The Right Side

A Novel

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About The Book

In this "brilliant...deeply felt" (Stephen King) novel by the New York Times bestselling author of the Chet and Bernie mystery series, a deeply damaged female soldier home from the war in Afghanistan becomes obsessed with finding a missing girl, gains an unlikely ally in a stray dog, and encounters new perils beyond the combat zone.

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, her damaged psyche, her weakened body. Arriving in the rain-soaked small town in Washington State that Marci 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. This time she has a strange but loyal fellow traveler protecting her blind side.

Enthralling, suspenseful, and psychologically nuanced, The Right Side introduces one of the most unforgettable protagonists in modern fiction: isolated, broken, disillusioned—yet still seeking redemption and purpose. As Harlan Coben raves, this is "a great suspense novel, and so much more. You won't forget the heroic LeAnne Hogan—and the same goes for her dog! Not to be missed."

Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for The Right Side includes an introduction, discussion questions, and ideas for enhancing your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.

Introduction

In this riveting new novel by New York Times bestselling author Spencer Quinn, a traumatized veteran becomes obsessed with finding a missing girl, gains an unlikely ally in a stray dog, and encounters new perils beyond the combat zone.

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 embarks 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, her damaged psyche, and her weakened body. 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. Feeling a sense of duty to find Marci’s daughter, LeAnne and her inscrutable canine companion are drawn into danger as dark and menacing as her last Afghan mission. But this time she has a strange, loyal fellow traveler protecting her blind side.

Enthralling, suspenseful, and psychologically astute, The Right Side introduces one of the most unforgettable protagonists in modern fiction: isolated, broken, disillusioned—yet still seeking redemption and purpose—LeAnne takes hold of the reader and never lets go.

Topics & Questions for Discussion

1. From the opening pages, LeAnne is introduced as a tough woman who has some very real demons. Did your opinion of LeAnne change as the book progressed and you learned more about her past? If so, why?

2. It comes up more than once that LeAnne is not a “dog person.” What is it about this particular dog that makes LeAnne feel differently? How does their relationship progress over time?

3. What are the reasons for LeAnne to impulsively drive across the country to Bellville, Washington?

4. Do you think Marci and LeAnne would have been friends outside the hospital? Why or why not? Describe their relationship. In what ways does Marci influence LeAnne throughout the novel?

5. Although LeAnne is initially dismissive of her PTSD condition, she begins to come to terms with this diagnosis. What causes LeAnne to change her mind?

6. Describe LeAnne’s relationship with her family and how it affects her general outlook on the world. How did her father’s death shape her character?

7. Describe the book’s narrative style. How would you characterize it? How does it play into your perception of LeAnne, or influence your understanding of events?

8. How is LeAnne’s character revealed by her interactions with the people in Bellville? In what ways do Bellville’s citizens change LeAnne? Use specific examples to demonstrate your point.

9. Explain the significance of the title of the book. What is “the right side”? Why do you think the author decided on that as the title?

10. Why is LeAnne drawn to the missing child investigation? Do you think she would have stayed to investigate if it hadn’t been Marci’s child who was missing?

11. How do LeAnne’s literal battle scars affect the way she sees herself and her self-esteem?

12. What role does PTSD play in this book?

13. Discuss the structure of this book. What is the effect of alternating between LeAnne’s current life and her childhood? Did learning about LeAnne’s past help you better understand her current actions?

14. What did you make of LeAnne’s reunion with Katie at the end of the book? Were you surprised at her attitude toward Katie? Do you think justice was served or thwarted?

Enhance Your Book Club

1. Author Spencer Quinn is the New York Times bestselling author of the Chet and Bernie series. Read one of his other novels, then compare and contrast the two books? In what ways are they similar? How has Quinn’s writing style evolved?

2. Write an epilogue about what happens next for LeAnne. Share with the group, and explain why you came up with this specific set of events.

3. Read up on PTSD. How accurately do you think PTSD was portrayed in the novel? Discuss with the group.

4. Visit Spencer Quinn’s website at www.spencequinn.com to learn more about him and his books.

About The Author

Randi Baird

Spencer Quinn is the bestselling author of eight Chet and Bernie mystery series, as well as the #1 New York Times bestselling Bowser and Birdie series for middle-grade readers. He lives on Cape Cod with his wife Diana—and dogs Audrey and Pearl. Keep up with him by visiting SpenceQuinn.com.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Atria Books (July 2018)
  • Length: 336 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781501118418

Raves and Reviews

"Brilliant. Deeply felt, but totally under control. I loved it."

– Stephen King

"A great suspense novel, and so much more. You won't forget the heroic LeAnne Hogan -- and the same goes for her dog! Not to be missed."

– Harlan Coben

"Perfectly detailed...Quinn realistically depicts the way civilians fail to comprehend a warrior's mindset. The despondency of PTSD [is] portrayed with such brutal intensity...a psychological drama."

– Kirkus

"Read this book."

– The Bark Magazine

Resources and Downloads

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More books from this author: Spencer Quinn

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