Never Look Back

Never Look Back

Reminiscent of the bestsellers of Laura Lippman and Harlan Coben—with a Serial-esque podcast twist—an absorbing, addictive tale of psychological suspense from the author of the highly acclaimed and Edgar Award-nominated What Remains of Me and the USA Today bestselling and Shamus Award-winning Brenna Spector series.When website columnist Robin Diamond is contacted by true c...

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Title:Never Look Back
Author:Alison Gaylin
Rating:

Never Look Back Reviews

  • NZLisaM

    In

    , teenage couple, April Cooper and Gabriel LeRoy went on a 13 day killing spree in California, ending in them both perishing in a fire.

    Quentin Garrison is working on a podcast called

    , based on the idea that even though the murders occurred more than forty years ago they still impact the lives of the survivors and their descendants. And, Quentin is one of them – his aunt was one of the victims.

    Film columnist, Robin Diamond receives a strange phone call

    In

    , teenage couple, April Cooper and Gabriel LeRoy went on a 13 day killing spree in California, ending in them both perishing in a fire.

    Quentin Garrison is working on a podcast called

    , based on the idea that even though the murders occurred more than forty years ago they still impact the lives of the survivors and their descendants. And, Quentin is one of them – his aunt was one of the victims.

    Film columnist, Robin Diamond receives a strange phone call from Quentin. He's been contacted by a man claiming to have recognised her mother, Renee, from a Mother's Day video Robin posted for her column. The witness is convinced that Renee is April Cooper, that he knew her personally after she was presumed dead in a fire. Robin dismisses the notion as preposterous, but soon after her parents are victims of a home invasion. Could Renee Diamond really be notorious serial killer April Cooper?

    Quentin and Robin each conduct their own investigations, determined to get to the truth. But doing so, will place their own lives in danger.

    Tense, horrifying, fast-paced, and emotionally affecting, I quickly devoured this psychological suspenseful read. There were twists aplenty, and they keep on coming until the last page. Protagonists, Quinten and Robin, narrated the present, with the 1976 events unfolding via chilling, journal-style,

    , written by April Cooper. The opening pages, April's first entry, a written assignment for her freshman social studies class, hooked me immediately, and chapter two in Quentin's POV quickly endeared me to his character, and I felt the same way when Robin was introduced. The premise reminded me a of a novel I read last year, but that's where the similarities ended, this one was a lot better.

    Content wise, there is nothing overly graphic or gruesome, no blow-by-blow of the murders April and Gabriel committed together. Instead, April's journals focus on her destructive and controlling, co-dependent relationship with Gabriel, and her secretive nature. I was expecting more of a focus on the podcast aspect, but the fact that there wasn't didn't make me feel like there was anything missing.

    novel,

    , was a huge hit for me, and

    will likely make my

    , end-of-year, top favourites list. This one's out

    , so make sure to mark your calendars, as it's not to be missed.

  • Berit☀️✨

    BEST THRILLER of the SUMMER!!!

    Alison Gaylin completely sucked me in with this tense absorbing dark story. 1976 California the Inland Empire ( fun fact is where I live). Two teenagers go on a killing spree that ends with them both dying in a fire. Present day quinton a crime podcaster is investigating these serial killers whose actions had a direct impact on his life. In the course of his investigation he happens across a film journalist living in New England who also has a tie to the story. What

    BEST THRILLER of the SUMMER!!!

    Alison Gaylin completely sucked me in with this tense absorbing dark story. 1976 California the Inland Empire ( fun fact is where I live). Two teenagers go on a killing spree that ends with them both dying in a fire. Present day quinton a crime podcaster is investigating these serial killers whose actions had a direct impact on his life. In the course of his investigation he happens across a film journalist living in New England who also has a tie to the story. What transpires is a tents and disturbing search for the truth. The book is told from the perspective of Quinton, Robin, and a young April Cooper (one of the teenagers). I found each of these characters perspectives unique and compelling. Aprils story was told to us in letters written to her future child, this was both chilling and endearing. Not going to lie I really liked April as well as Quinton and Robin and as things began to unravel I was shocked. This was a book that really made you question how well do you know the people in your life? Your parents? Your significant other? Your coworker? And the twists kept coming! As soon as I thought aha I got this figured out the book slammed me and said not so fast inspector Berit! This was just a brilliantly told story that kept me invested and on the edge from first page to last! If you love thrillers, books about serial killers, crime podcasts then this is a can’t miss!

