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review 2017-01-31 20:25
Right Behind You
Right Behind You - Lisa Gardner

By: Lisa Gardner

Quincy & Rainie, #7 

ISBN: 978-0525954583​

Publisher: Dutton 

Publication Date: 1/31/2017 

Format: Other 

My Rating: 5 Stars + +


Psychologically rich. Meticulously researched. Thought-provoking. Edge-of-your-seat thriller. Emotional. Gripping. Suspenseful. Gardner’s Best Yet! Top Books of 2017. 5 Stars +++

The "queen" of crime thrillers, Lisa Gardner returns to Bakersville, Oregon, following Find Her (2016) and the latest tantalizing prequel teaser: The 4th Man (Quincy & Rainie #6.5) with RIGHT BEHIND YOU — with fan favorites, highly anticipated retired FBI profiler and former police officer Quincy & Rainie dynamic duo: A heart-pounding, emotional, and gripping suspense crime thriller.

Fans will devour. Humans are complex. Hearts will go out to this brother and sister duo. Professional and personal lives connect. Where nothing is as it appears.

"Had a family once. Father. Mothers. Sister. Lived in our very own double-wide."

The opening takes us to a scene of domestic violence, abuse, and neglect. Two siblings. A brother and a younger sister. A brutal murder. A troubled past. Childhood trauma.

Flash forward years later, we catch up with Quincy and Rainie, retired FBI agent and former police officer, called in on a case, working with the local authorities in Oregon.

With the past books, Quincy was an FBI profiler and met Rainie, a deputy in Bakersville while working on a school shooting case. Now, both retired, they work together consulting on cold cases, or murders outside the police department’s norm.

They are experts in monsters. Homes can be broken. Can the members be mended by the love of others?

When Sharlah (5) and Telly (9) spent day and night trying to escape the violence of their parents- subjected to the unspeakable. Not a life, for an innocent and helpless boy and girl. There was no one to protect them from harm. The kids had to fend for themselves.

One night things get heated and the father tries to kill them. Telly comes to his sister’s rescue and the parents are murdered. They wind up in foster care separated.

Of course, Sharlah knows all too well about monsters. Her parents are dead, with no surviving relatives. Just a brother, four years older than her. She has not seen or heard from him since. She was very young and does not remember a lot about the night her parents died. No one talks about her brother. She has post-traumatic stress, and continues to go to therapy.

She had come to Rainie and Quincy with a case history of antisocial tendencies. They had qualified as foster parents despite Quincy's advanced years, and Rainie's continued struggle with alcohol. They plan on adoption. There is always a pull here with three different personalities.

Quincy was considered an expert in bonding. Sharlah was not easy. She was a lost girl. Broken. One who had been subjected to hardship and violence and had built the corresponding protective layers. She did not trust easily, nor reach out, with a lack of faith. However, she bonded with their dog, Luka. They were inseparable.

She was broken inside. Sharlah had been in their home for three years and they were close to adoption. She respects her soon to be parents and the work they do. However, she does not realize, nor do they, how she is connected to the case. The meaning of family. Everyone involved is part of this family unit.

Quincy is the quiet one; and Rainie, the emotional one. Sharlah really loves them, but not quite sure how to express her feelings. She has her guard up all the time. She knows they are experts in monsters, like herself. If you have read the other books in the series, you know the difficult journey this couple has traveled.

They are giving back by being foster parents to teenage daughter Sharlah, and their dog Luka. Luka is a former police officer. A trained member of law enforcement. He had to retire at five with a bum knee and not strong enough for active duty. Quincy got him for a cop friend and now he is Sharlah’s best friend. She was ten when she arrived in their home and had already been placed in many others.

We also meet Shelly the local small town Sherriff and fugitive tracker, Cal - nice added characters. There has been a shooting at the EZ Gas station in Bakersville, a backwoods town between Portland and Salem. Three victims. Multiple gun shots. A killer is on the loose.

They soon discover as the investigation is underway; there is a foster teen boy, who appears to be the perpetrator on a shooting spree. Why? What set him off? Could it possibly be Sharlah’s brother? The evidence is pointing his way.

He had been so good with his little sister, had read to her, taken her to the library and caring for her needs. Protecting her. However, upon their parent’s death, the siblings had been separated.

Quincy and Rainie fear for their daughter. Is Telly out to harm her? Where will he strike next? A psychotic break. A killer on the loose?

However, has Telly, the brother really killed his foster parents and the victims at the gas station? Or is it someone else? Why does he have photos of Sharlah?

