Don't Look Back: A Novel

Don't Look Back: A Novel

by Gregg Hurwitz

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250068316
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 12/01/2015
Pages: 448
Sales rank: 260,656
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 7.50(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

GREGG HURWITZ is the New York Times bestselling author of many thrillers, most recently Don't Look Back, Tell No Lies, and The Survivor. His novels have been shortlisted for numerous literary awards, graced top ten lists, and have been translated into 22 languages. He is also a New York Times Bestselling comic book writer, having penned stories for Marvel (Wolverine, Punisher) and DC (Batman, Penguin). Additionally, he's written screenplays for or sold spec scripts to many of the major studios, and written, developed, and produced television for various networks. He recently announced that he will be developing his Tim Rackley books for TNT/Sony. Gregg resides in Los Angeles.

Read an Excerpt

Don't Look Back

A Novel


By Gregg Hurwitz

St. Martin's Press

Copyright © 2015 Gregg Hurwitz
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-250-06831-6


Chapter 1

“How many…?” Her mouth was dry. “How many times?”

Rick looked up at her from his perch on the faux-leather chair, elbow resting on the desk they’d crammed into the master bedroom. The computer monitor at his shoulder gave his face a jaundiced pall. “Five, six. Maybe seven.”

Eve wet her lips, fought her breathing into some semblance of a rhythm. “Where?”

“Her place, usually.”

“Usually?”

“A car. Once.”

“A car,” Eve said. “Jesus. A car.” Her hand had made a fist in the bedspread, pulling the fabric into a swirl.

That strangled Inner Voice piped up: Don’t ask. Don’t

“What’s she look like?” Eve asked.

She could feel the sweat beading above the neckline of the worn nursing scrub top she slept in—Los Angeles hadn’t gotten the memo that it was supposed to be winter.

Rick rested the points of his fingers on his kneecap, as if to extract the bone. He cleared his throat. “She’s … elegant. Does Pilates. Blond. An accountant. From Amsterdam.”

Elegant. Blond. Pilates. Each specific, an arrow punching through flesh.

Eve looked down at her stretched-out scrub top. She had the kind of plain good looks that aunts called pretty, but never had she been described as “elegant.”

That’s enough now. Trust me, you don’t want to know anything else.

“How … how old is she?”

He waved a hand. “I don’t know what that has to do with it.” It was a halfhearted attempt, she could tell, and he relented under her skeptical glare. “Twenty-six.”

Her mouth made a few attempts before she got the words out. “So she was eight when we were eighteen.”

“Why is that…?”

“We could legally vote, Rick. And she was having a My Pretty Pony–themed birthday party.”

An image swept in unannounced, her and Rick’s third date, them in the car, driving up PCH to Malibu for a lazy beach day. He’d guessed her favorite Beatles song on the first try—“Let It Be.” Two hundred and thirteen songs, and he’d known.

How far from there to here. And no bread-crumb trail leading back.

“Remember Malibu?” she asked. Their shorthand.

He gave a woeful nod.

“I wish you still looked at me like that. Like I was … special.” Her vision was blurry—she’d held out until now, but then she’d heard the words, even from her own mouth, and that had done it. She hated herself for being such a goddamned open book.

He spread his hands, laced them again. “What am I supposed to say?”

You’re supposed to say, You’re still special.

She wiped her cheeks. “I don’t know.”

A burst of animation rocked him forward in the chair. “I feel like our lives have turned into this soulless, scheduled bullshit. E-mails and PowerPoint presentations and e-mails about PowerPoint presentations, and none of it matters. None of it. Matters.” He was talking fast, which he did when he was upset, words and sentences tumbling out. “It’s like we never stopped and looked at each other and said, ‘We don’t want to live like this.’”

Her gaze found the airplane tickets in their optimistic yellow sleeves on the bookshelf. Their ten-year anniversary was nine months off, and just last week she’d cashed in miles for a vacation package—a full week in the jungles of Oaxaca. Rick thought the trip ambitious, but she’d studied biology with a minor in Spanish, so why not? Plus, the state was the safest in Mexico, none of the narco violence that had people going missing and decapitated corpses washing up even in Acapulco. Just a chance to escape all the petty distractions, the tentacles of modern communication, the tiny violations that chipped away at them minute after minute. A chance to clear their heads, breathe fresh air, get out of range. A chance to remember who they were.