    🎧🎧🎧

    Narrated by: Jorjeana Marie, James Fouhey

    Both narrators did a wonderful job with the narration of the story. As always getting a voice to extremely well develop characters just adds another dimension to the story. You can listen to the narrator’s as they present this scripted podcast of what Quinton was working on during this book.

    *** Big thanks to William Morrow for my copy of this book ***

  • DJ Sakata

    Favorite Quotes:

    When someone is that close, you don’t just hear a whisper. You feel it.

    She clutched a skittish little terrier in her arms that yapped and yapped, as though it had been born into the wrong life and was desperately trying to alert the world about it.

    And then I saw it happen: Officer Nelligan recognized us. I knew it before he said anything, just in the way he stopped talking, the way his back straightened, and he seemed to change shape, growing bigger and taller and meaner than he’

    Favorite Quotes:

    When someone is that close, you don’t just hear a whisper. You feel it.

    She clutched a skittish little terrier in her arms that yapped and yapped, as though it had been born into the wrong life and was desperately trying to alert the world about it.

    And then I saw it happen: Officer Nelligan recognized us. I knew it before he said anything, just in the way he stopped talking, the way his back straightened, and he seemed to change shape, growing bigger and taller and meaner than he’d been just two seconds earlier. I pictured buttons popping on his uniform, his rage turning him into a giant, a monster that could, would kill Gabriel and me…

    Time froze into a still photograph. I was standing at one end of a tunnel and Officer Nelligan was at the other and there was no one else in the world but the two of us.

    I think that spending all this time with Gabriel has made me turn a little, like when you leave a glass of milk out in the sun… Every day, I will do something good for a person or an animal. I won’t go to sleep until I’ve made someone’s life better. And all those good deeds will turn me back.

    Life rides some of us harder than others.

    The sky here is so beautiful— like someone spilled a jar of silver glitter over a black velvet cape.

    Summer glanced up to see the waitress standing over her, a look in her eye like they’d drawn straws back in the kitchen and she was the loser.

    My Review:

    After reading If I Die Tonight, I was aware of Ms. Gaylin’s uniquely devious style of slowly weaving seemingly unrelated yet mind-tickling events together into an ingeniously intriguing and complex tale of tragedy and secret lives. The characters were compelling yet deeply damaged and brimming with recalcitrant secrets and incongruence. The storylines were diabolically captivating and maddeningly paced, keeping my curiosity on a sharp edge. And to my unbridled delight, the last hundred pages exploded with twist after twist, it was brilliant. Alison Gaylin is an exceptional talent and has mad skills, but I can’t help but feel a bit fearful for her neighbors…

  • Brenda - Traveling Sister

    I loved If I Die Tonight by Alison Gaylin and was really excited when I got my hands on this one! There might have been some dancing going on. After reading Never Look Back there was definitely some dancing going on with my Traveling Sister Kim who read this one with me. We both really enjoyed this one.

    Never Look Back is a fast-paced, fun twisty and action-packed story that had me on the edge of my seat trying to piece together how everyone was connected to our teenage couple serial killers her

    I loved If I Die Tonight by Alison Gaylin and was really excited when I got my hands on this one! There might have been some dancing going on. After reading Never Look Back there was definitely some dancing going on with my Traveling Sister Kim who read this one with me. We both really enjoyed this one.

    Never Look Back is a fast-paced, fun twisty and action-packed story that had me on the edge of my seat trying to piece together how everyone was connected to our teenage couple serial killers here in this story.

