Review: Don't Look Back by Gregg Hurwitz (4/5)

Monday 18 August 2014
Eve Hardaway, newly single mother of one, is on a trip she’s long dreamed of—a rafting and hiking tour through the jungles and mountains of Oaxaca, in southern Mexico. Eve wanders off the trail, to a house in the distance with a menacing man in the yard beyond it, throwing machetes at a human-shaped target. Disturbed by the sight, Eve moves quickly and quietly back to her group, taking care to avoid being seen. As she creeps along, she finds a broken digital camera, marked with the name Teresa Hamilton. Later that night, in a rarely used tourist cabin, she finds a discarded prescription bottle—also with the name Teresa Hamilton. From the camera’s memory card, Eve discovers Teresa Hamilton took a photo of that same menacing looking man in the woods. Teresa Hamilton has since disappeared.

Now the man in the woods is after whoever was snooping around his house. With a violent past and deadly mission, he will do anything to avoid being discovered. A major storm wipes out the roads and all communication with the outside world. Now the tour group is trapped in the jungle with a dangerous predator with a secret to protect. With her only resource her determination to live, Eve must fight a dangerous foe and survive against incredible odds—if she's to make it back home alive. 

Confession time: This is my first Gregg Hurwitz novel. I know, I know, how is that possible? I've had his books on my TBR for a while I've just never got round to them. That is a mistake I will hopefully be rectifying in the near future as I really enjoyed this book. It had almost a horror story feel to it in the opening pages especially as we read about a woman being captured by a rather scary individual and then meet Eve as she witnesses said individual throwing knives at the woman. Eve is on a rafting and hiking tour with a bunch of strangers, it was a planned trip with her husband until they separated. In the beginning I felt it was a bit rushed, we had only just met Eve and then we were reading about her marriage breakdown and you couldn't really sympathise because you didn't know her that well.

With books like these I always hope they will be written well and almost feel like a movie rather than a book and Don't Look Back definitely did. Hugely atmospheric, quite scary in places yet thrilling in others it was insanely gripping and incredibly difficult to put down. It's action packed and the scenes created are just amazing. Part of you wants to look away and hide and yet the other just can't read quick enough. To elabroate further than what the already quite revealing blurb tells us would of course ruin the reading experience but the man in the woods is certainly the stuff of nightmares and not somebody you would want hunting you through the jungle with murder on his mind. Despite the fact it took me a while to like the character of Eve once I did I was really rooting for her throughout the book.

The last section of the book is where the action really picks up (as is usually the case) and before you know it the book is over. Ultimately it has left me feeling excited at being able to go back and read Hurwitz's other novels which I will be hoping to do soon. From other reviews it seems this could be a bit of a Marmite book yet I enjoyed it immensely and have no trouble recommending it to people looking for a gripping thriller to read this Summer.

Thanks to St. Martin's Press for the NetGalley review copy!

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