Seven times. Seven. Times.

Rick’s cell phone chirped a text alert, and she couldn’t help wondering. Past his sallow face, the computer glowed, his Gmail open, four unread e-mails. The screen refreshed, another bold message ticking into the in-box. The life of a public defender, always on call for crises most likely to occur at night, on weekends, in the middle of marital catastrophes.

“—job I hate, can barely keep us in the house,” he was saying. “I’m grinding out hours, get home, no energy, you’re there with HGTV on—”

“I watch TV at night,” she said, “because I’m lonely.”

“I’m not a mind reader, Eve.”

A metallic scrape of latch against strike plate announced the door’s opening. Nicolas stood in the narrow gap, door and jamb pressing either shoulder, his seven-year-old face taut with concern.

In his droopy pajamas, he brought to mind John Darling from Peter Pan, with his tall, dignified forehead, the glasses framing oversize Disney eyes. His tufts of blond hair were tinged faintly green from chlorine. Despite the avalanche of emotions currently threatening to submerge her, she had to be up in six hours to get him to swim practice.

“Why are you yelling?” Nicolas asked.

She forced a smile out of the black inner swamp, fought it onto her face. “I’m sorry we woke you, Little,” she said. “We’re having a … disagreement.”

“No,” Nicolas said. “Daddy was yelling.”

“I wasn’t yelling,” Rick said.

“I think we could both stand to keep our voices down,” she said.

Rick dipped his head remorsefully, and Nicolas withdrew. The air conditioner labored ineffectively.

“I didn’t know you felt alone when you watched TV,” Rick said. “I thought you didn’t want to talk to me.”

His expression of vulnerability choked off her reply. Fourteen years in, and still the sight of his suffering gave her an ache beneath the ribs, no matter—evidently—the circumstances.

“I thought you were sick of me,” he said. “Last month.…” His lips trembled, and he pressed his knuckles to his mouth. “Last month you purse-dialed me. You and Nicolas were singing in the car—‘Hey, soul sister, I don’t wanna miss a single thing ya do.…’ It was magical.” He took a jerky breath. “I wished I was with you.”

She wondered when they stopped telling each other things like that. Pulling a thread in the hem of her scrub top, she watched it neatly unravel the seam.

“Then I thought,” he continued, “if I was with you, maybe you wouldn’t be singing.”

She didn’t say anything, because he was probably right.

“We never found our way back to each other after Nick was born,” he said, with a slightly practiced air that made her wonder if he’d made this case before, to friends, his shrink, maybe even to her. After Pilates. “All the craziness of a newborn, the adjustments. And when he got sick, those sleepless nights ruling out the scary stuff. Then the diet, which grains are okay, where to find gluten-free pasta, all that attention. I wonder sometimes what we’d have to talk about if it wasn’t that.”

She’d wondered the same but had never voiced it. She marveled at how Rick did that. Just stated what he was feeling, bold and direct, hitting the nails on the heads, one after another, no matter what they pierced. And her, lost in a haze, groping for bearings.

A car? Really? In a car?

“I feel like I always let you down, Evie.”

His cell phone sounded again. She looked away, her eye again catching on the anniversary-trip tickets resting hopefully on the bookshelf. Behind them Moby-Dick sat dusty and unread, glaring out from beneath the price sticker it still bore from the UCLA bookstore, inducing guilt with all 1,011 pages. She was always going to read it next month. When she looked back, she saw that three more e-mails had arrived in Rick’s in-box. She wondered how many waited in her own, from the nurse manager, the swim coach, the orthodontist. Life cranking mercilessly onward.

She tried to pull words from the molasses of her thoughts, to piece them together. “We fail each other,” she said. “That’s part of being human. No one can be perfect. But we try to figure it out together. Not with…” She swallowed back the bitterness. “That’s the deal, right? We keep fighting and fixing and trying. Which is the best anyone can ask for. So many couples just … give up or give in.”

