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Linwood Barclay meets Michael Farris Smith in this Southern-set domestic thriller about family, vengeance, and atonement from critically acclaimed Southern mystery novelist Christopher Swann. The bonds of family never truly let go. In fact, its grip only tightens the further you try to run: crushing and crippling. Ethan Faulkner is a precocious child with a brilliant but trou Linwood Barclay meets Michael Farris Smith in this Southern-set domestic thriller about family, vengeance, and atonement from critically acclaimed Southern mystery novelist Christopher Swann. The bonds of family never truly let go. In fact, its grip only tightens the further you try to run: crushing and crippling. Ethan Faulkner is a precocious child with a brilliant but troublesome sister, a war vet for a father and a weary mother trying to manage their family. One night, a young woman rings their doorbell, desperate to hide from two men who are pursuing her when one of the two barges in after her. The struggle leaves both of Ethan's parents dead. Years later, Ethan has a successful teaching career and a budding relationship with a coworker, Marisa. But he hasn't quite followed through on his promise to dying father--take care of his sister. Susannah is not an easy person to keep tabs on, is a handful even when the tabs are kept, and quite frankly, Ethan wants her to suffer for preventing him from getting to dad before he died all those years ago. It was a long time ago and Ethan tries to all of it behind him. But it seems to be the only thing Marisa is interested in discussing. When Ethan attempts to break it off, Marisa's reaction threatens to shatter the life that Ethan has carefully constructed. Before long, news of a shocking murder breaks with evidence pointing to Ethan as the prime suspect, leaving him no choice but to dig up the painful memories of the past in order to find the truth of the present. Lyrically conveyed with emotion and nuance, Never Turn Back is a powerful story about family, vengeance, and how some actions echo through the years with irreparable consequences.


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Linwood Barclay meets Michael Farris Smith in this Southern-set domestic thriller about family, vengeance, and atonement from critically acclaimed Southern mystery novelist Christopher Swann. The bonds of family never truly let go. In fact, its grip only tightens the further you try to run: crushing and crippling. Ethan Faulkner is a precocious child with a brilliant but trou Linwood Barclay meets Michael Farris Smith in this Southern-set domestic thriller about family, vengeance, and atonement from critically acclaimed Southern mystery novelist Christopher Swann. The bonds of family never truly let go. In fact, its grip only tightens the further you try to run: crushing and crippling. Ethan Faulkner is a precocious child with a brilliant but troublesome sister, a war vet for a father and a weary mother trying to manage their family. One night, a young woman rings their doorbell, desperate to hide from two men who are pursuing her when one of the two barges in after her. The struggle leaves both of Ethan's parents dead. Years later, Ethan has a successful teaching career and a budding relationship with a coworker, Marisa. But he hasn't quite followed through on his promise to dying father--take care of his sister. Susannah is not an easy person to keep tabs on, is a handful even when the tabs are kept, and quite frankly, Ethan wants her to suffer for preventing him from getting to dad before he died all those years ago. It was a long time ago and Ethan tries to all of it behind him. But it seems to be the only thing Marisa is interested in discussing. When Ethan attempts to break it off, Marisa's reaction threatens to shatter the life that Ethan has carefully constructed. Before long, news of a shocking murder breaks with evidence pointing to Ethan as the prime suspect, leaving him no choice but to dig up the painful memories of the past in order to find the truth of the present. Lyrically conveyed with emotion and nuance, Never Turn Back is a powerful story about family, vengeance, and how some actions echo through the years with irreparable consequences.

30 review for Never Turn Back

  1. 5 out of 5

    Marilyn

    Ethan Faulkner and his family were victims of a home invasion that killed his parents more than twelve years ago. On the surface, Ethan has put this horrendous time of his life behind him and almost no one in his present day life knows about what happened in the past. But a one night stand that turns into more also turns his well tamped down life and past into turmoil. I read several reviews for Never Turn Back before I could read my copy and many of them mentioned going into this story blind an Ethan Faulkner and his family were victims of a home invasion that killed his parents more than twelve years ago. On the surface, Ethan has put this horrendous time of his life behind him and almost no one in his present day life knows about what happened in the past. But a one night stand that turns into more also turns his well tamped down life and past into turmoil. I read several reviews for Never Turn Back before I could read my copy and many of them mentioned going into this story blind and I agree that's the best way to read it. By the time I could get to it, I'd forgotten what it was about and that was a great way to experience this book. I'm not going to say much about the story since the synopsis tells you more than you need to know.  What I will say is that this story had me on pins and needles. There are some really good side characters that I didn't want to leave, when the book was over. Big, burly, black ex-con, Cecil, was one of them and the mini dachshund, Wilson, was another. But they weren't the only interesting characters in the story. I wouldn't mind visiting these characters in a future book. Publication: October 6th 2020 Thank you to Crooked Lane Books/Random House and Edelweiss for this ARC. 

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jessica | JustReadingJess

    I recommend Never Turn Back to thriller fans. I could not put this book down once I started. At first, I was trying to figure out where the book was going but really drawn to the characters. Then, I just wanted to know what happened. Thank you Edelweiss and Crooked Lane Books/Random House for Never Turn Back. Full review: https://justreadingjess.wordpress.com... I recommend Never Turn Back to thriller fans. I could not put this book down once I started. At first, I was trying to figure out where the book was going but really drawn to the characters. Then, I just wanted to know what happened. Thank you Edelweiss and Crooked Lane Books/Random House for Never Turn Back. Full review: https://justreadingjess.wordpress.com...

