Thursday, 20 March 2014

Never Look Back by Clare Donoghue

review by Maryom

A killer is stalking the streets of south-east London - three young women have so far been found raped and murdered, barely a few yards from help, and the killer is getting more confident, convinced the police can't catch him. DI Mike Lockyer, in charge of the investigation, is in desperate need of a break, something, any thing, that will link the victims and put his team on the trail of the killer before he strikes again. His DS, Jane Bennett, thinks she may have a lead - Sarah Grainger has reported a stalker; an anonymous caller has been telephoning her, at first intermittently but building up to a dreadful night of hourly calls, and he may now be watching her house. Could this be the lead, Lockyer is looking for?

Never Look Back is a compelling, tense and, yes, terrifying debut. It starts with an immediate 'bang', in fact two - a prologue with an insight into the killer and his weird plans, immediately followed by a murder in Chapter 1. Admittedly, a crime novel has to start with either a murder or the finding of a body but somehow, told from the perspective of the victim, this one really got to me.
The plot is extremely well constructed without at any point feeling contrived. The police investigation twines nicely around Lockyer's private life - his troubled relationships with his teenage daughter and autistic brother, and a growing romantic liaison -  and all of these threads pull together at the end.  
Never Look Back is the sort of read that gets under your skin and will have you constantly checking over your shoulder as you walk down that deserted street - maybe best read in the safety of your own home.

Maryom's Review - 4.5 stars
Publisher - Pan Books
Genre - Adult crime, police procedural

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