Author: Marcus Sakey
Title: No Turning Back
Paperback Original: 410 pages
Publication Date: 25/11/2010
With the recession biting hard, it seems that some people are willing to go to rather extreme ends to make money. Like robbing an ex-drug dealer at gunpoint [not exactly something from the careers advice manual, but each to their own!]. However, for all that it may seem rather implausible, this is exactly what a group of friends – Alex, Ian, Jenn and Mitch – decide to do in Marcus Sakey’s new novel, No Turning Back.
Each member of the group is, in their own individual manner, disillusioned with their life, going nowhere fast and desperate for a means to escape the drudgery of their daily existence. So, when one drunken Thursday, the aforementioned crime is mooted jokingly by Mitch as a means of getting payback against Alex’s sleazy boss, they soon realize that it could be more than a ‘joke’ and the chance to make some filthy lucre leaves them with a moral choice to make.
For this is a book in which good and bad are split into very definable regions – by going through with the crime you know that Alex, Ian, Jenn and Mitch are stepping into a realm in which there are consequences to face. And whilst the plan to get rich seems foolproof and without danger to them, Sakey’s writing fosters a sense of unease in the reader – a feeling that nothing good is going to come of their plan.
But for all that they are setting off on a criminal path, the main characters are also given amazing levels of depth and characterisation and it was enthralling to see the shifting nature of their friendship and allegiance to one another as things gradually began to go wrong and they start to realise how much – or how little – they really know about one another.
The impressively detailed and nuanced characterisation of Alex, Ian, Jenn and Mitch is backed up by an intriguing and compelling plotline, filled with twists and revelations. And as things spin into something bigger, darker and completely beyond the group’s control, I found myself reading compulsively, completely gripped and emotionally involved right up until the denouement, which manages to be simultaneously heartbreaking and strangely redemptive. Pacey, clever and with a real emotional pull, this was an enthralling read.