  3. 5 out of 5

    Debra

    Ethan Faulkner is a schoolteacher who along with his sister, survived a violent home invasion that left their parents dead. He has tried to move on from his past, has entered a relationship with his co-worker, Marisa and his sister, Susannah is back in town and living with him. What could be better? How about not having everything in your life turned upside down? When a murder takes place, who is to blame? If you think you have it figured out, you may find that you are wrong! Christopher Swan has Ethan Faulkner is a schoolteacher who along with his sister, survived a violent home invasion that left their parents dead. He has tried to move on from his past, has entered a relationship with his co-worker, Marisa and his sister, Susannah is back in town and living with him. What could be better? How about not having everything in your life turned upside down? When a murder takes place, who is to blame? If you think you have it figured out, you may find that you are wrong! Christopher Swan has created this book with a few twists and turns. Like Ethan, the reader may wonder who can be trusted, why did someone turn on him, will he ever get answers, who is the killer, and will Ethan and his sister ever find peace? Well written and interesting. Although I enjoyed this book, I was not as wowed as other reviewers. I would encourage you to read their reviews as well. Thank you to Crooked Lane Books, Edelweiss and NetGalley who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions are my own.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn

    Ethan Faulkner and his sister Susannah suffered a horrific event in their childhood. Although his sister still suffers from trauma and mental illness, Ethan has managed to move on and create a stable life as a high school English teacher in a school that he loves. However, his life and career are suddenly thrown into disarray as his past collides with his present. This is an enjoyable twisty tale of obsession and revenge. After a gentle start the pace ramps up and doesn't let go until the mysteri Ethan Faulkner and his sister Susannah suffered a horrific event in their childhood. Although his sister still suffers from trauma and mental illness, Ethan has managed to move on and create a stable life as a high school English teacher in a school that he loves. However, his life and career are suddenly thrown into disarray as his past collides with his present. This is an enjoyable twisty tale of obsession and revenge. After a gentle start the pace ramps up and doesn't let go until the mysteries of Ethan and Susannah's past are laid bare. Well written with some great characters, both good and evil, and a delightful little dog. With thanks to Crooked Lane Books and Netgalley for a digital ARC to read

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader

    Well, this book is certainly worth of the over four star rating it has received on Goodreads! What a thriller! Ethan’s parents were killed during a home invasion, and while horrific, he has placed it all carefully in the past. More than decade later, hardly anyone knows what happened because Ethan is determined to keep it under wraps. From there, everything goes tipsy turvy, and twists and turns happen. That’s all I will say about the plot. I loved all the characters in this book. I found the stor Well, this book is certainly worth of the over four star rating it has received on Goodreads! What a thriller! Ethan’s parents were killed during a home invasion, and while horrific, he has placed it all carefully in the past. More than decade later, hardly anyone knows what happened because Ethan is determined to keep it under wraps. From there, everything goes tipsy turvy, and twists and turns happen. That’s all I will say about the plot. I loved all the characters in this book. I found the storyline compelling, with the writing and pacing on point. I especially enjoyed the relationship between Ethan and Susannah, his sister. Overall, Never Look Back surprised me in the best of ways, and I’m grateful to have read it. I’m ready for another Christopher Swann book! I received a gifted copy. Many of my reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com and instagram: www.instagram.com/tarheelreader

  6. 4 out of 5

    Michael David

    ⚠️: The synopsis for this book gives a little too much away, in my opinion. It won’t ruin the book for you if you read it, but may ruin one of the surprises. Ethan and his younger sister, Susannah, find their lives altered forever when one night, years ago, a young woman rings the doorbell at their family home. She’s trying to escape two men for reasons unknown. The men find her and barge into the house, leaving Ethan’s parents dead, and leaving him and Susannah seriously injured. Years later, E ⚠️: The synopsis for this book gives a little too much away, in my opinion. It won’t ruin the book for you if you read it, but may ruin one of the surprises. Ethan and his younger sister, Susannah, find their lives altered forever when one night, years ago, a young woman rings the doorbell at their family home. She’s trying to escape two men for reasons unknown. The men find her and barge into the house, leaving Ethan’s parents dead, and leaving him and Susannah seriously injured. Years later, Ethan is a successful English teacher. He tries to keep his eye on Susannah, who’s fighting many demons, but doesn’t always succeed. Ethan tries his best to keep the past in the past, but present circumstances in his life will prevent that. This is an excellent thriller that kept me on my toes. Author Christopher Swann does a fantastic job building tension and suspense, and writing fully-developed characters that you’ll really care about. I really enjoyed reading the relationship Ethan has with his sister, Susannah, as well as his years-long but estranged friendship with Frankie...and Frankie’s friend, Caesar. There are, of course, people I didn’t care for as well. The non-stop plot progression would make a compelling movie! 4.5 stars. TW: Does anybody care to take a wild guess? 🐕🐶(Thankfully, it could’ve been much worse!) Thank you to Christopher Swann, Crooked Lane Books, and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Pat

