Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Don't Turn Around - Jessica Barry

I read Jessica Barry's debut novel Freefall last year - and really liked it! (my review) I was excited to pick up her just released second book - Don't Turn Around. And I'll tell you up front - I think the thrill factor was even higher in this book!

Cait works as a bartender, really wants to be a writer and volunteers with the Sisters of Service. The Sisters will get a woman what she needs or where she needs to be. Rebecca needs help and Cait is her driver on an overnight run, taking her from Lubbock, Texas to Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Okay, I was hooked from the prologue. "And then she hears it: a long, shivering scrape of metal against metal. She sees a face at the window. It's him. He's outside and he's trying to get in."

And from there, the timeline moves back and forth from past to present, and told from each woman's perspective. They both have secrets - but which woman is he after? It doesn't much matter - they're alone in the dark on a deserted stretch of road. They'll have to trust each other to make it through the night. We also have chapters from a number of men - any one of which could be the unknown truck driver following them. The vitriol in their chapters is palpable.

Barry employed the same back and forth technique in her first book. It's absolutely one of my favorite methods of storytelling. It's so hard to not read just one more chapter.

I was surprised to find out the reason Rebecca needed a ride - and then I wasn't. It's a story you'll find in some newspaper every day. Cait's reasons tie in as well. I'm going to be obtuse here as I don't want to provide spoilers. But the reasons are real and serious themes.

But what had me almost breaking my rule of not flipping ahead in a book is the tension, suspense and danger of the pursuit of Cait and Rebecca. So well written! And well played. The chapters count down the mileage to their destination which was another great way to ramp up the suspense. There was no way to predict where the plot was going to go and I was kept on my toes. One big twist near the end had me shouting out loud - no way!

An excellent suspense novel - one I definitely recommend. Read an excerpt of Don't Turn Around. I'll be watching for book number 3!


Mystica said...

It sounds a real page turner. Thanks for the review.

Luanne said...

It was a page turner Mystica - it was done in two days!