Never Turn Back by Christopher Swann
10/6/20; pages est. 320
Crooked Lane Books/ Penguin Random House
Never Turn Back by Christopher Swann is a very highly recommended psychological thriller set in Atlanta.
Faulkner currently is an English teacher in a private school. He and
his sister, Susannah, survived a tragedy in their past. When Ethan was
thirteen and Susannah was ten they were both shot and their parents were
killed in a home invasion. The two went to live with their uncle, their
mother's brother, a man they had never met. Now Ethan avoids close
relationships and his troubled sister always seems to be on the move.
When Susannah comes back to stay with Ethan, he is at the beginning of a
new relationship with a woman, Marisa Devereaux. They had a one night
stand at a conference, but now she is a co-worker.
The whole plot takes on a creepy Fatal Attraction vibe, after
it becomes obvious that Marisa is preoccupied with him and his story.
She is obsessed with him and his sister, she has researched their story
online, but why? She is also beginning to overstep boundaries and
acting inappropriately, but when Ethan breaks up with her, she becomes
weird and frightening. She begins to sabotage Ethan's life. Soon Ethan
is being questioned about Marisa's death, but there is a whole lot going
on behind the surface that the police don't know. His Uncle Gavin might
be able to help him, because his Uncle is known to be able to fix
This is an absolutely compelling, riveting, page-turning thriller that was so engrossing I kept reading it straight through to the end. The story itself, as I mentioned is based on a Fatal Attraction theme, but there is a whole lot more depth in the finely nuanced plot. There is more than simply one narrative thread in the plot and the complexities and depth of the plot is engaging and entertaining. That and the quality of the writing places this thriller above the norm and is what kept me reading. Swann has crafted a well-written and intriguing novel in Never Turn Back.
The characters are perfectly drawn and well-developed. The bond between
brother and sister is believable. The subtle development of Marisa's
obsession and malevolence is palatable. Adding an uncle who fixes things
was just icing on the cake for me. I really enjoyed this thriller and
relished the wide variety of well-developed characters Swann portrayed
Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Crooked Lane Books/ Penguin Random House.