Don’t Turn Around by Jessica Barry
Expected publication Date : July 30th 2020
Publisher : Vintage Publishing, Random House UK
Genre : Thriller
Pages : 320
The riveting follow up to Jessica Barry’s debut Freefall—a controversial, of-the-moment thriller about two women fighting for their right to live.
322 miles of road. 6 hours. 2 strangers. 1 killer. Too many secrets.
Midnight. Cait Monaghan and Rebecca McRae are on a desolate road that slices through the New Mexican desert. They’ve never met before tonight. Both have secrets to protect. Both of their lives are in danger.
When a truck pulls up fast behind them, they assume it’s punk teenagers or run-of-the-mill road rage, but it soon becomes clear that whoever is driving the truck is hunting them for sport—and they are out to draw blood.
As the miles unspool and the dangers mount, the pasts they’ve worked so hard to keep buried have come back to haunt them. Someone wants one of them dead. But which one? And given the lives the two women have been leading, that someone could be almost anyone.
If Cait and Rebecca are going to survive, they’ll have to learn to trust one another—and themselves. But trust is a costly business, and they’ve both paid the price before. . . .
*** Note: I received e-copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to Jasmine @ Vintage, PRH UK for tour invite and review copy. ***
Don’t Turn Around was intriguing, fast paced thriller that revolved around Cait and Rebecca’s 322 miles journey from Lubbock to Albuquerque. It was about social media abuse and trolling, suffocating relationship, abortions and women’s feeling about, patriarchy and people’s judgement.
Don’t Turn Around was written in third person narrative from Cait and Rebecca’s alternative POV with past and present and chapters counting down the miles from Lubbock to Albuquerque. Writing was compelling, tense, and atmospheric with dangers on the road and past that was going to catch up these women.
Plot was most interesting. I haven’t read a thriller that took place on road and in car. It started with Cait picking up Rebecca from her house in the middle of night who was supposed to take her to Albuquerque at the centre of Sisters of Service. At first I wasn’t sure what this service was about and why they took so much precaution and swore the confidentiality but as the book progress and we read the past stories of characters we know what was going on.
First few chapters were all about character building and telling readers what was going on in their life, what happened to them in past and how they came to be in present situation. We don’t see much conversation between characters until the truck hit their jeep and tried to take them off the road. After that hit things started to reveal one by one, we see what Cait was hiding and why Rebecca needed to take Sister of Service’s help.
I was curious to find out who was driving the truck. There were intermittent chapters from other characters of the book created tension and made me think who from these characters was after these women. Past chapters gave the clear idea on why and yet there were enough surprises that I couldn’t guess.
Characters and mystery were intriguing. Both Cait and Rebecca were flawed, scared with what was happening to them and yet they were stronger than they thought. I felt for Cait who was victim of abuse. She wrote an article about it that took her life downhill. I did feel she was making mistake as soon as she went after that musician. She was being honest in article, admitted she went willingly and wrote how she felt violated and yet people were trolling her telling she deserved it and should die! I was shocked at people’s reaction to it. Right or wrong nobody deserve this. The level of threat scared me and made me anxious for Cait and yet she was brave to carry on with her life until everything got worst. I admired her for being conscientious even though she felt rage and vengeance and doing right thing and sticking with Rebecca after knowing her story. She kept feeling guilty for writing that article but it’s those people trolling her should feel guilty.
Rebecca was most relatable character and I really felt bad for her. She was nice and lovely wife who loved her job as teacher in school, her hometown California and her father but she left it all for her single-minded husband, Patrick, who wanted to make career in politics from his hometown Texas. Once they moved there and things started to go left for Rebecca. It was clear she wasn’t happy with this change in life and in Patrick and I was surprised that idiot husband ignored that. Life of politician’s wife was not for her and I felt bad how both Patrick and his manager belittle her and made her feel bad for not doing it right. I wanted to shake her tell her just leave him, you don’t have to do this for him. And then there were many miscarriages and present condition. She was timid, too yielding for my liking. She was sensitive with world’s reality and death of her parents and yet it was amazing to see how a child can make a woman strong beyond her limits. I loved her for sticking with Cait and helping her even after knowing her secret and I admired her for what she did in climax and at the end.
Men in this book were written to hate. Every single men this book thought what they do and think is above everyone, especially women. I hated Ken for passing judgement on what Cait did and about women going to abortion clinic. Mike for driving his anger of injustice and losing love to totally wrong direction, Patrick for thinking he had right over deciding what Rebecca should do about her body and over baby, and that bastard manager who thought he was most clever of all. I hated those pro-life protestors who didn’t even want to see in what condition women went to abortion centre, what it felt to be violated, how it is for women to carry a child of abuse or even worst a child that is going die or born with condition that make child and mother suffer for whole life. It was outrageous to read their thoughts.
Mystery was cleverly written. There were lots of red herrings. It turned out different than what I expected but in good way. I couldn’t guess who was driving the truck until climax. And goodness that villain was clearly maniac and delusional. Last 25% of the book was full of action and chase. I enjoyed reading this adrenaline inducing part. When they came out of it there was another shock. I knew Rebecca’s husband planned something and other men in book but what happened was unexpected. End was perfect.
Why 4 Stars-
My only complaint is he way women fought even after accident was a bit implausible. I mean you can’t just get up and drive after you are beaten badly in such condition.
Don’t Turn Around was riveting and fast paced thrill ride with amazing characters and thought-provoking theme. I definitely recommend this.Tweet
Jessica Barry is a pseudonym for an American author who has lived and worked in London for the past fifteen years. Look for Me (previously published as Freefall), her debut thriller, has sold in more than twenty-two territories around the world and has also secured a major Hollywood film deal.
I hope you enjoyed this post. Let me know in comments what do you think about this book and my review, have you read this book already or going to add it to TBR. Have you read a Road Trip Thriller?
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