Don’t Look Back by Gregg Hurwitz

don't look back book cover A Major Shot of Adrenaline – 4 Stars

Be warned. Don’t Look Back is not for the faint of heart. Gregg Hurwitz has written an action/suspense/thriller that gets the heart pumping and the juices flowing right out of the gate. The author wastes little time and begins to build suspense in the first 50 pages. Regardless of what anyone says about this book, the action does not slow down long enough to let you get bored.

Plot summary

Eve Hardaway, a mother of one, finds herself separated from her husband months short of their ten year anniversary. A big trip to the jungles of Mexico had been planned and instead of turning the tickets in, she decides to use that time to find herself and enjoy the experience. Soon after checking into the jungle lodge with her small tour group, she finds herself absorbed with the mystery of a previous guest who had gone missing and a mysterious and deadly man living in the jungle. Eve finds herself faced with terror as she and her group have caught the attention of the killer. The chase is on! Does Eve have the fortitude to endure the days ahead and will anyone survive their encounter with the man in the jungle.

The Good

The suspense in the novel is palpable. The author does a wonderful job on keeping you on the edge of the action. The tension builds with a nice mix of psychological elements and a generous helping of action based tension. If you enjoy the “cat and mouse game” type of thrillers, this one will be right up your alley.

I especially enjoyed the pacing of the book. Gregg Hurwitz has taken a page from the Matthew Reilly’s handbook – put your foot on the gas and don’t take it off unless you are going to slam the brakes, throw your passengers through the windshield and proceed to run them over.

The author has also written what I would consider to be some light message fiction. I found this element to be surprising. It has been my experience that writers of this type of fiction tend to leave the proselytising to the literary fiction folk. Generally, the waft of message fiction sends me running. It tends to drag the story down. In this case, the author does an excellent job of posing questions about terrorism, the tactics used to fight them and the views held of the Muslim world. Don’t let this frighten you away, it is presented as a two sided argument and leaves the reader to draw their own conclusion. I appreciate the author allowing me to make up my own mind on the issues as opposed to telling me what I should be thinking.

The Bad

While the pace was breakneck, it did become tiring by the end. Just as our character was fighting exhaustion from her never ending run from danger, I started to tire of the tension. This is not a major complaint but I found the story to be a little too drawn out for my taste.

There are a couple of other elements I also tired of in the novel. One of the biggest annoyances was the over usage of foreshadowing. All to often the characters would stop to observe something in the surroundings and it quickly became clear that those elements would play a role in the story at a later time. As the story progressed, I found myself being able to guess how a character was gong to escape a situation based on what was foreshadowed earlier in the story. Too much of the plot was telegraphed to the reader and it made some elements of the plot a mild disappointment.

Final Thoughts

With a great mix of action and tension, this will appeal to Thriller and Action Adventure fans alike. While there were a few elements that were disappointing, the majority of the novel entertained and the was carried by strong writing. Although this is my first novel by Gregg Hurwitz, Don’t Look Back has ensured it will not be my last.

Audiobook Notes

There are two narrators in the book. Each to follow the to points of view. The female protagonist was voiced by an excellent narrator although the child voices were a tad grating. The antagonist was voiced by Scott Brick. I have listened to audiobooks simply because he was the narrator. His voice plays well for these type of novel he does an excellent job as always.

Content Advisories

It is difficult to find commentary on the sex/violence/language content of book if you are interested. I make an effort to give you the information so you can make an informed decision before reading. *Disclaimer* I do not take note or count the occurrences of adult language as I read. I am simply giving approximations.

Scale 1 – Lowest 5 – Highest

Sex 2

There is one sex scene. It is not graphic and cuts away without much description of the action. The characters allude to some rapes that have occurred in the village.

Language 3

While the mild obscenity usage was low, the use of the f-word was low/moderate. A bit more than the average.

Violence 4

There is plenty of violence throughout. There are multiple deaths with non gory elements of torture. The theme of violence is pervasive. It is moderate graphic at times but not gory.

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Tim Written by:

Tim is a lawyer, sports fan, parent, husband and book lover. He runs his own legal practice and is the founder of The Literary Lawyer book blog and a contributing writer for Tim loves to share his love of reading by providing reviews to entertain as well as provide information to help you make an informed reading decision.