“I’m tired, Evie.”

His blond hair was shaggy, his face unshaven, the messy good looks on display that had drawn her to him their senior year at UCLA. College sweethearts. They’d been warned, but no. It was gonna be all candlelit meals and late-night assignations in the Jacuzzi. And now he’d found someone elegant.

“We were gonna be different,” she said.

“Something’s just not there,” he said. “I can’t find it anymore. In you.”

The words blew a fist-size hole right through her chest. Her voice, barely audible: “It’s there.”

“You never show it to me anymore.” He saw her expression and started to cry. “I’m sorry, Evie. I’m so goddamned sorry.”

She wanted to tell him to go fuck his elegant Dutch Pilates accountant, but she thought of Nicolas beyond the thin wall and bit her lip, hard.

She lowered her head, picked at the sheet, waiting for her throat to open back up. She couldn’t push out the words, but her Inner Voice was there, clear as day.

It said, When did I stop being something worth fighting for?

Copyright © 2014 by Gregg Hurwitz


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Don't Look Back by Gregg Hurwitz. Copyright © 2015 Gregg Hurwitz. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Don't Look Back 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"Don't Look Back" is a terrific read; full of well developed characters, action, tension, thrills, scary bad guys, and terrific in the moment plot! A testament to perseverence, maternal love, and even a lesson in the history of eternal hatred with religion at the base. While giving us a fantastic story, Hurwitz even managed to enlighten us with some little bit of understanding of why there is so much hatred of the West embedded in the more militant sects of Islam. I was very much impressed and interested in the back story of terrorist cell gossip and personal competition - very timely with the present world crises. This book had it all and was so much more than a "thriller", which it may not have been before current events began to unfold. Great story AND great publication timing! (One caveat: I do wish B&N could get their QA better on e-books - hate that I have to keep searching for the right next page instead of being thrown back into previously read pages!) S. F. Davis
sadiesb More than 1 year ago
I love GREGG HURWITZ.  Don't Look Back another outstanding work..................starts out little slow but then the twists and turns just keep coming.  Hard to put this one down -- like all of his other novels.  
Twink More than 1 year ago
It's no secret that I love to read thrillers. When asked for recommendations at the library, I offer up Linwood Barclay, Harlan Coben and Gregg Hurwitz as really good authors in this genre. Hurwitz's latest book, Don't Look Back, uses a premise that I never tire of - an everyday person put into an untenable situation with everything on the line. Fun escapist reading, akin to watching action movies. After a divorce, Eve decides to follow through with a planned trip to a wilderness escape in Mexico, despite the fact that she'll now be travelling alone. When she wanders off the path on one of the first outings, she comes across a frightening looking man practicing throwing machetes at a human target. She quickly ducks down and finds a broken camera on the ground. She grabs it and quickly runs away. But when she looks at the photos, she sees disturbing images of this same man. She also discovers that the owner of the camera is a former guest of the resort - now gone missing. All the right ingredients are here for a thrilling read - a very scary guy with his own agenda who you won't see coming, a tropical storm that knocks the power out and along with it any outside communications. Throw in that everyday woman with a young son back in the States and you've got a great David and Goliath match. Welcome to the jungle.... Eve is a well drawn protagonist, not overly capable in the beginning, but growing into her untapped strengths as the danger grows. There's a mixed cast of supporting characters, but much like those scary suspense films, not all of them make it 'til the end. Hurwitz's choice of setting was well described and offered up lots of additional danger via the jungle and the wildlife. The swarm ants make my skin crawl..... As for the antagonist, his agenda is an oft used one lately, but it's still very effective at engaging and enraging the reader. And will have readers frantically urging Eve on. Although I did find myself skimming over some of his diatribes. Hurwitz has crafted a page turning thriller that you'll end up devouring in no time flat. Don't Look Back went to the beach with me one day and was almost done by the time I headed home. The action is non-stop and the tension ratchets up and up with every page turned. Over the top? Yes, in parts it is, but go with it, it's a heck of a good escapist piece of fiction. Think scary movie at the drive in.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Awesome read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love this book. Couldn't put it down. The action never stopped.
Scov More than 1 year ago
