Published: February 6th, 2020
Format: Paperback, Kindle
Genre: Psychological Thriller, Mystery, Suspense
Today is my stop on the blog tour for this fantastic thriller. Thank you to Tracy at Compulsive Readers for the invitation to take part and to Orion for the gifted copy of the novel.
She was the most brutal killer of our time. And she may have been my mother…
When website columnist Robin Diamond is contacted by true crime podcast producer Quentin Garrison, she assumes it’s a business matter. It’s not. Quentin’s podcast, Closure, focuses on a series of murders in the 1970s, committed by teen couple April Cooper and Gabriel LeRoy. It seems that Quentin has reason to believe Robin’s own mother may be intimately connected with the killings.
Robin thinks Quentin’s claim is absurd. But is it? The more she researches the Cooper/LeRoy murders herself, the more disturbed she becomes by what she finds. Living just a few blocks from her, Robin’s beloved parents are the one absolute she’s always been able to rely upon, especially now amid rising doubts about her husband from internet trolls. Robin knows her mother better than anyone.
But then her parents are brutally attacked, and Robin realises she doesn’t know the truth at all…
Wow! This was a roller-coaster ride that I didn’t want to end. Multiple plot lines and characters were woven together like an intricate patchwork quilt in this complex, thrilling and addictive read.
In letters to her future daughter, infamous murderer April Cooper reveals what really happened in the summer of 1976, when she and her boyfriend, Gabriel LeRoy, better known as the Inland Empire Killers, embarked on a murder spree that terrorised their town before finally perishing in a fire. In the present day, Quentin Garrison is working on his new podcast Closure, telling the story of his family connection to the case and how the couple’s actions have impacted survivors and their families. When he contacts journalist Robin Diamond and tells her he has reason to believe her mother Renee is connected to the killings, she dismisses the idea as preposterous. But then her parents are attacked in their homes and she realises she doesn’t know her mother as well as she thought. Could her mother know something about what happened forty years ago? Both determined to get to the truth, we follow as it is slowly unveiled and lives are changed forever.
The mystery of April Cooper, her true role in the murders and if she survived the fire that supposedly killed her is the heartbeat of this story. She is an enigmatic, vivid character who looms large on every page. Through her secret letters, which were my favourite part of the book, we were offered an insight into who she was and the truth behind the lurid, sensationalist headlines and local lore. I had a real soft spot for her, even in the moments she wasn’t likeable and I was desperate to find out what had really happened to her.
I devoured this book and knew it was one I’d love from the first page. When I wasn’t reading it, I was thinking about reading it. I loved that I couldn’t figure it out, vacillating so many times in my suspicions. While I was right about some things, there was a lot I never would have thought of in a million years. On the surface it seemed a simple storyline but it morphed into something unexpected, something much more complex and inextricably linked than I imagined. The shocking revelations had my jaw on the floor and at one point in my notes I wrote “F***!! This is mental!” The twists came so fast at one point I thought I was going to get book whiplash. I’m in awe of the intricate plots that authors create and, while it would be kind of terrifying, I’d love to get a look inside their brain to find out how on earth they think of them.
Never Look Back is a first class psychological thriller. The plot is nuanced and peppered with clues and red herrings that keep you on your toes until the last pages. It is a story about family, long-held secrets and the ripple effect caused by trauma. It is a search for the truth that shatters people’s lives while giving others a chance at redemption.
Compelling, tense, atmospheric, deliciously suspicious and utterly brilliant I would recommend this book to any thriller lover.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Alison Gaylin’s debut book was nominated for an Edgar Award in the Best First Novel category. A graduate of Northwestern University and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, Alison lives with her husband and daughter in upstate New York.
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