As Quincy and Rainie fear for the safety of their own family and Sharlah, they also must dig deeper to understand what really happened all those years ago, at the murder scene to make sense of the events unfolding in the present.

The brother and sister duo have not seen or heard from one another for eight years. Why now? Did Sharlah have her own memories hidden away? Does she remember what went down that night so long ago? Is a brother trying to protect his sister, still today, after all these years?

One more person to kill. Secrets. Family is about trust.

The suspense builds as Gardner takes you back to the trailer, to the night it all began. The innocent lives of two young siblings and the painful cruel hand they were dealt. From tragedy, loss, pain, and trauma, to love, loyalty, and deep connections.

INTENSE! The author grabs you from page one (grabbed me with the preview included in The 4th Man) and never lets go, not even for a second. I knew I had to read this story. It is a "read in one sitting" kind of suspense. Psychologically rich, one of the best crime thrillers I have read this year. In addition, a vivid portrayal of the foster care system and the impact of both parents, and children have on one another.

With meticulous research and skillful crafting, Gardner combines law enforcement, profiling, cop procedures, domestic violence, foster care, social issues, juvenile system, adoption, alcoholism, at-risk kids, addiction, spree killing, fugitive tracking, crime, mystery, and suspense. It has it ALL.

In addition, to being a huge Quincy and Rainie and Gardner fan, (quickly going back to buy the previous audiobooks, to catch up); loved the relationship between Telly and Sharlah, and my favorite was the twist with Sandra and Frank (Telly’s foster parents), Sandra’s intriguing past and her relationship with Telly. Highly creative as the two families are intertwined. And let’s not forget the skill and love of a loyal dog.

Buy RIGHT BEHIND YOU, today! Gardner pulls out all the stops. Cannot wait for the next. Here’s hoping for more Quincy, Rainie, Telly and Sharlah. Gardner can flat out write complex crime, and spin a tale, like no one else.

A special thank you to Dutton and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.


"Right Behind You" continues one of Gardner's frequent themes: that danger often lies close to home.



By Amy Wang | The Oregonian/OregonLive (Great interview).

Gardner's next book will be a follow-up to her 2016 hit "Find Her," part of her Detective D.D. Warren series and a return engagement for her character Flora Dane. "I'm working on a novel now where a family has been murdered but, to be different, the 16-year-old daughter is missing," Gardner said.

The question the police must answer is whether the girl was involved in the crime or was kidnapped. Fans can once again nominate themselves or a loved one to appear in the book by entering Gardner's Kill a Friend, Maim a Buddy Sweepstakes. Read More

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2016/11/01/Right-Behind-You
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review 2017-01-03 05:40
The 4th Man
The 4th Man: An FBI Profiler / Detective D. D. Warren Story - Lisa Gardner

By: Lisa Gardner

Series: Quincy & Rainie, #6.5 

Short Story 

ISBN: 9781101986325

Publisher: Dutton 

Publication Date: 12/27/2016

Format: e-book 

My Rating:  5 Stars 


The "queen" of crime thrillers, Lisa Gardner returns following Find Her(2016) with a tantalizing mystery suspense short story, with an un·be·liev·a·ble killer twist:

THE 4TH MAN (Quincy & Rainie #6.5) with a preview of the upcoming highly anticipated Right Behind You, which will leave you salivating, and rushing to pre-order.

Boston Homicide Detective DD Warren has inherited a cold case and FBI Profiler, Pierce Quincy and his partner wife, Rainie Connor, have flown in from Oregon to assist with the case. (love this duo)!

A ten-year-old case of a young woman murdered at the university library, in the stairwell. Manual strangulation. No signs of struggle, no evidence of sexual assault. Non-violence. Not a single print, hair, thread, speck of dirt,or swab of DNA to be recovered.

The only detail out of place; she’d been missing her shoes. A pair of dirty white Keds, which per her family, she purchased the year before for less than twenty bucks. They were never recovered from the crime scene.

There was a guard on duty for the evening, plus one for the graveyard shift. The students used an electronic access system to enter the library. However, the students could also bring guests with them. These were to be manually logged in by the guard under the student’s ID.

Over the course of the years, they did not have these guest’s names and the original investigators had dropped the ball. From a list of over sixty possible murder suspects, with ten years to run and hide, the person could be clever or cold. Rainie and Quincy’s job was to push buttons of the prime suspects. (They remind me of The Mentalist ), one of my favorites. Observant. Intuitive. Sharp.