    I really didn’t know what to expect from this book but I was pleasantly surprised. The blurb tells you everything you need to know (and some things you don’t) about the plot, so I won’t go there. But I do want to tell you that the story was very engaging. Mr Swann writes really well and his characters jump off the page. Ethan and Susannah (Suzie) can’t quite put the past behind them. When they were young their parents were killed and they were shot and injured in a home invasion gone horribly wr I really didn’t know what to expect from this book but I was pleasantly surprised. The blurb tells you everything you need to know (and some things you don’t) about the plot, so I won’t go there. But I do want to tell you that the story was very engaging. Mr Swann writes really well and his characters jump off the page. Ethan and Susannah (Suzie) can’t quite put the past behind them. When they were young their parents were killed and they were shot and injured in a home invasion gone horribly wrong. Suzie, who is a couple of years younger than Ethan, blames herself (it is explained in the book) and, although she is very smart, she acts up, plays games with people, manipulates and generally causes a lot of trouble trying to numb the pain. Ethan also finds the memories too painful but locks them up in a box in his mind and tries to forget. When anyone gets too close the shutters come down and he backs away. When Ethan crosses paths with Marisa though he entertains the thought that she might be the one...until she goes digging into the past he is so desperate not to acknowledge. Then it gets really interesting! Marisa does not take kindly to being denied and I thought - aha, so this is where we’re going! Nope, the book changes direction again, and then again. All in all it is a clever piece of writing, a great story with great characters (except the evil witch, Marisa). It is also thought provoking about the importance of family, loyalty, redemption, and of forgiveness and moving on. I’ll be looking out for Mr Swann’s next book for sure. Many thanks to Netgalley, Crooked Lane Books and Christopher Swann for providing a review copy in exchange for an unbiased review.

  8. 4 out of 5

    CYIReadBooks (Claire)

    Ethan thought it was just a one night stand with Marisa -- until she shows up at his place of employment. What follows is a bizarre case of Marisa stalking and harassing Ethan until one day Marisa is found murdered. Did Ethan have a hand in Marisa's murder? Or, could it be someone else from Ethan's past? For fans of "Disclosure," and "Fatal Attraction," this is a must read. A page turner. I certainly wasn't disappointed. 4.5 stars rounded up. A received a digital ARC from Crooked Lane Books throug Ethan thought it was just a one night stand with Marisa -- until she shows up at his place of employment. What follows is a bizarre case of Marisa stalking and harassing Ethan until one day Marisa is found murdered. Did Ethan have a hand in Marisa's murder? Or, could it be someone else from Ethan's past? For fans of "Disclosure," and "Fatal Attraction," this is a must read. A page turner. I certainly wasn't disappointed. 4.5 stars rounded up. A received a digital ARC from Crooked Lane Books through NetGalley. The review herein is completely my own and contains my honest thoughts and opinions.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Faith

    The parents of Ethan and Susannah were murdered in a home invasion. The orphans were raised by their uncle, an Irish immigrant with criminal ties. The siblings channeled their grief, guilt and anger in different ways. Ethan became a school teacher in Atlanta while Susannah was more of a nomad who started bar fights. “Susannah is like a rare and edgy bird of prey – say the wrong thing and she’ll either claw you or take wing and vanish.” Ethan has been living alone when Susannah suddenly returns, The parents of Ethan and Susannah were murdered in a home invasion. The orphans were raised by their uncle, an Irish immigrant with criminal ties. The siblings channeled their grief, guilt and anger in different ways. Ethan became a school teacher in Atlanta while Susannah was more of a nomad who started bar fights. “Susannah is like a rare and edgy bird of prey – say the wrong thing and she’ll either claw you or take wing and vanish.” Ethan has been living alone when Susannah suddenly returns, at the same time her brother has started a relationship with a one night stand who turns into a creepy, obsessive girlfriend. Those are the only women in the book, and they’re both nuts. I did want to see how all of this turned out, so I kept reading, but the book was just ok for me. Maybe there were too many parts that meshed awkwardly: the crazy girlfriend, manic-pixie sister, criminal uncle, ex-con friend and his new boyfriend, cyber-bullying, new murders, old murder suspects and cops who were too obtuse to be called cops - there was just too much stuff here. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Christina

    There are many twists, turns, and surprises in this taut thriller by Christopher Swann. It combines some elements I traditionally like (mysterious murder, new but potentially suspicious love affair) with others I traditionally don’t (shadowy figures of the underworld, Mafia wiseguys with longtime grudges). But in this case, it all really worked for me. I agree with other reviewers that one particularly significant surprise is spoiled by the blurb, so try not to read it, and I won’t repeat it her There are many twists, turns, and surprises in this taut thriller by Christopher Swann. It combines some elements I traditionally like (mysterious murder, new but potentially suspicious love affair) with others I traditionally don’t (shadowy figures of the underworld, Mafia wiseguys with longtime grudges). But in this case, it all really worked for me. I agree with other reviewers that one particularly significant surprise is spoiled by the blurb, so try not to read it, and I won’t repeat it here. All you really need to know is that Ethan, whose sister Susannah has temporarily moved in, is still suffering from a past family tragedy when he meets a new and interesting femme fatale seemingly by chance. The action moves at a fast clip and Swann has a suspenseful and interesting writing style. I was a bit disinterested in the wiseguy stuff but fortunately the book as a whole is about much more than that. There is an old murder mystery and a new murder mystery, and the two are potentially related. The author does a great job of tying the two together and making both stories equally suspenseful. The ending was great - and despite one or two loose ends I still wonder about, I thought the book had a fast and involving pace and a very rewarding conclusion. I’m now very interested in checking out Swann’s first book. He is a suspense writer to watch! Thanks to Crooked Lane Books, NetGalley and Christopher Swann for the ARC of this good thriller.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Bam cooks the books ;-)

