Jessica Barry’s second novel is another twisty psychological thriller.

Don’t Turn Around is Jessica Barry’s second novel, which the cover quote (from A.J. Finn) describes as “Part chase thriller, part psychological suspense… wholly ingenious.”

Not surprisingly, everyone in our book group who read it had different reactions to the story, ranging from out-and-out enjoyment (and a 5-Star rating) to slightly more muted responses. But in fact, no-one gave it less than 3-Stars, which from a mixed group of readers has to be a sign that this is a good read.

Set in Texas, USA, it’s the story of two women on a road trip. They both seem to be running from something although the reader doesn’t know what. When a truck pulls up fast behind them, they assume the aggression is run-of-the-mill road rage but it soon becomes clear they are being hunted. As the chase unfolds, the reader is given a bit more of the backstory of each of the women in chapters which dart back in time and then return to the present day. There are also chapters written from the point of view of different characters.

It’s a convoluted plot and we all felt that the confusing backwards-and-forwards narration slowed down the story. It’s not really until the second half of the book that the pieces fall into place and you understand not just what is happening, but why. By then almost everyone in our group had already worked out who the villain was.

Having said all this everyone agreed it was exciting to read and – once we’d been gripped by the story – we found it hard to put down. So, from a 5-Star accolade to mostly 3+ Stars we’d have to recommend this.

If you’re going to be able to get away this year, Don’t Turn Around would definitely be worth taking with you for holiday reading.

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