April 2, 2013 / ISBN 9780061655982
Reviewed by Elise Cooper
Gross’ latest book, No Way Back, combines
contemporary issues and two markedly personal stories.
About halfway through the book, the timelines of the two
main characters come together when the stories merge in
a politically charged plotline.
The plot consists of a Mexican drug cartel, vengeful murders,
and corrupt officials from the US government, which creates
a riveting thriller. What is also interesting is how the
author intertwines the Fast and Furious fiasco, coming
up with a trully plausible explanation of why it happened.
He stated, “My own personal bias is that I could
not think of anything redemptive in the whole Fast and
Furious episode. The relationship between government and
criminal, law enforcement and conspiracy involves a shade
of grey. It appears that the Mexican government is under
the control of the criminal element.”
The story begins with a simple marital spat; an argument
by two people who love each other dearly but in a moment
of anger let their emotions take control of the situation.
Wendy Gould, the wife, almost sleeps with another man,
but realizes what a mistake it is. While getting ready
to leave, she finds herself witnessing a murder and to
save her own life kills a Federal agent. After fleeing
to her house and while confiding in her husband, they
are confronted by a rogue agent who kills him. She becomes
a fugitive for supposedly two murders she did not commit.
Thus, the title of the book comes into play, when Wendy’s
life changes forever, with No Way Back.
The other story line involves Luaritza Velez, an illegal
immigrant who becomes a nanny for a wealthy family. She
is the subject of an assassination attempt by a drug cartel
member, and must go into hiding, protected by the family
she works for. Gross stated, “My goal is to take
what I think are poignant and gripping storylines, turning
criminal activity into good theatre. What I am really
going after are the victims of these stories.”
This book is not “a who did it”, but is more
about how the characters find solutions to their dilemma.
Gross could have rehashed less how Wendy’s life
changed so drastically in such a short period of time,
and instead focused more on the clues as to how Wendy
would escape her predicament.
He explained his writing style; “I like to write
about the semi-affluent suburban moms with a gripping
story to be told that I hope affects the heart. I write
about regular people put into situations that in a moment
change forever. People who are not used to fighting for
themselves now must resolve their lives. This is the heart
of my books. I hope my readers will see similarities of
the Wendy character in the Karen character, my favorite,
from the book The Dark Tide.
Gross also wants his fans to know the plot was based on
some reality. “What I wrote is essentially what
happened to this poor Albanian girl’s life. All
of her family was killed except her father who turned
states evidence, but then he and his daughter were denied
asylum by the US government.”
Blackfive.net was given a heads up about his next book.
The plot involves a mother whose child is handicapped.
She becomes desperate and takes a cache of money while
helping an accident victim. The theme appears to be how
far would a parent go when in dire circumstances.
As with most of Gross’ books, the main characters
are women whose lives change in an instant after facing
a dilemma where they make a decision based on a moment
of weakness. In No Way Back Gross uses this theme to create
a stand alone book with a lot of action, two very sympathetic
female characters, and a politically charged plot.