Don’t Turn Around by Jessica Barry | Publication Day Book Review #DontTurnAround



Two strangers, Cait and Rebecca, are driving across America.

Cait’s job is to transport women to safety. Out of respect, she never asks any questions. Like most of the women, Rebecca is trying to escape something.

But what if Rebecca’s secrets put them both in danger? There’s a reason Cait chooses to keep on the road, helping strangers. She has a past of her own, and knows what it’s like to be followed.

And there is someone right behind them, watching their every move…

Publisher: Vintage
Format: Ebook, hardback, audio (30 July 2020) | Paperback (15 April 2021)
Page Count: 320
Source: Review copy via Netgalley

My thanks to Graeme Williams for the offer to review. Last week I took part in the blog tour road trip with an extract (which you can see here). The journey has now come to an end on publication day and I’m delighted to share my thoughts on this suspenseful and dramatic read.

MY THOUGHTS

Two women driving through the night hundreds of miles from Texas to New Mexico in an old jeep. They don’t know each other but they have to trust the other. Who are they fleeing from and why?

Cait Monaghan and Rebecca McRae come from completely different backgrounds. Cait works in a rundown bar whilst trying to make it as a journalist and former teacher Rebecca is married to an ambitious politician, running for higher office. Cait also helps out with Sisters of Service, driving women to safety.

Cait picks Rebecca up at midnight – again why the secrecy? and their journey begins, however it turns into a nightmare when it becomes clear they are being targeted and they are not meant to reach their destination – but by whom and why.

Both women have reason to be scared. They each have their own secrets and as the miles drop away and the chapters pass, we discover more about their lives and what they have to fear.

There is so much about the story that’s high on the creep factor. Miles and miles of deserted roads, remote roadside cafe, creepy men, the dangers that women face being on their own and feeling unsafe. It’s a highly topical and timely read especially bearing in mind that this was written long before all the recent publicity in the UK regarding women’s safety.

The chapters are fairly short, and either have a countdown in miles to the destination or go back to a previous point in time to gradually tease out the full story.

Cait and Rebecca are both strong characters and they need to be. What’s interesting is how they react to each other during the trip. Cait is the younger of the two and has her own reasons for wanting the drive. Rebecca is the more reserved and just wants to reach her destination as quickly as possible. As the storyline gets more intense they will need to trust each other and call on all their reserves of mental and physical strength if they are to make it through.

The story doesn’t just involve Rebecca and Cait although they are the main focus. There are separate threads through the story involving other characters and it was quite shocking to see just how far some people will go for their beliefs.

There is tension and drama aplenty here until the very end. I very much enjoyed it.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jessica Barry is a pseudonym for an American author who grew up in a small town in Massachusetts and was raised on a steady diet of library books and PBS.

She attended Boston University, where she majored in English and Art History, before moving to London in 2004 to pursue an MA from University College London.

She lives with her husband, Simon, and their two cats, Roger Livesey and BoJack Horseman.

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