THOSE WE LEFT BEHIND is more than a crime novel. It's an emotionally charged story that takes brotherly love to another level while focusing on the manipulative ways of the murderous and the malleable alike.
A murder separated them and time reunited them. Yet the bone chilling incident that set them on their separate ways continues to haunt the brothers, who, at a young age, were forced into foster care and into the hands of a young couple with a child of their own. For the father, taking the brothers in would ultimately result in his death. As to which brother is responsible - that's a secret that gradually unfolds as the book progresses. Fair warning, author Stuart Neville doesn't let this cat out of the bag easily, I constantly found myself switching between the brother I thought responsible despite there being an early conviction though it was clear, things weren't quite what they seemed to be.
The series protagonist DCI Flanagan is caught in the middle having sided with one of the brothers during the initial murder investigation - being seen as a sympathetic shoulder to lean on, only to find herself and her family in grave danger in the present day setting. I liked the way Neville infused some personal identity to the professional role Flanagan has in the book to make the character feel more three dimensional and complex with plenty of threads to explore in subsequent series installments.
THOSE WE LEFT BEHIND is a fast read that engulfs the reader in a closed case murder where there was meant to be little mystery, only for it to become paramount to proceedings. Different from Nevillie's other books but still the same quality.