Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Good character development and plenty of tension
Cons: A bit slow to start
The Bottom Line:
Madman in jungle
Pages turn and tension builds
Danger Lurks in the Jungle
While I have fallen into the cozy subgenre and can’t seem to get out (not that I’m trying that hard), I do enjoy the occasional darker book. One of my go to authors for thrillers is Gregg Hurwitz because they are always page turners. In fact, I try to save them for plane rides if I can, and a recent business trip across the country provided me with the perfect chance to read Don't Look Back. I was glad I allowed uninterrupted hours to read this book.
For her tenth anniversary, Eve Hardaway plans to take the long dreamed of trip to the jungles of southern Mexico. After purchasing the trip months in advance, she learns her husband is leaving her for another woman. However, instead of canceling the trip, she decides to go to, hoping that the time away from her life will help her rediscover who she is.
The ultimate destination for this trip is a remote camp, and Eve is enjoying relaxing and the beautiful scenery around her. Then, without realizing it, Eve makes a terrible discovery. When she does learn what she has stumbled upon, she realizes that she and everyone else at the camp are in danger. With a rain storm moving in to the area, will they be able to stay alive long enough to get out?
The book did take a while to get going while we were introduced to Eve and the rest of the potential victims of the madman that would be unleashed on the group. Once things got started, the tension builds and never lets up even with all the time we spend hiking in the jungle. There are logical reasons why the group doesn’t just leave quickly but must seek other ways to get help. Trust me, by the end, I was turning the pages as quickly as I could to find out how things would turn out and I was glad I had a long plane ride to finish it.
I liked Eve and sympathized with her right away, which is good since this is really her story. The other characters were a bit of a mixed lot based on first impressions. Some of them grew on me as the book progressed, others actually get on my nerves more, but that was by design and shows how a person’s true nature comes out when faced with serious danger.
The antagonist was an interesting character. At times, he felt a bit over the top or supernatural, like the villain in a slasher film (or maybe that’s just my obsession with the genre). However, he became more human as the book progressed. Not that I ever liked him; he was pure evil.
As the story reached the climax, I marveled at just how Gregg used things that had happened earlier in the book later in the story. Nothing is wasted, although the beginning does still seem a tad slow overall.
One reason I love his books is because Gregg is such a fantastic writer. He knows how to give us the details of a scene without breaking the tension at all. And boy does he know how to build the tension.
If you are looking for something with more tension and thrills, Don't Look Back is definitely for you. Once you get started, you won’t look back until you finish the book.