    Alison Gaylin delivers quite the fun entertaining read here with each twist to the story as she delves into each character’s psyche. The story does have a predictable feel to it right from the start however Alison Gaylin has a way with those well-plotted twists that kept it feeling exciting. Each twist kept me guessing and doubting everything right up to the very end. I highly recommend for a tension-filled, entertaining read with some unsettling dark to it to keep you on edge. I highly recommend.

    I received a copy from the publisher.

  • Kim ~ It’s All About the Thrill

    Wow! Just flipping wow! This book captivated me from the very first page and never let up. Sometimes a book starts out with a bang and you think that surely the author will not be able to keep up that type of intensity all the way through the book, well this one does. This book was not on my radar and yet it is one of the best I have read so far this year!

    How well do you know those closest to you? Perhaps you think you know everything about your loved ones, but you may be surprised. Everyone has

    Wow! Just flipping wow! This book captivated me from the very first page and never let up. Sometimes a book starts out with a bang and you think that surely the author will not be able to keep up that type of intensity all the way through the book, well this one does. This book was not on my radar and yet it is one of the best I have read so far this year!

    How well do you know those closest to you? Perhaps you think you know everything about your loved ones, but you may be surprised. Everyone has their secrets, but just how dark are they? The 1970's string of grisly murders by a Bonnie and Clyde type couple April Cooper and Gabriel LeRoy were the furthest thing from Robin's mind. She wasn't even born yet and why would she have any concern with the so called Inland Empire Killers? 40 years later they are all she can think about. Every single waking moment she thinks about them.

    Quentin Garrish has a popular true crime podcast and he has reason to believe that Robin's mother Renee may in fact have a connection with the killing spree. Even though April and Gabriel have been long gone for 40 years after they met their demise in a fire, Quentin is determined to convince Robin that her living mother Renee is deeply involved.

    Talk about not being able to put a book down! This book had so many dark, twisted turns it kept me guessing until the end. I thought I had it figured out and then a new shocking twist would come to light. I can't recommend this book enough! I read this with one of my best book buddies Brenda at Two Sisters and a Coulee and this was a fantastic buddy read. I can't thank William Morrow enough for sending this ARC print copy my way. I have just found a new favorite author and will be reading her other books! This book is a must read in my opinion! I highly suggest you get your hands on a copy now!

  • Holly

    So good!!!!

  • Larry H

    "Is there a way to stop something that's meant to be, even if it's something you don't want?"

    In 1976, teenagers April Cooper and Gabriel LeRoy went on a killing spree in the Inland Empire area of Southern California. Twelve people—some known to the killers, some random victims—were killed before the couple died in a fire at a religious compound.

    While the story of the murderers was tabloid fodder for a while and they even were the subjects of a made-for-television movie, they soon faded into the

    "Is there a way to stop something that's meant to be, even if it's something you don't want?"

    In 1976, teenagers April Cooper and Gabriel LeRoy went on a killing spree in the Inland Empire area of Southern California. Twelve people—some known to the killers, some random victims—were killed before the couple died in a fire at a religious compound.

    While the story of the murderers was tabloid fodder for a while and they even were the subjects of a made-for-television movie, they soon faded into the peculiar history of serial killers and were mostly forgotten. But not by Quentin Garrison, who has a personal connection to Gabriel and April's crime spree years ago, and he believes that was responsible for his lousy childhood.

    Quentin is now a podcast producer focused on true crime, and both his husband and his best friend/co-producer convince him he should tie up the whole story as a way to bring himself closure. Yet when he receives a call from what appears to be a reliable source, saying that April Cooper is actually still alive and living in New York, Quentin is unsure whether closure will ever really be possible. Does he want April to be alive after all these years?

    Meanwhile, Robin Diamond is a controversial film reviewer for a popular entertainment website. She's never afraid to ruffle the feathers of their readers with her opinions, even if it brings crackpots to the surface. She's having doubts about her husband lately, but isn't sure if she really wants to know what has him working late and texting at all hours of the day and night. Regardless of all she's going through, she's not prepared for a phone call from Quentin asking about her mother's identity. And when a home invasion leaves her mother fighting for her life, she doesn't know what to believe.

