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Saturday, April 27, 2013

No Way Back: A Novel by Andrew Gross

Not Up To The Standard Set By His Other Books

Published by William Morrow in April of 2013

This is my fifth Andrew Gross novel. Unlike in his other novels, the characters in No Way Back failed to connect with me. The hallmarks of an Andrew Gross novel are all present here: an easy writing style, a quick-moving plot and some sort of shocking event that causes the main characters' lives to spin out of control. But, unlike the other books, I found myself to be lukewarm to all of the "good guys" and the sinister plot that held the bad guys together to be forced.

In No Way Back the reader meets Wendy Gould, a married suburbanite who almost has a one night stand with a handsome  piano player after she has had a horrible fight with her husband. She stops it before they progress to the actual deed and while she is in the bathroom re-arranging her clothes a stranger enters the room, argues with the piano player, tosses a gun to him and then kills him. Wendy steps out, picks up the gun  and then kills the attacker. Then she flees and is framed for both murders.

As the bodies start to pile up, Wendy digs into her case and discovers connections that lead her to a Mexican nanny with a dangerous past.

Nothing about this book was particularly bad, but nothing was particularly great either. The plot moves forwards at a relentless pace, but it is sometimes unclear as to the why and how of how it all comes together. The characters are interesting people but there is nothing there that makes the reader really want to connect to Wendy or to the nanny, Lauritzia Valdez. I read to the end to see how the story ended up but not to see what happened to the characters themselves.

Pet peeves:
#1) the Spanish is atrocious, and this is a recurring problem in Andrew Gross books. I like the fact that he tries to offer some Spanish to lend some authenticity. But, all pretense of authenticity is destroyed when the Spanish is this bad. There are literally millions of native Spanish speakers in this country - please vet your Spanish with any one of them before you publish it.

#2) There is no GMC Explorer. The Explorer has been manufactured by Ford since 1990 and was never ever manufactured by GMC since it is a completely different corporation.

#3) the AR-15 is a semi-automatic rifle, not a submachine gun. A submachine gun is a completely automatic weapon (hold down the trigger and it keeps shooting) that is the size of a large pistol (or a little bigger). Think Uzi. The AR-15 is a semi-automatic (you have to pull the trigger every time you shoot) rifle (long gun).

So, in the end the book is 3 out of 5 stars because the characters failed to resonate with me and the plot comes together so suddenly that it isn't remotely plausible. Good beach reading but I suggest any of these other Andrew Gross books instead: Click here.

Reviewed on April 27, 2013.

This book can be purchased on Amazon.com here: No Way Back.

I received this book from the publisher through the Amazon Vine program in exchange for an honest review.

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