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Right Behind You    by Gail Giles order for
Right Behind You
by Gail Giles
Order:  USA  Can
Little, Brown & Co., 2007 (2007)
* * *   Reviewed by Lyn Seippel

When he is nine, Kip McFarland commits a deplorable crime. He pours gasoline on seven-year-old Bobby Clarke and sets him afire. This is a crime that society will never forgive him for, even though he is a child, too.

After five years in an Alaskan psychiatric hospital for violent offenders, Kip is released as Wade Madison. His dad and stepmother are also given new names. They move to Indiana for a new start, knowing that they'll have to keep Wade's real identity secret. Kip no long exists. Wade Madison has taken his place.

For three years Wade lives the life of a normal teenager. He is fairly popular, a star swimmer being considered by college scouts for scholarships, has a best friend, and a girlfriend. But he just can't get rid of the guilt. He knows he doesn't deserve his normal life. After a swim meet where he set a state record, Wade self-destructs. He tells his friends what he did and suddenly they are no longer his friends.

Life in Indiana goes downhill, not just for Wade, but for his family, too. His stepmother is laid off as a teacher. Wade is no longer on the swim team or even in school.

His stepmother owns a beach house in Surfside, Texas. Will one more move keep them safe? They have one last chance at happiness. Although Wade intends to home school himself and stay away from other people, circumstances land him next door to another self destructive teenager.

Gale Giles gives us a protagonist who is a murderer and makes us care about him. In yet another hard-to-put down suspense thriller, she keeps us on the edge of our seats as we worry about Wade, his family and the girl next door.

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