Book of the Day

Quinn The Right Side 20170627

The Right Side

By Spencer Quinn

Atria Books
ISBN 978-1501118401
Published June 27, 2017

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The Right Side

Review by Clay Stafford

The Right Side is a new novel by New York Times bestselling author Peter Abrahams writing under the pseudonym Spencer Quinn. The protagonist is a female soldier who comes home from Afghanistan after a horrific accident only to find the civilian world just as tough, if not tougher, than war itself.

LeAnne Hogan is a proud, independent woman who is now disabled. She does not take it well. At times, it is difficult to like her. She’s cutting, she’s rude, but she is hurting psychologically. She has witnessed the death of those close to her. She has guiltily lived and they have not. She feels betrayed. She feels it all her fault. And, saying all this, Spencer Quinn writes her in a way that the reader can’t help but root for her. You want her to do well. You want her to survive.

There are two things going on chronologically: we learn of the events leading up to the accident in Afghanistan, and we share the unfolding as LeAnne struggles to make her way in the civilian world. The mystery is what really happened in Afghanistan. She doesn’t want to believe it. Truthfully, neither does the reader. There are elements that made me physically angry. I credit Quinn for writing it to produce full-effect.

Part of the damage done to LeAnne is facial. She has lost an eye. I love the thematic symbol in this. Her depth perception is lost. She is blind on one side. It all plays into the storyline’s issue of trust and truth. In love, sometimes we are blind to what others can see; we see the relationship, but not its true depth.

The Right Side is not a thriller or even suspense. It is only remotely a mystery. It is a character study, and well-done at that. I do not want to give away more than I have to, but the ending satisfies. You need to read this novel. It will make you feel extremes along with LeAnne. It will make you want more. It will make you sad. And it will make you smile. Satisfaction will come on the last page. No need for a spoiler alert, just know: this is a book you’ll want to read.


Clay Stafford is an award-winning author, screenwriter, and filmmaker. He has sold over 1.5 million hardcover copies of his children’s adaptations and has seen his film work distributed internationally in over 14 languages. Four of his five staged murder mysteries have had Los Angeles premieres. He has reviewed books, plays, and films, writes near-daily book reviews for the Killer Nashville Book of the Day, has been quoted on book jackets, and has edited several PBS companion books associated with national series. Publishers Weekly has named Stafford one of the top 10 Nashville literary leaders playing “an essential role in defining which books become bestsellers” not only in middle-Tennessee, but also extending “beyond the city limits and into the nation’s book culture.” (PW 6/10/13). He is the founder of Killer Nashville ( and publisher of Killer Nashville Magazine ( He has served on the board of numerous nonprofits. Clay has a B.A. and M.F.A. and has been a professor or lecturer to several major universities. His list of current projects includes the award-winning feature-length documentary “One Of The Miracles: The Inge Meyring Smith Story” ( and the music CD “XO” with fellow mystery writer Jeffery Deaver ( Previously associated with Universal Studios and PBS, he is currently President / CEO of American Blackguard, Inc. (, a publishing / film and television / music / entertainment company near Nashville, Tennessee. More information can be found at