    *4+ stars! I won't say much about the plot of Christopher Swann's new thriller because it would be easy to give too much away. (And you might want to avoid reading the publisher's synopsis for that same reason.) Just dive in and enjoy! But I will say this thriller is enthralling from start to finish with well-developed characters and twisty situations that kept me on edge throughout. The timeline bounces between the present and the past where a shattering, life-changing crime takes place. The ho *4+ stars! I won't say much about the plot of Christopher Swann's new thriller because it would be easy to give too much away. (And you might want to avoid reading the publisher's synopsis for that same reason.) Just dive in and enjoy! But I will say this thriller is enthralling from start to finish with well-developed characters and twisty situations that kept me on edge throughout. The timeline bounces between the present and the past where a shattering, life-changing crime takes place. The horrifying details of that crime are slowly revealed as the story unfolds, helping to explain why these damaged people act the way they do in the present. Which brings me to the conclusion. I thought the twist ending was really nicely done. I didn't see it coming at all but found it to be totally believable considering the characters involved. I received an arc from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. Many thanks for the opportunity. I would enjoy reading more from this author in future.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    Late one night, young Ethan Faulkner and his sister Susannah witness the murder of their parents who are trying to help a woman in need. Years later, Ethan is a successful teacher at a private school and his sister is still reeling from the events that took place that night. After a one night stand, Ethan finds his sister in his apartment and at the beginning of the next week his one night stand, Marisa, gets a job working with him as his substitute coteacher. He thinks he may have lucked out, b Late one night, young Ethan Faulkner and his sister Susannah witness the murder of their parents who are trying to help a woman in need. Years later, Ethan is a successful teacher at a private school and his sister is still reeling from the events that took place that night. After a one night stand, Ethan finds his sister in his apartment and at the beginning of the next week his one night stand, Marisa, gets a job working with him as his substitute coteacher. He thinks he may have lucked out, but things soon go bad fast. This book was a fast paced thriller that I had a difficult time putting down. The dual timeline between Ethan's childhood and the current time is well done, even when it takes place in the middle of the chapter. The characters are three dimensional and I really enjoyed the banter between a few of the main characters. If you like a good thriller this is definitely one to read! My appreciation to Crooked Lane Books, Christopher Swann, and NetGalley for gifting me with a digital copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Erin Clemence

    Special thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a free, electronic ARC of this novel received in exchange for an honest review. Expected publication date: October 6, 2020 Christopher Swann’s second novel, “Never Turn Back” is a story of vengeance, family and long-kept secrets. Ethan Faulkner is an English teacher, following in the steps of his beloved deceased mother. When Ethan was a young boy, his parents were shot and killed in front of him, and both he and his sister were wounded. Rais Special thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a free, electronic ARC of this novel received in exchange for an honest review. Expected publication date: October 6, 2020 Christopher Swann’s second novel, “Never Turn Back” is a story of vengeance, family and long-kept secrets. Ethan Faulkner is an English teacher, following in the steps of his beloved deceased mother. When Ethan was a young boy, his parents were shot and killed in front of him, and both he and his sister were wounded. Raised by an uncle with mysterious friends and lots of criminal secrets, the now-adult Ethan and his sister Susannah have both gone their own ways, trying to start over. After Ethan has a one-night stand at a conference with a young teacher named Marisa, she quickly becomes his teaching partner, and then, girlfriend. But Marisa’s behaviour starts to turn dangerous and soon Ethan is looking at criminal charges and unemployment. When Marisa turns up dead, Ethan is at the forefront of the investigation and when he discovers that secrets that Marisa has been keeping, secrets about his family, he will put himself in danger to discover them. I am new to Swann, and therefore went into this novel completely unsure of what to expect. A Southern-murder-mystery filled with family secrets is Swann’s novel “Never Turn Back”. Ethan has a very “Dead Poet’s Society” feel in his teaching style, and is instantly likable as a professional and as a person. Knowing what he suffered through in his childhood simply increased my affection for him. This novel started strong with “Single White Female” vibes. However, somewhere in the middle the plot shifted focus completely, with Ethan on a quest to uncover the answers about Marisa, and about his family’s death. Both plot lines were intense and entertaining, but they were very disconnected. I was hoping that a connection between the two would be revealed at the end in some sort of twist, but I was disappointed. Although the novel was a good read, I would’ve preferred a smoother flow between the beginning and the end. Either plotline would’ve worked for me, but there could’ve been more crafty ways to merge the two. Hands down to Swann for his creativity and writing style, as I was very invested in the characters from page one. Swann’s style is a unique one, and I am not even sure in what genre this novel should fall but I was entertained throughout all the same.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Nursebookie

    Ethan Faulkner has been responsible for his troublesome sister Susannah since the tragic home invasion leading to the death of their parents during their childhood. Trouble seems to find Ethan, as many years later, a woman whom Ethan was acquainted with turns up murdered and everything comes crashing very quickly. This was a fast paced read that I enjoyed reading. Loved a great suspenseful romance and domestic thriller combo. The characters were written well and the writing style absolutely enga Ethan Faulkner has been responsible for his troublesome sister Susannah since the tragic home invasion leading to the death of their parents during their childhood. Trouble seems to find Ethan, as many years later, a woman whom Ethan was acquainted with turns up murdered and everything comes crashing very quickly. This was a fast paced read that I enjoyed reading. Loved a great suspenseful romance and domestic thriller combo. The characters were written well and the writing style absolutely engaging and thrilling. You will be emotionally engaged in this twisty and sexy thrilling read!

