Never Look Back
A. L. Gaylin
4th July 2019
Some people deserve to die. Others never should have been born at all.
In 1975, 15 year old April Cooper and her 18 year old boyfriend embark on a week-long killing spree that results in the deaths in a dozen innocent people in Southern California’s San Gabriel Valley. Was April a willing accomplice or a victim herself, abducted by an obsessed psychopath and forced into committing horrible acts?
No one will ever know for sure, as April and Eric were apparently killed in a bloody shoot-out at the Death Valley compound of their final victims – a family of off-the-grid survivalists known as The Gideons.
In 2015, Robin Brennan’s parents have been involved in a shooting. Her father is dead, and her mother in a critical state, with Robin desperate for her to wake.
But when Jameson Malloy, the host of CLOSURE – a true crime podcast investigating the San Gabriel Valley murder – shows up, Robin soon learns that her parents are maybe not who they say they are…
Never Look Back by Alison Gaylin is a unique and gripping read. I honestly didn’t expect the way the storyline went in terms of the plot as a whole. I loved just how dramatic the events of the novel were and felt like Gaylin’s voice was one of the strongest points.
Told from various perspectives, Never Look Back follows Quentin on his search for the truth about a notorious duo of teen serial killers, Gabriel LeRoy and April Cooper for his true crime podcast. Quentin believes that Robin’s mother is one of them, despite reports showing that both killers died in a fire twenty years ago. With many a twist and turn, people die and others come back into town and from there the truth will unfold.
I really enjoyed Never Look Back by A. L. Gaylin. I truly believe this is a unique story and one that could not be easily replicated. Characters Quentin and Dean, Robin and Eric were the focus and while I will say that I didn’t particularly warm to any one in particular, I found that they complemented one another and offered an interesting dynamic that enhanced the story greatly.
Now, this killer of a plot was crafted by Gaylin and she makes the unbelievable believable. I thought that the character drop-one were done early enough so they didn’t come across as forced or just to be used as a plot device. I found the letter sections to be the most compelling as I love knowing how something ends but not how it unfolds.
Overall, this would be a 4.5* read. I would recommend to people who like softer serial killer narratives that consider more about the why as opposed to just straight murder and thrill. Thank you Tracy for organising this fantastic tour!