The beautiful honor student, Jaylin Banks had whispered conversations and phone calls, as well as canceled meetings leading up to the night of her murder. A smart girl dating a bad boy. Sweet and introverted.

Suspect #1: James Duchovny, the boyfriend at the time. Binge drinking, a bully, hoodlum, explosive temper, violence and a rap sheet. He had been 22 yrs. Of age at the time of the murder. A jealous rage?

Suspect #2: Dennis Ringham, early thirties; one of the two security guards working on the night in question- the university’s rent-a-cop. Someone who wanted a uniform but couldn’t have one.

Suspect #3: Laurel Santana, a professional security guard, working the graveyard shift. Married with a baby. The wild card. He had been the one to find the body. He came on at 11:50 pm.

There had also been a mysterious older female visitor. A secret meeting? Who was The 4th Man? Did someone come back or stay behind?

James and Jaylin were supposed to meet at the library and go out afterward. Her paper was not finished. He had told the security guard she was on the second floor and to keep an eye out for her. She said she needed an extra hour and would meet him at the bar.

Did he return to the library later? Whoever killed her had to be someone already inside the library. Someone with access to the library.

A student, a guest, or a security guard? A 4th Man. Motive? Obsession?

A classic closed-room murder, based on a true story—Lisa Gardner once again delivers an intriguing crime thriller with characters’ reader's love. The investigators prevailed, identifying the perp and finding justice in a case where the truth truly is stranger than fiction.

As always, Gardner has the perfect combo and all the essentials: Setting, a perpetrator, an alibi, a suspect, a victim, a puzzle, evidence, a motive, a detective or sleuth, a clue, a plot, and a finally, a breakthrough.

Lisa Gardner and Karin Slaughter always deliver the best novellas!

A killer teaser, with a bonus preview of more "real-life inspired "suspense,Right Behind You, where we continue with an unstoppable team; Quincy and Rainie as they take on a spree killer with the help of their foster daughter and an expert in fugitive tracking.

The novella is worth the read to get the preview of the real deal. Trust me, it is extraordinary. Was fortunate to have received an early reading copy (1/31/17) - Right Behind You (review forthcoming) is one of Gardner’s best yet! Jaw-dropping, spine-tingling . .

“Had a family once. Father. Mother. Sister. Lived in our very own double-wide.” . . . .

A special thank you to Dutton and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.



Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2016/11/01/The-4th-Man
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text 2015-09-15 05:00
Interview with Michael Ransom, author of "The Ripper Gene"!
The Ripper Gene: A Novel - Michael Ransom

About The Ripper Gene:


A neuroscientist-turned-FBI-profiler discovers a genetic signature that produces psychopaths in The Ripper Gene, a thrilling debut novel from Michael Ransom.

Dr. Lucas Madden is a neuroscientist-turned-FBI profiler who first gained global recognition for cloning the ripper gene and showing its dysfunction in the brains of psychopaths. Later, as an FBI profiler, Madden achieved further notoriety by sequencing the DNA of the world's most notorious serial killers and proposing a controversial "damnation algorithm" that could predict serial killer behavior using DNA alone.

Now, a new murderer-the Snow White Killer-is terrorizing women in the Mississippi Delta. When Mara Bliss, Madden's former fiancée, is kidnapped, he must track down a killer who is always two steps ahead of him. Only by entering the killer's mind will Madden ultimately understand the twisted and terrifying rationale behind the murders-and have a chance at ending the psychopath's reign of terror.


Interview with Michael Ransom:


  • Knowing your scientific background before reading your book, I had thought there might be parts that would be over my head.  I was very impressed with the clarity and simplicity of your scientific explanations.  Was it difficult for you to tone it down for the general public?


Thank you! No, it’s not difficult.  I do tend to include more information than necessary in earlier drafts, but that’s just because I’m working through exactly how the science might work in my own mind.  Once I know how it works out in the novel, I’m able to go back and rewrite the scientific explanation passages down to the bare bones necessary to educate the reader while still keeping the pace moving at a good clip.  I’ve been asked this in several interviews now and I usually just refer to the fact that I’m a professor at Penn and enjoy teaching genetics and genomics to entry level graduate students there… so in all honesty I’m accustomed to going back to basics to explain the science in this field.


  • You’ve written numerous scientific books and articles.  How difficult was it to change that style of writing into a creative thriller?


