Wednesday 5 March 2014

Don’t Look Behind You by Lois Duncan.

Don't Look Behind You
April Corrigan's life is turned upside-down when she when she learns that her father has been working secretly undercover for the FBI. When his testimony convicts a notorious drug dealer, the whole family must relocate and enter the Federal Witness Security Program. April's entire way of life changes--not just her name. And when she attempts to communicate with her boyfriend, an agent is killed
Republished by Atom in 2012
Reviewed by Elizabeth Dale
April’s world changes forever one Tuesday in May. She is given a lift to school by her boyfriend,  Steve, as usual,  and arranges to meet him at the end of the day. But she never does. Instead, she is called to the school office after lunch to be taken home by her gran. From that moment her whole world spins out of control.  At home, she is met by her mum and brother and Uncle Max, who tells them they have to go away secretly for a few days – someone has tried to kill April’s father to stop him testifying in court.  The book follows April’s anguish over the days and then weeks and months that follow as her family is forced to firstly hide out in motel rooms, then go into witness protection and relocate with false identities to another part of America, always looking over their shoulders. With far less money to live on than she’s used to and having to live a lie, hide her tennis skills, make new friends and with her mobile confiscated and no chance to get a message to Steve, April is frantic.
This book gives the reader a real insight into how awful life must be when absolutely everything – family, friends, school and boyfriend is snatched away. It explores April’s inner turmoil as well as the tensions within her family as everyone has to become someone else, all the time aware that one slip could mean that they could be killed by the hit-man chasing after them.  And even when she manages to return home briefly, April has to face the realisation that life moves on without her
My one criticism is that the reader should be able to identify and sympathise with April, who has been dealt an awful hand, but unfortunately she makes several selfish decisions that adversely affect others. That’s maybe understandable once - she’s only seventeen, she didn’t ask for her world to be thrown into turmoil - but when there are tragic consequences, she doesn’t seem to suffer the appropriate  remorse.  Apart from that one flaw, Don’t Look Behind You is a gripping, taut read, filled with drama and turmoil, twists and turns  and should leave readers feeling appreciative of the boring sameness of their own lives that they may just be taking for granted!

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