  15. 5 out of 5

    MicheleReader

    After a tragic home invasion that killed his parents, Ethan has overcome many obstacles to become a popular high school teacher. His sister Susannah has had a harder time dealing with this tragedy. When Ethan is at a teacher’s conference, he has a one-night stand with Marissa who soon turns up at his school seeking a job. At first, he believes this could be the start of something special. But Marissa has problems of her own. Never Turn Back is an intelligent and suspenseful mystery/thriller in w After a tragic home invasion that killed his parents, Ethan has overcome many obstacles to become a popular high school teacher. His sister Susannah has had a harder time dealing with this tragedy. When Ethan is at a teacher’s conference, he has a one-night stand with Marissa who soon turns up at his school seeking a job. At first, he believes this could be the start of something special. But Marissa has problems of her own. Never Turn Back is an intelligent and suspenseful mystery/thriller in which Ethan seeks long unanswered questions about his parents’ murder. His quest reunites him with the uncle who raised him, a man his mother used to say had “gone down the wrong path.” This story about family, obsession, revenge and redemption will keep you riveted. There are many layers to this book but the less said the better. Many thanks to Edelweiss, Crooked Lane Books / Random House and author Christopher Swann for an advance copy. Review posted on MicheleReader.com. Rated 4.25 stars.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Tonya

    Thank you NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books for my ARC in exchange for an honest review. This book was reminiscent of a Harlan Coben novel. A great mixture of relationships, mystery and murder are intricately woven into a compelling thriller. I enjoyed getting to know Ethan, his sister Susannah, Frankie and Caesar. I felt the bond that Ethan and Susannah had and the closeness of their friendship with Frankie. The horrible tragedy that dominated their past, crept its way into the present. What fol Thank you NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books for my ARC in exchange for an honest review. This book was reminiscent of a Harlan Coben novel. A great mixture of relationships, mystery and murder are intricately woven into a compelling thriller. I enjoyed getting to know Ethan, his sister Susannah, Frankie and Caesar. I felt the bond that Ethan and Susannah had and the closeness of their friendship with Frankie. The horrible tragedy that dominated their past, crept its way into the present. What follows is a twisty tale of obsession, revenge and murder. There are a couple of twists that I didn’t expect and was totally surprised. This is a well crafted mystery thriller that will pull you in and keep you engaged until the satisfying conclusion.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Fiction Addition Angela

    This is a difficult review to write without spoilers, and I recommend that you don’t read the bio to this book before you start because it tells you everything. Ethan and Susanna are brother and sister and carry emotional and physical scars from a past family tragedy. They are brought up by an uncle who is dodgy to say the least. Ethan is a respected teacher and after meeting another teacher at a conference one thing leads to another and they have a one night stand. One day out is the blue, she ar This is a difficult review to write without spoilers, and I recommend that you don’t read the bio to this book before you start because it tells you everything. Ethan and Susanna are brother and sister and carry emotional and physical scars from a past family tragedy. They are brought up by an uncle who is dodgy to say the least. Ethan is a respected teacher and after meeting another teacher at a conference one thing leads to another and they have a one night stand. One day out is the blue, she arrives for a job in his department to teach alongside him - all is well - ish in his life. Soon his life is in one hell of a mess, his sisters mental health is going seriously worse and he’s fighting to keep his job. Everything just goes wrong and you actually feel for the poor guy. Christopher Swans writing is intense with well developed characters that you completely buy into - even down to his four pawed bestie Wilson who is a star in his own right. It’s a slow burner so if you want action from page one maybe this ones not your style, but the story delivers a strong message of consequence and family and friendship bonds. How our whole life now can depend on a sequence of incidents in the past. Four ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jennie

    4 stars. A twisty turny read with some unexpected moments. Ethan and his sister experienced trauma as kids, and now it resurfaces in adulthood. A quick and easy read, Definitely great for a day at the beach or a free day to delve into a great book. Special thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the arc in exchange for an honest review.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kristi

    Never Turn Back by Christopher Swann starts off as a page turner that is quickly paced and dramatic right from the start. There’s a lot going on in this novel but the details are skillfully put together and so well written that everything flowed smoothly and connected without losing me halfway through. The characters are emotive and easy to connect with and the story so easy to get absorbed in, before I knew it, I was reading the last page. It’s a great feeling when an authors’ engaging characte Never Turn Back by Christopher Swann starts off as a page turner that is quickly paced and dramatic right from the start. There’s a lot going on in this novel but the details are skillfully put together and so well written that everything flowed smoothly and connected without losing me halfway through. The characters are emotive and easy to connect with and the story so easy to get absorbed in, before I knew it, I was reading the last page. It’s a great feeling when an authors’ engaging characters and descriptive writing can immerse me so far into a story that I don’t notice it’s 1:30 in the morning and I’m almost done with the book! The plot has some fantastic twists and while one or two may have been a little predictable, there were definitely some big surprises and getting to the why of things was quite a trip. This is my first book by Mr. Swann and it won’t be my last. Thank you to Crooked Lane Books, Author Christopher Swann, and NetGalley for providing me with a DRC in exchange for my review.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Rach