    How well do we know our parents? Are they entitled to have secrets from us about their lives before we born, no matter how bad those secrets might be, or do we deserve full honesty? Can the truth really set us free, and is closure really possible?

    I loved Alison Gaylin's new thriller,

    . As I've stated many times before, I tend to be really hard on thrillers because I suspect everyone and over-analyze everything, so it takes a lot to surprise me. Gaylin definitely threw some twists and turns into her plot, and while not everything was shocking, the combination of mystery, suspicion, emotions, and character development really made this a compelling read.

    The book shifts narration between Quentin, Robin, and 15-year-old April (told in letters). There are lots of interesting connections that fall into place and lots of questions to answer. It's sad to see just how destructive secrets can be, potentially hurting not only those who have been keeping those secrets, but also having a ripple effect on others.

    Gaylin is a highly regarded thriller writer, but this is the first of her books I've read. I'm definitely going to read some of her earlier books, because I love the way she tells a story, and the plot and her characters were so well-developed. This book starts on a slow burn, but as it picks up steam, I couldn't turn the pages fast enough!

    See all of my reviews at

    .

    Check out my list of the best books I read in 2018 at

    .

    You can follow me on Instagram at

  • Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede

    Website columnist Robin Diamond is shocked when crime podcast producer Quentin Garrison contacts her and implies that Robin's mother was involved in a couple of murders back in the 70s. Robin is quite sure that this is impossible, but she can't help wondering why she knows so little about her mother's past. There is no way her mother could have participated in a murder spree. And, beside both killers are dead, so there is no way her mother could be a killer. Then, tragedy strikes when someone br

    Website columnist Robin Diamond is shocked when crime podcast producer Quentin Garrison contacts her and implies that Robin's mother was involved in a couple of murders back in the 70s. Robin is quite sure that this is impossible, but she can't help wondering why she knows so little about her mother's past. There is no way her mother could have participated in a murder spree. And, beside both killers are dead, so there is no way her mother could be a killer. Then, tragedy strikes when someone breaks in and shots both her parents. Could this have something to do with the old murder case?

  • Dennis

    Alison Gaylin, you are an

    . Kudos to writing such a beautifully told mystery/thriller—

    is a fun, dark, ride! In the same vein as the podcast

    or the

    series by Matt Wesolowski, we are taken on a podcaster's journey to find the truth. Quentin Garrison has begun producing his podcast,

    , where it will center around murderous couple April Cooper and Gabriel LeRoy—a duo that invoked multiple murders during the 1970s, including April's own father!

    Alison Gaylin, you are an

    . Kudos to writing such a beautifully told mystery/thriller—

    is a fun, dark, ride! In the same vein as the podcast

    or the

    series by Matt Wesolowski, we are taken on a podcaster's journey to find the truth. Quentin Garrison has begun producing his podcast,

    , where it will center around murderous couple April Cooper and Gabriel LeRoy—a duo that invoked multiple murders during the 1970s, including April's own father!

    Without giving much away, Quentin and his partner Summer investigate the murder closely and he stumbles over mysterious footage linking the murders to another woman—a woman still alive to this day—to these crimes. Quentin reaches out to Robin Diamond, daughter of this mysterious woman, to find out more information linking the puzzle pieces of this mystery together. Robin is hesitant to believe Quentin at first, but as the story begins to unravel, Robin can't help but see similarities. What Quentin and Robin are about to uncover will shock everyone.

    is definitely one of the best told mysteries that I've read this year. I was completely gripped from the first chapter, and I couldn't put this book down. I really enjoyed reading Quentin and Robin's point of views, and I was curious to see how the story would unfold. Alison Gaylin gets right to the point with this story—no fluff or secondary plot holes thrown in to keep the story going. Action-packed from the beginning, this story is fast and direct. It's focused on a centralized story and each page continues to craft that mystery further. In fact, I would have probably given this book 5 stars, but I felt that it was more predictable than I would've liked. I was able to figure out the ending about halfway into the story, but even as I was figuring the story out, I still couldn't put it down. Alison Gaylin is a new author for me, but

    will not be the last book I read from her.

