‘Don’t Turn Around’ by Caroline Mitchell

Don't Turn Around by Caroline Mitchell Crime Mystery Paranormal


Why You Should Read ‘Don’t Turn Around’

If someone had suggested that I read a crime novel with an X-files type twist attached to it, I probably would have nodded politely and ignored them.  Sci-Fi and anything abstract normally does  not  appeal to me – I prefer concrete, tangible concepts.  

Everything, however, changed once I started to read Don’t Turn Around; this is a detective novel with a paranormal thread. Any skeptic that struggles with ghostly ideas of human possession may believe that this is a book to avoid but I challenge you to open your mind to Caroline’s book, read it first; it is only after you have completed the first couple of chapters that you can truly make up your mind for yourself.

The Story of Don’t Turn Around

Set in the town of Haven, Jennifer is DC with a worrying past.  Placed on a force where little happens, and if it does is dealt with by others believed to be more capable, Jennifer along with her partner Will, spend their days dealing with petty crimes and arguing about whose turn it is to get lunch in.   That is until she interviews Johnny Mallet, a low-life who is always causing trouble and who has apparently put a well-known thug in hospital.  Mike Stone is your typical hard man come business entrepreneur, owner of a well-known nightclub and supplier of most things on the side.  It is at this point that Jennifer begins to sub-consciously challenge the incident.  How is it possible for a skinny runt to take down a guy that most people are afraid of?  

As this story begins to unfold a second thread is introduced and dates back to the time when Jennifer’s mother, Elizabeth, was on the force.   Frank is a young lad that becomes deeply affected by his father moving to Australia in the search of a better life.  His mother, a prostitute and alcoholic has no time for the boy, preferring instead to let him bring himself up and asking him to refer to her as Viv rather than mother. As the two stories unfold you begin to realise that they are intricately linked; only time separating them.  

The reader will clearly pick up on the parallel events taking place before Jennifer does but she is not too far behind and even when her sanity is questioned by others she refusing to ignore the similarities in her and her mother’s caseload.   Not only does her mother have a ‘Johnny Mallet’ type case they also both have drug dealers hanging themselves and individuals that appear to self-combust.  It is however, only after an elderly lady seemingly dies of a heart attack that others also begin to see a connection, although many are still unsure and question whether Jennifer has had another breakdown. At the same time, Jennifer’s personal life is also becoming more complicated.  

Preferring to always keep her private life just that, private, she struggles when not one, but two colleagues start vying for her attention.  One is already a stable part of her life whilst the other is a new kid on the block showing her just a bit too much interest.  One is sceptical of her paranormal thoughts whilst the other wants to pursue her ideas further – but who will win her heart?

Thanks to her special gift for seeing more than just rational possibilities, Jennifer’s life becomes far more complicated before normality resumes.  Not only does she need to learn how to live with her supernatural abilities, she also needs to overcome her own pre-conceived ideas of her family and others judgemental thoughts about whether she is of sound mind.  

As a reader you won’t find this story unravelling at pace.  What you will find is a maze of clues that are drip-fed to you over the course of several chapters in order to spike your interest, making sure that you will read further in order to find out what happens in the end.

Final Thoughts About ‘Don’t Turn Around’

If you enjoy crime detective novels but are apprehensive about picking a novel like this up, I challenge you to.  Read out of your comfort zone; read the novel as you do any other detective story but allow your mind to be opened up to new possibilities.  This is the first of many in the series to be written by Caroline so you never know once you have started to read them you may just end up waiting around for the next one to be released.

I did receive a free copy of Caroline’s book in return for an honest review.  All thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own.


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