This is a thriller you won't want to put down!! I'll be reading more of Gregg Hurwitz novels!!¿¿
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Unbelievable book with so much character depth. Like other Renee reviewers, i stayed up all night to finish. Highly recommend.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A reluctant, surprising heroine in a personal upheaval as her marriage abruptly dissolves, sending her on a trip of a lifetime to the jungles of remotest Mexico for a chance to put her life and head back together, to be a better Mom to her young son. Of course, Mr. Hurwitz ensures there is much action, fear and horror to turn the idyllic vacationing parties into the prey of a war criminal you have never seen before! Enjoyed this novel immensely!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the first book I have read by this author, and am glad I did. Usually it takes a lot for a book to actually scare me, or have me on the edge of my seat, reading as fast as i can to find out what happens next, but this one accomplished all of those things. I will admit I did skim over some parts, and sentences becauase they were just boring, or unneeded information, but it did not take away from the book at all. Once the action got started it never let up. Most books have some action here & there, and then a climax at the end. Most are short and sometimes feel rushed. This book had non stop suspense and thrills until the end. Its not for the faint of heart, but nothing too gory either. I cannot say if his other books are as great as this one, but if so I will be doing lots of reading in the next week. I finished this book in a few hours. Favorite authors of mine that write thrilling books like this are, Karin Slaughter, Michael Prescott, Kevin O Brien, Lisa Jackson, Lisa Gardner, Tami Hoag, Karen Rose, and Brenda Novak.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is a stinker. Having read several of his books, which were very good, I had high hopes; not to be realized however. Once the story got rolling, it reminded me of the old movie serials, jumping from one disaster to the next. The protagonists make one stupid mistake after another. There are a lot of dumb incidents, e.g an engineer who can't figure out how to replace a battery cable; why doesn't someone go for help, etc. However, it would make a good movie where that kind dumb is acceptable. There are twists and turns in the story that help but I wish I had spent my $ elsewhere.
Carstairs38 More than 1 year ago
Danger Lurks in the Jungle While I have fallen into the cozy subgenre and can’t seem to get out (not that I’m trying that hard), I do enjoy the occasional darker book. One of my go to authors for thrillers is Gregg Hurwitz because they are always page turners. In fact, I try to save them for plane rides if I can, and a recent business trip across the country provided me with the perfect chance to read Don’t Look Back. I was glad I allowed uninterrupted hours to read this book. For her tenth anniversary, Eve Hardaway plans to take the long dreamed of trip to the jungles of southern Mexico. After purchasing the trip months in advance, she learns her husband is leaving her for another woman. However, instead of canceling the trip, she decides to go to, hoping that the time away from her life will help her rediscover who she is. The ultimate destination for this trip is a remote camp, and Eve is enjoying relaxing and the beautiful scenery around her. Then, without realizing it, Eve makes a terrible discovery. When she does learn what she has stumbled upon, she realizes that she and everyone else at the camp are in danger. With a rain storm moving in to the area, will they be able to stay alive long enough to get out? The book did take a while to get going while we were introduced to Eve and the rest of the potential victims of the madman that would be unleashed on the group. Once things got started, the tension builds and never lets up even with all the time we spend hiking in the jungle. There are logical reasons why the group doesn’t just leave quickly but must seek other ways to get help. Trust me, by the end, I was turning the pages as quickly as I could to find out how things would turn out and I was glad I had a long plane ride to finish it. I liked Eve and sympathized with her right away, which is good since this is really her story. The other characters were a bit of a mixed lot based on first impressions. Some of them grew on me as the book progressed, others actually get on my nerves more, but that was by design and shows how a person’s true nature comes out when faced with serious danger. The antagonist was an interesting character. At times, he felt a bit over the top or supernatural, like the villain in a slasher film (or maybe that’s just my obsession with the genre). However, he became more human as the book progressed. Not that I ever liked him; he was pure evil. As the story reached the climax, I marveled at just how Gregg used things that had happened earlier in the book later in the story. Nothing is wasted, although the beginning does still seem a tad slow overall. One reason I love his books is because Gregg is such a fantastic writer. He knows how to give us the details of a scene without breaking the tension at all. And boy does he know how to build the tension. If you are looking for something with more tension and thrills, Don’t Look Back is definitely for you. Once you get started, you won’t look back until you finish the book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Took me 1/3 through to get really caught up in story once i did it was exciting not "your nexr" exciting but exciting non-the-less great author
