Thanks to NetGalley, the publisher and the author for providing an Advanced Reader Copy. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
There are books that pull you gently into the landscape and atmosphere of the story; they take you into the minds of the characters gradually. And then there are books like “Never Go Home” by Christopher Swann, which start off with an explosion that hits you over the head. This book is the follow-up to author Sawnn’s book “Never Turn Back,” featuring Susannah Faulkner and her brother Ethan along with other secondary characters.
Susannah and Ethan have had a traumatic childhood, having witnessed the murder of their parents in a horrible home invasion. This hard event turns the siblings to extremely opposite ways of life — Susannah is always on the edge of law, living an eventful life and Ethan lives a sedated life as a teacher. In the previous book, the siblings had uncovered the mystery surrounding their parents’ deaths.
In this story, there are unexplained things happening in both their lives and that of their uncle’s, and a man from their father’s past named Finn shows up and says that their father owes him millions of dollars. Susannah is also entrusted with a vague task by her uncle Gavin, and it does not help that he is incapacitated for much of the book in the hospital, undergoing surgery. Suzie, as she is called, tries to stay ahead of the task, all the while trying to put together the mystery surrounding Finn.
The story follows Suzie as she sails through one tight spot after another, trying her best to find what is going on and how best to handle the issue, using her ingenuity and her training. She is kick-ass with a weird personality and unique psyche owed to her childhood trauma. She is the axis around which the story and the other characters in the book revolve. Her dynamics with her brother, uncle and other people make for an interesting read and quite a refreshing one at that. She is the kind of heroine we get to see very rarely, both in movies and books.
Most of the secondary characters have been given a tangible presence too, with a depth of characterization. We know who they are and where they are coming from. Even though I haven’t read the previous book, the relationship between these people and their interactions seemed very natural to me. They manage to capture your heart without striving too hard.
The story is carried forward with frequent bursts of brisk action sequences interspersed with light lulls. This makes for a fast-paced, thrilling read which never bores you. This is the first book I have read that contains lots of shady characters but still manages to make me root for them.
I only had a small issue with the book: the character of Finn is not given the same depth as the other characters. We never really get to know what drives him and why he is the way he is. More details on him would have been nice. In spite of this, this book manages to be a slick, fast-paced action thriller. It’s a continuing story and I am definitely eager to read more of Suzie.
This book gets 5 out of 5 stars and I strongly recommend it.
Thank you so much for your review, Poonguzhali!
Never Go Home is the second in Christopher Swann’s Faulkner Family series. It can stand on its own, I think, but I really enjoyed getting to know Suzie in the first book.