Well, I don’t find it difficult at all because I’ve learned to write in both ways.  I think it’s now harder for me to write scientifically, because then you have to be very succinct and to the point, sort of “just the facts” if you will.  It’s different of course with fiction, where you can be a bit more baroque and descriptive.  So it’s actually more difficult to go back to writing science and keeping my summaries as succinct as possible. I’d rather have the freedom to express exactly what I want to say in however many words I want, but that’s just not acceptable in scientific communication.


  • The first chapter of The Ripper Gene is completely engrossing and chilling.  I read that it’s based on an incident from your childhood.  Can you tell us more about that?


Yes- it comes from a single Halloween night I experienced when I was about the same age as the young version of Lucas in the novel.  My mother was driving us children around in the back roads of Mississippi for trick-or-treating and she came up on several teenaged boys stumbling about in the middle of the gravel road in the dark forest. I never forget how they looked in the headlights, with blood all over their shirts and jeans.  My mother, being a no-nonsense sort of lady, simply floored it and drove to the next neighbor’s house and called the police from there…which is a big, boring departure from the tragic prologue I created based on my memory of that night.  But I’m glad things worked out and that my mother’s still with us, all these years later!


  • The question “is a serial killer made or born?” is raised in your book.  You’ve been quoted to say “Many studies now suggest that a significant portion of an individual’s tendency to exhibit anti-social behavior is inherited.  In other words, it’s in our genes”.  Do you believe that our genetic inheritance overrides free will?


No, I personally don’t believe that one’s genetics can “over-ride” free will completely.  But what I do believe is that our genetic inheritance can “modify” our individual capabilities to control aggression, to respond in fear or flight, and other capacities that seem to roll-up into the decisions that influence what we know as “free-will”.  And that, in and of itself, is enough to make me really question whether everyone is created equal or not.  Not equal in terms of their right to a life of freedom (everyone is), but equal with respect to their ability to choose right from wrong. And I think that question frames an interesting and important societal discussion that will only continue to grow as we sequence more genomes on the planet in the coming decades.


  • How much truth is there in The Ripper Gene and the Damnation Algorithm?  Are they a possibility or does some similar form actually exist or did you take some literary license?


The scientific premise for The Ripper Gene is actually a real-life gene known as monoamine oxidase A, abbreviated MAO-A, which is also known as the “warrior gene”.  It was identified as being mutated in a family of individuals with behavioral issues like hyper-aggression and other deficits.  Most studies (not all, but most) have now shown a link between MAO-A genotype and antisocial behavior in the context of childhood maltreatment.  That is, if two groups of children, some who have normal copies of MAO-A, and others who have mutated versions of MAO-A, are all raised in abusive homes… studies have shown that children with mutated versions of MAO-A will typically have a higher incident of aggression, antisocial behavior, and criminalization. 


So while there’s a “warrior gene”, to date at least, there’s no analogous “ripper gene” in the sense that no similar gene has been identified as more frequently altered in serial killers. And there’s no scientific equivalent of a damnation algorithm (a group of genes that when analyzed together would indicate higher likelihood of a serial killer phenotype).  But I don’t know if the appropriately sized genetic and genomic studies have been performed yet, to determine if there are or are not significant differences in certain genetic loci between highly psychopathic individuals and the control population.  With more sophisticated techniques that allow us to look at features of the human genome that we’ve previously ignored, we may find differences.  We’ll have to wait and see.


  • The way you insert the scientific facts into your novel without slowing down the fast-moving plot at all is admirable.  Are there certain writing techniques that you use to accomplish that?


There’s one technique that I use which is pretty standard.  Whenever there’s a particularly important but complex concept that needs to be used or referenced in the novel, I’ve found it helpful to insert an extra character into the scene.  That individual wouldn’t normally need to be present for the action to take place, but having them there means the main character needs to “explain” what they’re doing to the additional character.  That way, the break in the story where your main character “explains” what they’re doing or how something works seems believable and doesn’t interfere with the pace because the explanation occurs organically through dialogue which, if written crisply enough, doesn’t tend to slow the pace too much.


  • You’ve written a very intelligent, thought-provoking work of literature that at first glimpse seems to be a typical thriller but there is much more buried beneath.  Yet this is your first novel.  It’s hard to believe that writing scientific papers would prepare you to produce this caliber of work.  What do you attribute your literary skill to? 


My father is a writer so it’s probably genetic. Beyond that I would mainly credit the creative writing program at the University of Idaho.  I did take a creative writing class or two during my undergraduate career but after I graduated college and decided against going to medical school, I didn’t know what I wanted to do in life. My parents had moved to Idaho so I moved to their hometown, took a job at the University of Idaho as an analytical chemist and then, as a university staff member, was able to audit one course a semester.  So for nine semesters (fall, spring and summer) I essentially took graduate level creative writing courses there.  Most of them were in poetry, but the last one or two were in fiction writing and they had a profound effect on me.  Even though I went on to graduate school at Penn in the biomedical sciences, the foundation for fiction writing had been laid.