    When Ethan was little him and his sister Susannah they lost their parents through a shooting in their own home. Both Ethan and Susannah witness the shooting. Both share the trauma from this. In the present Ethan is a private school teacher. He comes home after meeting another teacher at a conference to find his wayward sister at his house. Susannah comes in and out Ethan life. Ethan promised he would look out for Susannah but hasn’t always managed to. Marissa the teacher he met gets a job at Eth When Ethan was little him and his sister Susannah they lost their parents through a shooting in their own home. Both Ethan and Susannah witness the shooting. Both share the trauma from this. In the present Ethan is a private school teacher. He comes home after meeting another teacher at a conference to find his wayward sister at his house. Susannah comes in and out Ethan life. Ethan promised he would look out for Susannah but hasn’t always managed to. Marissa the teacher he met gets a job at Ethan school. Ethan and Marissa start seeing each other. Ethan starts to get concern as Marissa becomes obsessed with Ethan. Ethan is trying to deal with this and look out for his sister. A murder happens and Ethan becomes the prime suspect. Ethan decides to find what has happened and discovers a link to his past and the murder. Both Ethan and Susannah are dealing with the trauma of losing their parents but in their own way in the book. For what troubles Ethan and Susannah bring to each other lives they still are there for each other. There is plenty of surprises along with way and trust me what someone says the quote “I wish I had never met that person”, this true for Ethan and Marissa. Marissa is certainly a person you wished you have never met. We array of characters and especially liked Frankie a friend from Ethan’s childhood. Overall a thriller with characters who have suffered great losses and female fatale who won’t stop at nothing. I received a ARC from Netgalley and Crooked Lane Books for an objection review.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Eric

    Writing a review for Never Turn Back by Christopher Swann is difficult to do without revealing spoilers, therefore, the less known about this novel beforehand, the better. In the novel, lead character Ethan Faulkner is a successful, well respected high school literature teacher at a private school. Early on through flashbacks, the reader learns as a boy, Ethan and his sister were orphaned by a horrible event within their home that has left both haunted and troubled. Both were then raised by thei Writing a review for Never Turn Back by Christopher Swann is difficult to do without revealing spoilers, therefore, the less known about this novel beforehand, the better. In the novel, lead character Ethan Faulkner is a successful, well respected high school literature teacher at a private school. Early on through flashbacks, the reader learns as a boy, Ethan and his sister were orphaned by a horrible event within their home that has left both haunted and troubled. Both were then raised by their mother's brother, Gavin, a local tavern owner and mysterious mover and shaker, with influential abilities of all sorts throughout the city of Atlanta. While Ethan has established roots in Atlanta and mostly cordoned off the violent loss of his parents deep in his mind, his sister has had a transient and more troubled existence, spotted with bouts of mental illness. Through current events, the past again rises with Ethan forced to re-live what happened all those years before, which includes the introduction of characters that would prefer the past stay in the past. Never Turn Back is a well written, engaging novel, perfect for the summer backyard or beach.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Prendergast (lifeandbookswithme)

    Ethan loves his job as an AP English teacher at a private school in Atlanta, Georgia. He is away on a work conference when he meets a mysterious and attractive woman named Marisa, who he ends up having a one night stand with. When he returns home that morning, he discovers his sister, Susannah, has broken into his apartment and is planning on staying a while. However, Susannah’s sudden reappearance dredges up their traumatic past. Soon Ethan’s world is spinning into chaos as his job, relationshi Ethan loves his job as an AP English teacher at a private school in Atlanta, Georgia. He is away on a work conference when he meets a mysterious and attractive woman named Marisa, who he ends up having a one night stand with. When he returns home that morning, he discovers his sister, Susannah, has broken into his apartment and is planning on staying a while. However, Susannah’s sudden reappearance dredges up their traumatic past. Soon Ethan’s world is spinning into chaos as his job, relationships and safety are all thrown to the wolves. Who is lying to him about their intentions? My number one recommendation for this one is go in BLIND. Don’t read the blurb, don’t read anything online. Follow my advice and I promise this short thriller will have you gripping the edge of your seat. Marisa and Susannah are executed perfectly - their character arcs are satisfactory and surprising. Swann’s novel sneaks up on you as you are just enjoying the mellow plot until things just go for a nose dive all of a sudden and you’re left grappling with the character development. This is a great read for fans of action/thrillers as I found it to be a great blend!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Prendergast (lifeandbookswithme)

