I was so pleased when HarperCollins reached out to ask if I’d be interested in reading Jessica Barry’s new novel, Don’t Turn Around. First, I’m thrilled that publishers are able to send books again- as a reviewer, quarantine has brought a whole new level of appreciation of publishing houses. Second, her debut novel, Freefall was a phenomenal read.
I could not put this book down. For those that read No Exit by Taylor Adams, remember that gripping edge-of-your-seat feeling you got when reading that book? Don’t Turn Around is right up there with it.
The style of Don’t Turn Around, while fast-paced and captivating, is a bit different than books out there. There’s no build up of backstory, the novel opens with Cait, a struggling writer and a driver with Sisters of Service, an organization that that helps when in sensitive situations while promising anonymity, picking up her client, a wife of a Texan politician who pales in the light of her husband’s stardom, Rebecca. These two strangers are destined to Albuquerque, but this journey is one that will face a myriad of challenges as they learn they have more than the will to survive in common.
The narrative switches their route to Albuquerque, flashing back to both Cait’s and Rebecca’s life of how they ended up where we see them now. I’m personally not always a fan of that style, it can be confusing, but here it creates a sense of mystery and is very alluring.
I read the book without reading too much of the description and I think it made the reading experience even better. So I’m not going to mention a lot of the plot here, because I think this is just one of those books that I want to shove in your hands and implore you to just read it and come talk to me when you’re done.