Category Archives: Jessica Barry

Review: Don’t Turn Around by Jessica Barry

Title: Don’t Turn Around by Jessica Barry
Publisher: Harper
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 317 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Edelweiss


The riveting follow up to Jessica Barry’s debut Freefall—a controversial, of-the-moment thriller about two women fighting for their right to live. 

322 miles of road. 6 hours. 2 strangers. 1 killer. Too many secrets.

Midnight. Cait Monaghan and Rebecca McRae are on a desolate road that slices through the New Mexican desert. They’ve never met before tonight.  Both have secrets to protect. Both of their lives are in danger.

When a truck pulls up fast behind them, they assume it’s punk teenagers or run-of-the-mill road rage, but it soon becomes clear that whoever is driving the truck is hunting them for sport—and they are out to draw blood.

As the miles unspool and the dangers mount, the pasts they’ve worked so hard to keep buried have come back to haunt them.  Someone wants one of them dead. But which one?  And given the lives the two women have been leading, that someone could be almost anyone.

If Cait and Rebecca are going to survive, they’ll have to learn to trust one another—and themselves. But trust is a costly business, and they’ve both paid the price before. . . .


Don’t Turn Around by Jessica Barry is a spellbinding mystery.

In her mid-twenties, Cait Monaghan is an aspiring journalist working as a bartender.  After a drunken one night stand with a rising country singer, she anonymously writes an article about her scary experience with him. Although her post goes viral, Cait’s hopes of getting more articles published are dashed. She finds satisfaction doing volunteer work but she is eventually outed as the author of article and she fears for her safety.

Cait nonetheless continues her volunteer work and she picks up her latest passenger, Rebbeca McRae in Lubbock, TX. The two women are driving to Albuquerque in the dead of night and their journey quickly turns menacing. Cait thinks whomever is behind the wheel is after her whereas Rebecca believes she is the target.  No matter who this person is after, the two woman must work together to save themselves when the situation turns dire.

After controversy hits, Cait entertains a few self-doubts but she knows what happened to her was not only wrong but dangerous. She is relieved that no one at the bar recognizes she is at the heart of the current  media storm.  At first, Cait is unconcerned about her safety, but once her address becomes public knowledge, she remains vigilant and very worried.

While working as a volunteer Cait is very careful to make sure no one is around when she makes her pick up. So during her current assignment, she keeps a close watch to make sure no one is following them. But she becomes worried during one of their stops and they immediately get back on the road. But once they leave the small town behind, someone begins toying with them. When disaster strikes, both Cait and Rebecca are terrified and hope they are not putting their trust in the wrong person. The two women soon breathe a sigh of relief, but is the danger truly behind them?

Don’t Turn Around is an absolutely mesmerizing mystery that is fast-paced and engrossing. The storyline is topical and well-executed. The characters are well-developed with relatable flaws and unexpected strengths. The isolated setting ratchets up the tension and danger as Cait and Rebecaa attempt to outwit their pursuer. With plenty of edge of the seat suspense, Jessica Barry brings this clever mystery to a satisfying conclusion. Highly recommend to readers of the genre.

Just a note: I live in one of the New Mexico towns mentioned in the novel and I can attest to the accuracy of the desolate drive in its entirety. Sections of the highway can be deserted even in the daytime and driving at night is very eerie!

Comments Off on Review: Don’t Turn Around by Jessica Barry

Filed under Contemporary, Don't Turn Around, Harper, Jessica Barry, Mystery, Rated B+, Review, Suspense

Review: Freefall by Jessica Barry

Title: Freefall by Jessica Barry
Publisher: Harper
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 368 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Edelweiss


A propulsive debut novel with the intensity of Luckiest Girl Alive and Before the Fall, about a young woman determined to survive and a mother determined to find her.

When your life is a lie, the truth can kill you

When her fiancé’s private plane crashes in the Colorado Rockies, Allison Carpenter miraculously survives. But the fight for her life is just beginning. Allison has been living with a terrible secret, a shocking truth that powerful men will kill to keep buried. If they know she’s alive, they will come for her. She must make it home.

In the small community of Owl Creek, Maine, Maggie Carpenter learns that her only child is presumed dead. But authorities have not recovered her body—giving Maggie a shred of hope. She, too, harbors a shameful secret: she hasn’t communicated with her daughter in two years, since a family tragedy drove Allison away. Maggie doesn’t know anything about her daughter’s life now—not even that she was engaged to wealthy pharmaceutical CEO Ben Gardner, or why she was on a private plane.

As Allison struggles across the treacherous mountain wilderness, Maggie embarks on a desperate search for answers. Immersing herself in Allison’s life, she discovers a sleek socialite hiding dark secrets. What was Allison running from—and can Maggie uncover the truth in time to save her?

Told from the perspectives of a mother and daughter separated by distance but united by an unbreakable bond, Freefall is a riveting debut novel about two tenacious women overcoming unimaginable obstacles to protect themselves and those they love.


Freefall is a riveting and suspenseful debut mystery by Jessica Barry.

Maggie Carpenter is heartbroken at the news that her estranged thirty-one year old daughter, Allison, has been in a fatal airplane crash. Unable to understand the stunning revelations in the wake of Allison’s and her fiancé Ben Gardener’s deaths, Maggie begins digging into her daughter’s life.  How did Ally go from working at an upstart magazine to her engagement to the wealthy CEO of  pharmaceutical company Prexilane Industries? The more she uncovers about her daughter’s life, the more certain she becomes that Allison might still be alive.

Maggie’s instincts are spot on since Allison has, against all odds, survived the crash but Ben is not as fortunate. Frightened that she will be found by someone who wants to harm her, Allison gathers as many supplies as she can and heads off into the wilderness. Badly injured, her survival instinct keeps her going when she is in danger of giving up. Somehow managing to beat the elements, Allison’s concern for her own safety quickly diminishes when she learns her mother is in grave danger.

Interspersed with Maggie’s investigation and Allison’s flight to safety are chapters from an unknown person who makes it very clear that he will not stop until he locates Allison.  Despite suffering from serious injuries, Allison manages to stay a few steps ahead of her pursuer. Unfortunately, her luck might about to be run out, but Allison refuses to go down without a fight.

Allison’s life during her estrangement from Maggie is revealed through a series of flashbacks.  While her life is in a downward spiral, she crosses paths with Ben. She is grateful for his willingness to overlook the circumstances of how they met and Allison is happy with Ben. Never quite fitting in with his wealthy friends and business associates, she is often at loose ends while he is working. Approached by a stranger, Allison’s fears her past is catching up with her are laid to rest by some very shocking disclosures that she finds virtually impossible to believe.

Freefall is a well-written mystery that is absolutely spellbinding. Maggie and Allison are well-drawn, three dimensional characters with all too human frailties and admirable strengths. The plot is engaging and the short chapters create a sense of urgency that keep the pages turning at a blistering pace. Jessica Barry’s debut is a thrilling adventure that I greatly enjoyed and highly recommend to fans of the genre.


Filed under Contemporary, Harper, Jessica Barry, Mystery, Rated B+, Review, Suspense