    Ethan loves his job as an AP English teacher at a private school in Atlanta, Georgia. He is away on a work conference when he meets a mysterious and attractive woman named Marisa, who he ends up having a one night stand with. When he returns home that morning, he discovers his sister, Susannah, has broken into his apartment and is planning on staying a while. However, Susannah’s sudden reappearance dredges up their traumatic past. Soon Ethan’s world is spinning into chaos as his job, relationshi Ethan loves his job as an AP English teacher at a private school in Atlanta, Georgia. He is away on a work conference when he meets a mysterious and attractive woman named Marisa, who he ends up having a one night stand with. When he returns home that morning, he discovers his sister, Susannah, has broken into his apartment and is planning on staying a while. However, Susannah’s sudden reappearance dredges up their traumatic past. Soon Ethan’s world is spinning into chaos as his job, relationships and safety are all thrown to the wolves. Who is lying to him about their intentions? My number one recommendation for this one is go in BLIND. Don’t read the blurb, don’t read anything online. Follow my advice and I promise this short thriller will have you gripping the edge of your seat. Marisa and Susannah are executed perfectly - their character arcs are satisfactory and surprising. Swann’s novel sneaks up on you as you are just enjoying the mellow plot until things just go for a nose dive all of a sudden and you’re left grappling with the character development. This is a great read for fans of action/thrillers as I found it to be a great blend!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Bec

    Blood is thicker than water. Never underestimate how far someone would go to keep their family safe. Siblings Ethan and Susannah witness the horrific murder of their parents many years ago. Their crooked uncle takes them in and tries to give them the life they deserve. Ethan becomes a teacher and goes on to live his life as best he can. Susannah does do as well. Her mental health isn’t the greatest but she loves her brother and ends up on his doorstep after being MIA for a while. Ethan has a one ni Blood is thicker than water. Never underestimate how far someone would go to keep their family safe. Siblings Ethan and Susannah witness the horrific murder of their parents many years ago. Their crooked uncle takes them in and tries to give them the life they deserve. Ethan becomes a teacher and goes on to live his life as best he can. Susannah does do as well. Her mental health isn’t the greatest but she loves her brother and ends up on his doorstep after being MIA for a while. Ethan has a one night stand with another teacher at a conference, she then inserts herself into his world and takes a new role teaching at the same school. Ethan’s torn between doing the right thing and telling his boss about her and going on the wild ride that is Marisa. Shit starts to get real when she decides to show a little of her crazy. Marisa knows who Ethan is and what his family’s been though then starts to set him up to loose his job. There’s a body, then another and one more after that. But who did it? I really enjoyed this book. Story line was tight and I enjoyed the switch between the past and the present.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Amber

    This is the first book that I've read by Swann. I enjoyed the book a lot. The book definitely kept my attention and hooked me with in the first half! His characters are really developed with the back story and you can completely understand the motives and thoughts behind the actions. The home invasion fuels a lot of the actions and feelings through everything. The whole social media girlfriend is something that is definitely something someone can feel now days lol social media has put a differen This is the first book that I've read by Swann. I enjoyed the book a lot. The book definitely kept my attention and hooked me with in the first half! His characters are really developed with the back story and you can completely understand the motives and thoughts behind the actions. The home invasion fuels a lot of the actions and feelings through everything. The whole social media girlfriend is something that is definitely something someone can feel now days lol social media has put a different level of craziness into play. I loved the mystery and suspense of it all! I definitely recommend! I will also check out other books by this author!!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    3.5/5, rounding up for Goodreads Ethan Faulkner was a precocious child with a troublesome sister, a war veteran father, and a weary mother trying to keep them all together. One night there was a pounding knock at their door. A young girl on the run from someone dangerous and seeking shelter. When Ethan’s family took her into their home they didn’t know that his parents would be left dead and the siblings struggling to survive their wounds. Years have passed, but Ethan can never really forget what 3.5/5, rounding up for Goodreads Ethan Faulkner was a precocious child with a troublesome sister, a war veteran father, and a weary mother trying to keep them all together. One night there was a pounding knock at their door. A young girl on the run from someone dangerous and seeking shelter. When Ethan’s family took her into their home they didn’t know that his parents would be left dead and the siblings struggling to survive their wounds. Years have passed, but Ethan can never really forget what happened during his childhood and the reappearance of his sister into his life only serves to open old wounds. A budding relationship with a coworker, Marisa, could be just the thing that Ethan needs to get his life back on track. Lurking just around the corner is a turn of events Ethan never saw coming. NEVER TURN BACK is an entertaining domestic thriller surrounding two siblings, Ethan and his sister, Susannah. They had a horrific childhood trauma that left them without their parents. Over the years their lives have been filled with a multitude of unanswered questions, leaving them with a strained relationship. I genuinely loved the portrayal of these two characters that Swann created and their dynamic together. I found both Ethan and Susannah to be equally interesting and was quickly able to become invested in their lives. While Ethan becomes the central character to driving the plot forward within this story, Swann smartly makes room for fully developed secondary characters. The pacing of NEVER TURN BACK is quick and kept me on my toes while reading. There were a few times throughout the story that I felt things took a turn for the repetitive and left me feeling a bit bored. I enjoyed the interesting twists that Swann threw into this story, however, be wary about reading the full synopsis on Goodreads because most of them are given away there. This is a story that begs to be gone into blindly. NEVER TURN BACK is a great shorter read that fits the bill for a lighter domestic thriller. If you’re looking for something fun and fast to read, this is a great option! A huge thank you to Crooked Lane Books for my gifted copy!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Chelsea | bookarethemagic

