhunt is on. Can Quincy and Rainie protect Sharlah? Can they find him and put a stop to the killings? This is the 7th Qunicy and Rainie book, but you do not have to have read the others, this is a great stand alone book as well. This is a well written thriller. Just when you think you know what is going on, there is a twist and you are taken on a ride. The characters of Sharlah and Telly are complicated and as the story unravels you get to know them and their past experiences. The story is told by Sharlah and Telly, with Telly's side being told as his memories leading up to the events. Even though Telly and Sharlah have no contact since the incident eight years earlier, the bond they had as sister and brother is still strong and leads them into dangerous situations. The suspense in this book kept me reading long after I should have put it down for bed because I could not wait to read what happened next. A great addition to this series by Lisa Gardner.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A must read. Very sorry it ended!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Glad to have Quincy and Rainie back
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lisa Gardner always delivers!! She takes you on a journey that you have clues, yet no solid information on where the story is heading. It's a wild ride, unable-to-put-down read, every time!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She has written so many wonderful suspense, mystery books. I have especially loved all of them in the FBI profiler series. They are action packed, scary, keep you guessing, creepy, and great mysteries. This book wasnt bad but it was more slower paced and emotional compared to the rest. I didnt really care enough to wonder who did it or what the motives were. Sharlahs character wasnt too captivating and she was predictable. I even thought Quincy was boring. I did like Telly though. Altogether it wasnt a terrible book..but if you want scary and edge of your seat skip it. It wasnt worth the $9.99.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love all the twists and turns!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read and loved every book by this author and this book is no exception. Well written, fast paced, can't put it down kinda book.
literarymuseVC More than 1 year ago
Telly Ray Nash and his sister Sharlah have been brutalized by their father for years. One night Telly has had enough and takes a baseball bat to his father, killing him and even using the bat on his sister Sharlah. The siblings are then separated and are trying to put their lives together with families who actually want to adopt them. One day, however, Telly kills both of his foster parents and wanders off to commit more murder. Sharlah learns about this from her own foster parents, Quincy and Rainie, who are worried sick that her brother will come after to finish off what he began several years earlier. Quincy and Rainie are former FBI profilers and so they know something of what can be predicted. The novel then concerns the search for Telly who is on the run. The author takes the reader into the mind of Telly and Sharlah as the search continues. The two victims haven’t really pieced together why their violent background unfolded. Sharlah can’t figure out why her brother turned the bat on her after he finished his rampage on his abusive father. Both deeply know fear, hate, and love, experiences that don’t make sense, as well as the care their foster parents are unconditionally offering them. It’s just such a chaotic mental and emotional mess in their minds! Don’t quit reading because the story enfolds in ways that are imagined by the reader. Resist the temptation to stereotypically categorize Telly as a wounded killer gone berserk. There’s far more to this story worth the telling. Lisa Gardner is a wonderful storyteller who knows how to pace action and tension that keeps the reader riveted to the plot and caring about the characters involved in this nightmarish search and its aftermath. Well-plotted with multiple characters worth rooting for to come out of their nightmarish experience!
KrittersRamblings More than 1 year ago
Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings To start, this is the 7th in a series and I started this series with this book, so I don't know the history of Quincy and Rainie, but as far as I know, this was a fine way to start. I was clueless about their history throughout the read, but I did know I was jumping into this series midway and as most detective thriller series you can jump in and out because the who dun it is self contained, but the reader could miss some backstory of the detectives that won't affect the who dun it but affects the story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As uaual all her books are good
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good story line, kept my attention with a bit of a surprise ending
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have loved and cherished all of the FBI profiler books, and it's been so long last one. I was so excited when I learned that there was to be a new one. little did i that I know how disappointed I would be. I had to struggle through finishing this book just for the sake of loyalty. There was hardly any action. Honestly it was quite boring. Lisa Garnder can do so much better.
LauraMHartman More than 1 year ago
DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy for free from the publisher in connection with NetGalley in return for my review. Copyright © 2017 Laura Hartman Lisa Gardner’s beloved characters, Rainie and Quincy are back in action. This time it is personal. Of all the unlikely couples in the world to adopt a troubled girl, it is them. They fostered her after she bounced from home to home. She didn’t seem to fit anywhere, most likely due to her past. Now she could be targeted by a killer. Sharlah has had a rough start in life. Daughter of alcoholic/drug addict parents, she was raised by her brother. He was only a few years older than she was when he had to take charge of her wellbeing. He fed her; made sure she got to school on time and protected her. Even when he had to use deadly force, he did what he had to do to keep her safe. It has been years since they have seen each other. Sharlah doesn’t let anyone get close to her since the night her parents died which was the last day she saw her beloved brother. The only breathing thing she has let herself get close to is Luka. A year after arriving at Rainie and Quincy’s as a foster child, he brought the retired police dog home to Sharlah. She and Luka are inseparable and the love they have for each other is evident. Sharlah loves her foster (soon to be adoptive parents) but has a much harder time showing them the affection that comes easy for her with Luka. Then the fragile world they have created begins to cave in. Sharlah’s brother Telly Ray Nash could be in trouble. Serious trouble. Trouble so serious that the local authorities have called in Quincy to help find Telly even though he is a retired FBI profiler. Rainie and Quincy are both concerned for the safety of the community and even more concerned for Sharlah. They can only hope he isn’t coming for Sharlah next. Right Behind You is action packed with twists and turns that surprised me until the very end. Just when I thought I had this fast-paced novel figured out, a new wrinkle in the plot would take me down a different path. It was a fabulous read for any suspense lover. Her characters are so real I expect to see some of them on the street. The setting was familiar due to my travels in the Northwest, I especially loved the reference to the cheese factory as I’ve been there several times just like the tourists in the story. Lisa Gardner never fails to deliver, and this book is no exception. It is obvious to see that she has earned the crown as the #1 best-selling New York Times author of suspense. This is the eighth novel in her FBI Profiler Series. I have read a few of them, as well as several of her other books. Her books intrigue and entertain, if you haven’t read her novels, Right Behind You will make you an instant fan.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great page turner.