MYSTERY

Never Turn Back

Crooked Lane. Oct. 2020. 280p. ISBN 9781643855370. $26.99. THRILLER
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Swann’s second novel (after Shadow of the Lions) explores the bonds of family and friendship, the urge for vengeance, and the pull of the past, all in one tightly woven thriller package. Ethan Faulkner is mostly content as an English teacher, a life occasionally disrupted by visits from his volatile sister, Susannah. Both Ethan and Susannah are damaged souls, traumatized as children by a home invasion that left their parents dead and them wounded. Fearing loss, Ethan never allows himself close relationships but indulges in the occasional one-night stand. Marisa, his latest companion, isn’t satisfied to be a one-off, inserting herself into Ethan’s life and unleashing big trouble, dragging the violent past into the present. With the help of shady Uncle Gavin, who raised Ethan and Susannah after their parents died, and Ethan’s best friend Frankie, Ethan races to find his parents’ killers, to confront the past, and find closure.
VERDICT Page-turning suspense and action with some surprise twists engages readers from start to finish. The characters of Ethan and Susannah, their sibling bond, resonate with authenticity, grounding the novel. Thriller readers will enjoy and look forward to more from Swann, especially fans of Harlan Coben and Linwood Barclay.

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