Thursday, August 28, 2014

Don't Look Back - Gregg Hurwitz

My review of Gregg Hurwitz's Don't Look Back first appeared as a starred review in Shelf Awareness for Readers. It is appearing here today with their permission.
First line: "Terror came as a vibration, a plucked-wire note more felt than heard, primary to the deadening heat, to the flick of unseen insects against her face, to the oppressive night humidity that pressed into her pores."

If there’s a dip in Mexican tourism this year, fingers might point at Gregg Hurwitz (Tell No Lies) and his chilling new standalone thriller. Hurwitz’s most recent novels terrorize his everyman characters in the midst of civilization, but Don’t Look Back drops Eve Hardaway, a nurse and single mother, into the jungles of southern Mexico.

What’s supposed to be a fun vacation turns into an unfathomable nightmare when Eve wanders from her tour group, stumbling on an isolated house. She observes the inhabitant throwing machetes at a human-shaped target. The sight is frightening enough, but it doesn’t begin to compare with the horrors about to rain down from the life-threatening trip-wire she’s innocently triggered.

Hurwitz has a history of creating smart, driven female characters, but they usually take a supporting role. Don’t Look Back puts a woman firmly in the protagonist’s seat. Eve’s fears and doubts, her motivations and emotions all ring true for a struggling American parent.

The Mexican setting takes on a character-like role in the novel as well. From the unforgiving weather to the punishing terrain, Hurwitz brings readers up close and personal with the sights, sounds, smells and even the creepy-crawly sensations of the jungle’s occupants: sweeper ants, termites and bats, oh my!

Non-stop action in a darkly exotic land keeps the adrenalin pumping from beginning to end. In one of his darkest books yet, Hurwitz pokes a stick in a hornet’s nest of American fears to excite and entertain. Just don’t read it on the plane to Mexico.

Don't Look Back is available in hardcover (ISBN: 9780312626839) from St. Martin's Press and as an unabridged audiobook (ISBN: 978-1455882465), narrated by Cassandra Campbell and Scott Brick, from Brilliance Audio.


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