Book Review: No Going Back by T.R. Ragan
This is the third book in a series about crime reporter Sawyer Brooks, and I have to state up front that I haven’t read the other two, so I don’t have all her background. However, I don’t think I lost too much by stepping in here; it’s made clear that Sawyer and her sisters were victims of ghastly abuse by their parents, and Sawyer’s story following the Black Wigs, a group of female vigilantes targeting men who got away with awful crimes against women - or were punished too lightly in the Black Wigs’ opinion - obviously exposes where Sawyer’s sympathies lie. Now there’s a copycat killer on the scene and although the police are still convinced it’s the work of the Black Wigs, Sawyer’s sure things aren’t right. She starts following the threads of the new cases as well, in concert with another senior reporter, but is shocked when the trail leads back a lot closer to home than she could have ever imagined.
It’s revealed to the reader pretty early on who the Black Wigs are, so we’re just along for the ride as Sawyer figures things out. The copycat is a new killer with a different trajectory, however, and it’s not until late in the book when it’s revealed that one of the potential targets is on the radar of more than one vigilante… which shouldn’t be a surprise, since people who do terrible things are obviously capable of them and therefore more likely to repeat, especially if they aren’t caught and punished the first time around.
Sawyer’s choices in the crunch, while legally way over the line, were entirely understandable because of her need to protect her family, and I can honestly say I’d probably have done exactly the same thing.
Some terrible and triggering things happen to women, and children, in this book, and it’s entirely understandable that many of them would want to seek the justice they have been denied. It seems evident that something has to change, that justice has to start actually being done, lest vigilantism does indeed begin to take over, but this book doesn’t have the answers for exactly how, and it makes for uncomfortable reading.
There are definitely some moral conundrums to sit with here - I know where I fall on the topic, but it’s very much an individual thing. A few things were skimmed over a bit too lightly for my liking, but I suspect they may have been given more weight in earlier books and I’ve missed out on that backstory. I wanted more of Sawyer’s personality in particular, though, and in a series with her as the central character, it was a notable omission. Overall, a good read even if not a comfortable one, but needed a bit more character work to flesh it out. I’ll give it four stars.
Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this title via NetGalley.