  • Who are your literary role models?


My literary role models are diverse and include William Faulkner (impossible for me to be from Mississippi and say otherwise), Albert Camus, Flannery O’Connor, J.D. Salinger, Kurt Vonnegut, Dashiell Hammett, and Stephen King, just to name a few. 


  • Are you currently working on another novel?  Any hints for your readers of what’s to come?


I am indeed; in fact, I’m working on three new novels at present- a follow-up to The Ripper Gene, a literary mystery set in 1980’s Mississippi, and a biomedical thriller set in and around Manhattan. I usually work on multiple projects and then let one take off so we’re in the early stages currently.


  • Your book would make a great movie.  Any particular actor you would like to see take on the role of Lucas Madden?


I’d always thought Matthew McConaughey would be perfect, but the role of Lucas Madden might be too close to his recent True Detective role for him to be interested.  But you never know- he’s a Southern boy at heart and this is a Southern story to be sure. I think Brad Pitt or Sean Penn might be interested as well, given their close ties to the setting of the novel on the Mississippi and Louisiana gulf coasts.  I think any of them would do a fantastic job with the role, but I’m sure many other actors would be exceptional in the role as well.  I’d like to think actors would be attracted to the role of Agent Lucas Madden in The Ripper Gene not only due to its interesting scientific premise, but because of the deeper theme of genetic determinism and implications for free will that run beneath the surface of the entire novel.


  • Are you part of any social media sites where we can follow your work?


I’m on several platforms, which I’ve listed below.  Right now I’m mainly promoting “The Ripper Gene” (new reviews, etc.) on social media, but hopefully soon will begin sharing current progress on various projects.  Stay tuned!

 Author Website  |  Publisher Website  |   Goodreads  |  Facebook  |  Linked In  |  Twitter





About the Author:


MICHAEL RANSOM is a molecular pharmacologist and a recognized expert in the fields of toxicogenomics and pharmacogenetics. He is widely published in scientific journals and has edited multiple textbooks in biomedical research. He is currently a pharmaceutical executive and an adjunct professor in the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Raised in rural Mississippi, he now makes his home in northern New Jersey. The Ripper Gene is his first novel.


The Ripper Gene [Forge Books / Macmillan] is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million and in brick-and-mortar bookstores across North America.


Thank you, Mr. Ransom, for taking the time to answer these questions for my readers and thank you, too, to Smith Publicity.



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review 2013-08-01 00:00
Law & Disorder:: The Legendary FBI Profiler's Relentless Pursuit of Justice
Law & Disorder:: The Legendary FBI Profiler's Relentless Pursuit of Justice - John E. Douglas,Mark Olshaker Retired FBI profiler John Douglas tackles some famous criminal cases “after the fact”. Examining headline -making judgments such as Amanda Knox, The West Memphis Three, JonBenet Ramsey and several others Mr. Douglas draws on his 44-year career to try and explain the phenomenon of false confessions, wrongful convictions and miscarried justice.

Mr. Douglas begins his book with the Salem Witch trials – probably the most notorious case of miscarried justice in American history. The witch trials did, however, spawn the famous concept of “innocent until proven guilty”. That mission statement often proves to be easier said than done.

This was an interesting book, as Mr. Douglas does not shy away from topics such as police ineptitude, courtroom blunders and out-and-out lying by witnesses, prosecutors and even judges. Preconceived notions have sent more innocent people to prison than should be believable. Innocent people who subsequently face the death penalty. Mr. Douglas does not mince words on the topic of capital punishment either. Although I may not agree with all of his views on the subject, he did present them in a rational and thought-provoking manner. For anyone who has followed any of the cases examined in this book, it makes for an interesting “wrap-up”. I even learned a few interesting tidbits about the cases that I had not seen mentioned in other accounts.
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review 2013-04-07 00:00
Law & Disorder:: The Legendary FBI Profiler's Relentless Pursuit of Justice - John E. Douglas,Mark Olshaker I must admit that I did not like this book as much as I liked all of Douglas' other books. I found it to be much more based on opinion versus his others particularly his "profiling" books. The book almost came across as his swan song which, if this is the case, has me very sad. Douglas is probably my favorite non-fiction writer.
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