WHAT CAME BEFORE HE SHOT HER by Elizabeth George
Kirkus Star

WHAT CAME BEFORE HE SHOT HER

KIRKUS REVIEW

How many wrong decisions can a 12-year-old make?

Joel Campbell is a kid with too many responsibilities. His dad has died in the wake of a drug deal gone wrong, his mother drifts in and out of psychosis in a locked ward and his granny’s decamped for Jamaica, leaving him, his in-your-face sister Ness, 15, and their loony brother Toby, 8, in a scruffy London flat with their aunt Kendra. It’s up to him, Joel thinks, to make things right for everybody. But how can a 12-year-old compensate his sister for five years of abuse that’s led her into drugs and indiscriminate sex? How can he be Toby’s principal caregiver and protect him from gang dust-ups without admitting to his aunt that anything’s wrong? And how can he stop the social worker from sending Toby into foster care; keep the guy Ness shagged, then humiliated, from taking revenge; and prevent the cops from labeling him a troublemaker when all his plans go belly-up? Inexorably, every decision Joel makes leads to tragedy. A barge fire almost immolates Toby. A gang rape turns Ness from victim to knife-wielder to convict. The bad luck stretches all the way to Belgravia, where Inspector Thomas Lynley’s wife Helen meets Joel and a handgun on her doorstep.

Despite a bit too much chirpy art-as-savior philosophizing, this is George’s best since A Great Deliverance, her 1988 debut. Read it and weep.

Pub Date: Oct. 17th, 2006
ISBN: 0-06-054562-3
Page count: 544pp
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 2006




MORE BY ELIZABETH GEORGE

MysteryJUST ONE EVIL ACT by Elizabeth George
by Elizabeth George
MysteryBELIEVING THE LIE by Elizabeth George
by Elizabeth George
FictionTHE BODY OF DEATH by Elizabeth George
by Debi Gliori