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No Way Back
Andrew Gross

William Morrow
April 2, 2013 / ISBN 9780061655982


Reviewed by Elise Cooper

Andrew 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.” 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.
Reviewed 2013