    I highly recommend not reading the synopsis before reading this book! I read it and found myself waiting and waiting for certain parts and it was confusing for me. It also had a few spoilers so skip reading it if you can!! That being said, I am so happy I had a chance to read this book. Thank you so much to Christopher Swann and Crooked Lane Books for my ARC of Never Turn Back! This book is about Ethan and Susannah, siblings whose parents were murdered during a home invasion during their childhoo I highly recommend not reading the synopsis before reading this book! I read it and found myself waiting and waiting for certain parts and it was confusing for me. It also had a few spoilers so skip reading it if you can!! That being said, I am so happy I had a chance to read this book. Thank you so much to Christopher Swann and Crooked Lane Books for my ARC of Never Turn Back! This book is about Ethan and Susannah, siblings whose parents were murdered during a home invasion during their childhood. Now things are going well for them both, but when a woman comes into Ethan’s life, she starts causing trouble. He is hesitant to open up to her about his past, but once he does, he realizes that it was a huge mistake. Events start to unfold after this and things go from good to bad quickly. Thoughts: I really enjoyed this book! It was fast-paced and I really enjoyed the depth of the main character, Ethan. There was a very interesting back-story but also the current story was fascinating as well. I really felt for Ethan and liked all the different dynamics included in this story. I also enjoyed the fact that I didn’t know where the story was going and there were some surprises thrown in. I liked the mentions of literature in this book, specifically Shakespeare. The only downside to this book is that there was more romance than I usually prefer, but overall it was a great domestic thriller. 4-stars from me!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Renee

    Ethan lost his parents when he was just a child. His younger sister Susannah and Ethan both carry physical and emotional scars. Ethan teaches at a school he loves, rents a small home in a quiet neighborhood, and has the best roommate, his dog Wilson. When he attends a conference, he meets and sleeps with Marisa, not realizing this one decision will change his life. Ethan is surprised when Marisa applies for a job at his school, but he likes her and thinks he might finally be able to move forward Ethan lost his parents when he was just a child. His younger sister Susannah and Ethan both carry physical and emotional scars. Ethan teaches at a school he loves, rents a small home in a quiet neighborhood, and has the best roommate, his dog Wilson. When he attends a conference, he meets and sleeps with Marisa, not realizing this one decision will change his life. Ethan is surprised when Marisa applies for a job at his school, but he likes her and thinks he might finally be able to move forward from the memories of his painful past. Until she seems to know more about what happened to his parents than she should, and she starts acting, shall we say, odd. His decision to walk away from her doesn't sit well with Marisa. Soon, his life is a mess, his job is on the line, his sister's fragile mental state is under attack, and even his oldest friend Frankie might not escape unharmed. The only person who can save Ethan is Ethan, as he digs into the past, trying to understand what is going on. So what did I love about Never Turn Back, Ethan! He lived through such a traumatic event, and yet, he managed to make a life for himself. Granted, his relationship with his sister was problematic, and he relives the night of his parents' deaths, but he is trying to come to terms with the past. Everything spirals out of control once Marisa enters the picture, and yes, I did love to hate this character. All I could think about was leave Ethan alone and don't even look at Wilson! There was only one twist that surprised me, but to me, this was more of a mystery than a thriller. Fast-paced with a great main character whose life has more layers than an onion. My first read by Christopher Swann and I enjoyed his writing style.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Eric

    Writing a review for Never Turn Back by Christopher Swann is difficult to do without revealing spoilers, therefore, the less known about this novel beforehand, the better. In the novel, lead character Ethan Faulkner is a successful, well respected high school literature teacher at a private school. Early on through flashbacks, the reader learns as a boy, Ethan and his sister were orphaned by a horrible event within their home that has left both haunted and troubled. Both were then raised by thei Writing a review for Never Turn Back by Christopher Swann is difficult to do without revealing spoilers, therefore, the less known about this novel beforehand, the better. In the novel, lead character Ethan Faulkner is a successful, well respected high school literature teacher at a private school. Early on through flashbacks, the reader learns as a boy, Ethan and his sister were orphaned by a horrible event within their home that has left both haunted and troubled. Both were then raised by their mother's brother, Gavin, a local tavern owner and mysterious mover and shaker, with influential abilities of all sorts throughout the city of Atlanta. While Ethan has established roots in Atlanta and mostly cordoned off the violent loss of his parents deep in his mind, his sister has had a transient and more troubled existence, spotted with bouts of mental illness. Through current events, the past again rises with Ethan forced to re-live what happened all those years before, which includes the introduction of characters that would prefer the past stay in the past. Never Turn Back is a well written, engaging novel, perfect for the summer backyard or beach.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Marilyn Baron

    I just finished Christopher Swann’s second novel, Never Turn Back. Wow! This powerful, fast-paced, compelling thriller really packs a punch. Events spring from a family tragedy that took place when Ethan Faulkner was a young boy. He’s managed to suppress the memories of that horrific night, which continue to haunt him and color his future relationships, as he struggles to overcome his past, until an alluring, but dangerous, woman stirs them up. The writer skillfully weaves an unforgettable tale I just finished Christopher Swann’s second novel, Never Turn Back. Wow! This powerful, fast-paced, compelling thriller really packs a punch. Events spring from a family tragedy that took place when Ethan Faulkner was a young boy. He’s managed to suppress the memories of that horrific night, which continue to haunt him and color his future relationships, as he struggles to overcome his past, until an alluring, but dangerous, woman stirs them up. The writer skillfully weaves an unforgettable tale of revenge and redemption, mystery and suspense with memorable characters and multiple surprises you’ll never see coming.

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