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
by far this book , "dont look back' is one of the best books I have read could not put it down and when I had to I could not wait to get back in it.I makes you feel like you are in the book
gloriafeit More than 1 year ago
The title derives from words spoken by a mysterious figure at the heart of this book, an exhortation not to be taken lightly. When the warning is ignored, in the early pages of the novel, it is the last mistake made by the woman to whom it is spoken. The man is lethal in a nearly unbelievable way, well-trained in jihadi tactics, and intent on only one thing: That no one must see him, no one must endanger his hard-won invisibility. Our protagonist, Eve Hardaway, single mother of an adored 14-year-old boy, has taken a rafting and hiking trip in the mountains of Oaxaca, in Southern Mexico. Having come upon the fatal encounter referenced above, she is plunged into the most threatening and dire of situations, both nature-made and man-made, exhibiting incredible bravery. The man hunting her, having seen her observing his murderous actions, has almost inhuman expertise in all things offensive and defensive. Eve is facing unimaginable odds and a relentless adversary. In fact, that last adjective describes the book as a whole, for it too is relentless. So much so that I kept finding myself wanting to put the book down, but could not bring myself to do so. The author’s descriptions of the jungle and its inhabitants, human and otherwise, are very well wrought. There are occasional chapters from the pov of Eve’s adversary, giving the reader a glimpse into the mind and heart of a man who is basically, in addition to and despite being a devoutly religious man, a homicidal terrorist. The book spans about one week, but the scenes that play out sometimes seem endless. Eve is one of a group of seven, of varying ages and greater or lesser abilities under these threatening circumstances, and they each find their bravery and loyalty to one another tested. At some point they see the reality of the situation: “Us vs. nature. Us vs. him.” Which just about sums it up. Despite some reservations, the novel is recommended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
OnLocation More than 1 year ago
Fabulously entertaining. Unputdownable!
AnnVR More than 1 year ago
Kept me up all night! Had to keep reading in one sitting.
Ziggle More than 1 year ago
Overall, this was a good book!  I gave it 4 out of 5, because the explanation of the creepy guy caught me off guard and I didn't think it helped the story.  
JackieBCentralTexasJB More than 1 year ago
Read from July 17 to 18, 2014 Book Info  Kindle Edition, 400 pages Expected publication: August 19th 2014 by St. Martin's Press (first published August 15th 2014) ASIN B00ID8R1NU edition language English other editions (6) Source:Netgalley EARC Book Buy Links  Amazon  B&N  BOOK SYNOPSIS "Smart and relentless… Hurwitz starts the pressure early and never, never lets up." —The Plain Dealer (Cleveland) on You’re Next In Don't Look Back, 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. My Thoughts This story lulls the reader into a false sense of serenity by starting out fairly tamely with the recounting of the beauty that Eve and her fellow tour group travelers are exposed to within the wilds of the Mexican jungle. The hidden dangers amongst the deceptive beauty are soon pointed out however and play a huge role in foreshadowing what is to come. It takes about a third of the way through before the sense of urgency and suspense that we experience right along with Eve and the other characters grabs hold and never lets go! From the moment Eve manages to find the digital camera belonging to Teresa Hamilton things start to heat up, ultimately her once-in-a-lifetime trip becomes a struggle to survive and make it home once again to her seven year old son Nicolas. With that looming in her mind as motivation you will be amazed at what this unassuming woman is capable of when given no other choice but to fight for her very life, she won my admiration hands down with the way in which she evolved over the course of the story from fairly meek to a total force to be reckoned with as she used her wits over the brawn of her deadly adversary. For a story that starts out slowly this one evolves into a nightmare of terror fueled proportions that will have you scared to death but so hooked that you have to keep reading to find out how it ends. Great twists that make you think hard about what it would take to survive in Eve's situation. [EArc from Netgalley in exchange for honest review]