  • Rachel

    I am giving this unique thriller/ coming of age novel

    .

    The book opens with a letter written by April Cooper in 1976 to her future daughter explaining that her ex-boyfriend, Gabriel killed her stepfather and pressured an unwilling April to go into hiding with him. Unsurprisingly, Gabriel is way more unstable than 15 year old April could have ever imagined. It wasn’t long before their “laying low and hiding” turned into an infamous killing spree through Sou

    I am giving this unique thriller/ coming of age novel

    .

    The book opens with a letter written by April Cooper in 1976 to her future daughter explaining that her ex-boyfriend, Gabriel killed her stepfather and pressured an unwilling April to go into hiding with him. Unsurprisingly, Gabriel is way more unstable than 15 year old April could have ever imagined. It wasn’t long before their “laying low and hiding” turned into an infamous killing spree through Southern California and Death Valley. The police and public considered them to be a modern day Bonnie and Clyde, assuming April both approved of and participated in these murders. The press even gave them a name, dubbing them

    In the present day, Quinton Garrison, a true crime podcast reporter/ producer is working with his production partner, Summer, on a podcast about The Inland Empire Killers and how the killings still affect the lives of the victims families. This podcast is to be called

    because Quinton has a painful connection to the story and needs to put that chapter of his life to rest. When a man calls Summer to say he thinks April is still alive and living in a small NY town, Quinton hops on a plane to see if this woman could actually be April.

    Meanwhile, in Tarry Ridge, NY, journalists Robin Diamond receives a call from Quinton. Quinton wants to meet with her to discuss his upcoming podcast and the fact that his source led him to her mother, Renee. Robin tells Quinton she thinks he’s off base and opts not to meet him. Yet, in the back of her mind, Robin cannot help but consider his story... after all, she really knows nothing about her mother’s life before her parents met. Less than 24 hours later, someone enters her parents house and shoots both of them.

    The book flips back and forth between April’s letters to her future daughter in 1976, Quinton’s podcast research and Robin desperately trying to figure out what happened to her parents and who her mother really is. The three story lines converge eventually, creating a hard to forget tale with many layers.

    I was fascinated from page one! The “letters to a future daughter” were so sad, sweet, hopeful and deeply disturbing. They really did sound like a fifteen year old girl’s voice. She sounded young, vulnerable and in over her head. It was so interesting to watch how everything April had been through gradually changed her. How she went from being a very innocent, sweet girl to becoming a strong woman who had seen way too much and is quite capable of taking care of herself.

    All three of the story lines were very compelling. Interestingly, the majority of the main characters were journalists. This profession worked for the story because each character had some investigating to do and journalists tend to be equipped with all the skills necessary for investigations. Each of the characters had some sort of issue or disappointment related to their parents and had deeply suffered from it, yet each character handled the suffering in vastly different ways.

    I was able to sympathize with and understand each of the main characters, even when they were not on their best behavior. Everyone, with the exception of Gabriel, had at least something likable about them. They were not just black or white, which was kind of the whole theme of the book; nobody is just one thing or act but the sum of all their parts and actions.

    While this book was not specifically based on a true story, it was inspired by a similar true crime from the 1950’s. That crime inspired several books and movies. I highly recommend reading the authors short blurb at the end of the book explaining all this. It is quick and quite informative.

    The ending was a little disappointing to me. I don’t want to explain what I didn’t love about it, it would ruin the ending for anyone who reads my review. I will say, however, the ending knocked it from a 4 Star to a 3.5 for me.

    This one is a real ‘thinker,’ I’m finding myself unable to stop thinking about it. In fact, I may head over to my parents house and see if my mother is hiding anything in her dresser drawers...

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