Friday, October 02, 2020

Review: Never Turn Back by Christopher Swann

Title: Never Turn Back
Author: Christopher Swann
Published: October 2020, Crooked Lane Books
Format: ARC Paperback, 278 pages
Source: Publisher

Linwood Barclay meets Michael Farris Smith in this Southern-set domestic thriller about family, vengeance, and atonement from critically acclaimed Southern mystery novelist Christopher Swann.

The bonds of family never truly let go.

In fact, its grip only tightens the further you try to run: crushing and crippling.

Ethan Faulkner is a precocious child with a brilliant but troublesome sister, a war vet for a father and a weary mother trying to manage their family. One night, a young woman rings their doorbell, desperate to hide from two men who are pursuing her when one of the two barges in after her. The struggle leaves both of Ethan's parents dead.

Years later, Ethan has a successful teaching career and a budding relationship with a coworker, Marisa. But he hasn't quite followed through on his promise to dying father--take care of his sister. Susannah is not an easy person to keep tabs on, is a handful even when the tabs are kept, and quite frankly, Ethan wants her to suffer for preventing him from getting to dad before he died all those years ago.

It was a long time ago and Ethan tries to all of it behind him. But it seems to be the only thing Marisa is interested in discussing. When Ethan attempts to break it off, Marisa's reaction threatens to shatter the life that Ethan has carefully constructed. Before long, news of a shocking murder breaks with evidence pointing to Ethan as the prime suspect, leaving him no choice but to dig up the painful memories of the past in order to find the truth of the present.

Lyrically conveyed with emotion and nuance, Never Turn Back is a powerful story about family, vengeance, and how some actions echo through the years with irreparable consequences.

My thoughts: I love nothing more than discovering new authors, authors that I hope to add to my ever-growing list of must-read authors and Christopher Swann will certainly be going on that list. This domestic thriller kept me glued to the pages, and I ended up reading this book in one day!

One warning I will give before going into my thoughts about the book...I think the synopsis above gives a little too much away about the book. I had read it when I first got the book and then didn't read it again before picking it up and I'm glad I didn't. It wasn't until I was putting this review together that I reread it and realized just how much is revealed about the book, so word of warning...go into this book blind if you can! You will enjoy the book much more!

I really enjoyed this book. It really pulls you in right from the beginning and I felt that between the character's story and the pace, I did not want to put this one down until everything was resolved. While I had my suspicions about certain characters - whether it was because I just had a bad feeling about them or just didn't seem to trust their motivations - I was hooked! And it seems I was right about my feelings - even if what they were up to was not even close to what I was thinking!

I loved how this book keeps the tension building all the way through. I had no idea where this story was heading and loved how the back story of Ethan and his sister was woven in so seamlessly. This revenge thriller, driven by family secrets will really keep you on your toes! I highly recommend it.


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