Don't Look Back

Young Adult - Thriller
232 Pages
Reviewed on 04/22/2019
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Divine Zape for Readers' Favorite

Don't Look Back by Jeff Magnuson is a young adult thriller with well developed themes and strong characters. Jason Markum is not only bullied but faces suspension. But then Jason and his friend, Lori, stumble on a secret, part of a technology developed for a secret government group by Ted Collins. They know they have great power in their hands, power than can destroy them, but it can also be a strong tool to gain freedom both in school and outside. They must act quickly, but what if…?

Jeff Magnuson weaves a yarn that has the reader hooked from the beginning and keeps them turning from page to page. The narrative is written for contemporary readers, with a strong setting and themes that evolve around technology and political intrigue. The atmospheric writing melds with the pulsating action to provide readers with great entertainment. I was hooked right off the bat as I followed the nameless driver, being guided to a strange destination for an important meeting. My curiosity was raised at this point as I watched him, nervous and uncertain: “The driver reset the odometer as instructed and moments later, his car’s GPS darkened. The driver, a normally very confident–many would say cocky–man was unnerved by the phone call. The meeting, soon to be taking place, is as important to him as it is to the people with whom he will be meeting, but he couldn’t help concede that they were the ones calling the shots.”

The writing is impeccably good, and it uncovers the subtlest feelings and movements of the emotions of the characters. Don't Look Back is well plotted and the author’s deft use of suspense makes it an irresistible read. You will be immersed into the narrative to the point that you won’t feel the passage of time. A must-read for thriller fans.

Anne-Marie Reynolds

Don't Look Back by Jeff Magnuson is a YA adventure story. There’s nothing special about Jason Markum; he’s just another sophomore who got into trouble at school and faces being suspended through no fault of his own. Ted Collins is a technology developer; a wealthy one who wants more and is about to stumble over his own greed as he finishes a new project, a secret project for a government group no-one is supposed to know about. A small part of the project is about to fall into Jason’s hands. This is a brand new technology, a world never seen before and everyone should be scared. The secrets Jason and Lori, his friend, are holding are more powerful than anything – they need to move fast to get his suspension canceled or they will both have to face far worse consequences.

Don’t Look Back by Jeff Magnuson is a decent adventure story, quite thrilling in places and definitely full of action. The first chapter draws you neatly into the suspense and intrigue and it continues from there on a steady paced ride to the end. There is plenty going on, more than enough to keep the attention of any reader, and the characters were developed gradually throughout the story. This let me get to know them properly and, by the end of the story, I felt like they were old friends. This is a good story that has plenty going for it and will suit any YA reader, even adults who want something with a bite to it that they can really get into.

Lesley Jones

In Don't Look Back by Jeff Magnuson, when Nicholas Foster makes a deal with the National Intelligence Bureau to work with a technology innovator, Ted Collins, at Valhalla research facility, and not face life in prison, he believes he made the right decision. Little does he realize, he has become a part of something quite disturbing. Manipulative and power-hungry Collins has developed a device that could have serious consequences if placed in the wrong hands. Meanwhile, sophomore Jason Markum has to prove his innocence before he is suspended from school. How can he convince everyone that the real culprit is obnoxious classmate Trevor? Jason’s friend Lori may have found the answer when she makes a discovery at a local shopping mall. However, the teenagers' fight for justice may have placed them in serious danger.

Don't Look Back by Jeff Magnuson is a gripping and engaging plot, with equally strong sub-plots. You will definitely read this book in one sitting as it is hard to put down. A modern-day David and Goliath story where two teenage friends take on the powerful and influential. The characters and dialogue are believable and compelling; it is impossible not to become emotionally involved with the predicament of Jason and Lori. The descriptive narrative is impeccable too, and the author writes in such a way that every one of your senses comes alive. The story line has many twists and turns right up to the final chapter. I loved the Epilogue as it tied up all the loose ends of the plot. The second book will be eagerly anticipated. I hope it will be of this high standard. I love a story with a thought-provoking moral lesson and this novel definitely didn’t disappoint.