Don't Turn Around by Jessica Barry
Updated: Apr 25, 2021
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. . . .
‘322 miles of road. 6 hours. 2 strangers. 1 killer. Too many secrets.’ This is one journey you don’t want to miss.
Think - Thelma and Louise meets A. J. Finn! Jessica Barry’s new psychological, roller-coaster-chase thriller has already raced its way to the top of countless readers TBR piles and I can see why. Arrestingly atmospheric and dramatically thought-provoking, Don’t Turn Around takes you from Texas to New Mexico as two women fight for their lives across an isolated, midnight highway.
Driven by suspense over pace, Barry packs a lot of irresistible, gritty red herrings into her short, punchy chapters but takes skill and time to explore the narratives deeper issues surrounding agency, consent, and judgement that are deftly woven into each characters POV.
Whilst a little more “sitting comfortably” than “edge-of-your-seat”, I can for sure see this becoming the next big-screen, must-see movie.
Fans of Chandler Baker’s Whisper Network and My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell will particularly enjoy this one.
This was one hell of a page-turner. Cait picks up Rebecca late one evening, it is a job she has been assigned to do although at this stage it is unclear why. My first thoughts were, Rebecca is escaping from an abusive relationship. What I loved about the structure of the book is that Barry feeds you snippets as the book unfolds. You hear the points of view from the two main characters Cait and Rebecca and nothing is what it first appears to be. There are also voices from a few other characters slotted in from time to time which adds to the intrepidation of what is to come.
This book is a real cat and mouse chase where the writing swoops you along at a satisfying pace, leaves you wanting more and has you on the edge of your seat with your heart in your mouth. I loved this thrilling aspect of the novel along with wanting to know all the answers to the questions that were building alongside the tension of the storyline. Who was chasing them? Why? I have to say I was hooked. Sisterhood is a real theme in this book and one that I both loved and appreciated. I loved finding out more about the characters Cait and Rebecca as the story unfolded and found their own individual backstories fascinating. For me, the ending was perfect and I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. Highly recommend.
Thoroughly worth the read. This fast-paced tale keeps you guessing all the way through.
Jessica Barry gives you just enough clues without giving the game away too early.
Cait and Rebecca have a tight schedule – a 322 mile road trip through the night. Both women have their different reasons for the journey. Both are nervous. And they should be. As obstacles are placed in their way, they realise that they are being pursued. Each of them secretly believes that they are the reason for this. These women must unite if either one of them are to survive and arrive at their destination.
These are strong, gutsy ladies and you just have to keep turning the pages in the hope that they get the break they deserve.
You can’t help but warm to these characters as their individual backstory is expertly revealed.
I look forward to more from Jessica Barry.