Book Review: ‘No Going Back’ Is Not An Easy Story To Read And Has An Even Less Likable Protagonist

From Strand Critics Award winner Sheena Kamal, comes the third novel featuring the brilliant, fearless, deeply flawed Nora Watts whose vendetta against a triad enforcer escalates when he places a target on her daughter’s back.

There is no doubt in my mind that author Sheena Kamal is a good writer, there are glimpses of genius throughout this story but I have great difficulty understanding and liking the book’s heroine Nora Watts. When you have a story as convoluted as this, it helps to at least like and root for the protagonist, even just a little bit but no, that does not happen and maybe that is what our storyteller intends from the onset. I didn’t read the two previous books in this series, they might have at least created a platform for me to understand.

Nora Watts is hated by a man called Dao, a mysterious triad enforcer. He holds Nora responsible for a death in his family and as the story twists and turns, she travels around the world, from Indonesia to Canada and we are introduced to various personalities, coming and going, and you realize you know very little about Nora and her daughter Bonnie, her various friends, and even her dog, who receives more feelings from Nora than all of her so-called friends who spend the entire book hiding the truth from her.

I disliked her from the beginning and liked her less by the end but perhaps that was the intention of the writer and if so, I am perplexed that I just can’t reach out to her, maybe because her life was lived in lies, the ones you tell yourself which are chillingly real, then you don’t have anywhere to go. Violence is a reflection of mental illness and this kind of violence makes me wish there was an answer somewhere to it.

Available in bookstores April 14th

Ann McDonald

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