Merrimon Book Reviews

Flag of the Dominican Republic

A Natural Blackjack

Altimeter in a Cessna aircraft

From Merrimon Book Reviews
Don't Look Twice
Don't Look Twice by Andrew Gross
by Andrew Gross     

A year has past since the Grand Central bombing case that brought a certain amount of fame and notoriety to Ty Hauck's life.  Amid the flurry of acitivity of interviews and a new found fame, Hauck enjoys a quiet everyday moment with his daughter s they stop at an Exxon station for refreshements.   Suddenly out of nowhere a truck pulls up and Hauck finds himself looking at the barrel of a gun.  A barrage of bullets sprays across the scene.   A witness to the event, a crime which touches the life of his daughter of all people, Hauck has a special interest in solving the case.  On the surface, the drive-by shooting looks like a gang-related crime.  When the victim's identity turns out to be David Sanger, a federal prosecutor, Hauck questions the randomness of the crime.  The more he pursues the leads of the case, the less straightforward this case appears --- and the more deadly.   Although Hauck is a detective known for grabbing ahold of a case and pursuing it until he gets answers, this case comes close to home, causing him to question everything he ever knew, those close to him, and even what he thought he knew about himself

DON'T LOOK TWICE by Andrew Gross is a fast-paced work of suspense  with multiple layers of clues and detours, and a chilling look at the extreme lengths and convoluted paths people will go to achieve certain goals.  Detective Hauck himself is a fascinating, likable character.  Readers of THE DARK TIDE will enjoy catching another glimpse of Hauck in a different setting one year later.  As in the first book, the detective's concern for the victim's loved ones and others connected to the case gives the story depth.  Certain changes in his personal life allow the reader to see the depth in his character, the shades of grey that vary according to external circumstances as well as the constants throughout time.  Hauck's tenacity brings the reader into the case as one smoke screen fades to another.  The novel is at its best towards the end as the case comes close to home where Andrew Gross packs the novel with several surprise plot and emotional twists.  Even the he tone and the quality of the prose reaches a new height at the crux of the novel.  With its short chapters and prose style, DON'T LOOK TWICE is just easy to pick up and not put down until the final page.  Andrew Gross knows how to pack in enough twists to keep a reader on the edge and satisfy suspense lovers.

DON'T LOOK TWICE works well as a stand alone.  A reader need not have read THE DARK TIDE in order to jump straight into this book and enjoy it.  Andrew Gross summarizes the past events quickly and with little detail.  The past case does  not have much connection to this case.  Certainly a previous knowledge of Ty Hauck causes certain events and thematic elements to evoke more a feeling for him.  In some minute ways, DON'T LOOK TWICE actually works better as a stand-alone.  Some readers coming from THE DARK TIDE anxious to see more of Ty Hauck's character might find this book a bit disappointing in its lack of connection to THE DARK TIDE.  Here, Karen conveniently disappears early on in the plot.  Although Andrew Gross provides the reader with a logical and even emotional reason, glossing over such an important element from the previous book seems like an easy-out given the intensity of their connection in the first book.  Quite simply, the relationship between Karen and Ty was one of the main elements in THE DARK TIDE that gave that book its depth so her absence in this book without at least a little more detail keeps this book from achieving the maximum effect it might have.  Karen's absence, however, does not detract from the suspense or the ingenuity of this particular case. In DON'T LOOK TWICE, the emotional element experienced in THE DARK TIDE expands outward to other characters in Ty Hauck's life, giving the reader a fuller glimpse of the totality of man and for this, readers of THE DARK TIDE will find a new enjoyment in the character development.  If a reader comes to this book craving a similar element, it will be found here, just displaced to other characters and not throughout the entire book as much as placed within the nexus of the case.  Ty Hauck is certainly a character Andrew Gross could take further if he chooses.  Perhaps from the perspective of a possible third book featuring Ty Hauck, DON'T LOOK TWICE will consider this book as part of the middle book syndrome,  but also as a necessary step in the transition of the detective's evolution as a character.

DON'T LOOK TWICE is a riveting work of suspense.  Andrew Gross is certainly a rising star.  He delivers a well-plotted novel with engaging characters and enough twists, perfectly placed, to keep the pages flying. 
DON'T LOOK TWICE is a light pleasure read that quite simply delivers reading pleasure.   From the first page, DON'T LOOK TWICE grabs and doesn't let go.  DON'T LOOK TWICE is clever, tension-filled and a lot of fun.

Publisher: William Morrow (March 2009)
Reviewed by Merrimon, Merrimon Book Reviews
Review Courtesy of Amazon Vine
Merrimon Book Reviews

Custom Search

Copyright Merrimon Crawford  2009  All Rights Reserved