Book Review: Don’t Look Back by Josh Lanyon

Posted: June 6, 2013 by sidlove in 4 Star Reviews, Book Reviews, Shelley's Reviews
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Review by Shelley

TITLE: Don’t Look Back
AUTHOR: Josh Lanyon
BLURB: He was chuckling, a deep, sexy sound as he pushed Peter back on the satiny cushions. Was this for real? Was he going to go through with it? Peter blinked up as his tie was unfastened, tossed aside, his shirt unbuttoned, laid wide. The evening breeze — scented of smog and jasmine — felt cool against his overheated skin, like the lightest breath…

Peter Killian, curator at Constantine House in Los Angeles, wakes in the hospital to find himself accused of stealing a tenth century Chinese sculpture. Peter knows he’s not a thief — but that’s all he knows. Why is hot and handsome Detective Mike Griffin so sure he’s guilty — and so hell-bent on seeing Peter arrested?

And why is Peter having these weird dreams about an unseen lover who somehow reminds him uncomfortably of Michael Griffin?


This is good. If you know Josh Lanyon’s work, particularly The Adrien English series, you’ll recognise the likenesses here.  Peter Killian is the well-ordered intelligent and conservative type, slim, neat and appealing in appearance.  Detective Griffin is the big, sexy, mysterious alpha in charge.  The atmosphere is comparable and Peter’s voice also bares a strong resemblance to Adrien English.  Luckily for me, I’m a big fan.

Even with these similarities, Don’t Look Backstands out on its own just because of the situation our MC Peter Killian finds himself in when he wakes in a hospital room with no memory; accused of a crime he’s sure he didn’t commit and faced with a surly detective Mike Griffin who needs convincing otherwise. Okay, those parts are not so different but the loss of memory and how Peter copes is what sets this book very much apart.

Peter can remember everything, as long as it’s not personal.  His job as curator of a museum is clear, as are the thefts of small valuable artefacts for the past year. Any personal relationships he may have had are a blank, and the only clue is the recurring dreams of a faceless lover, who is yet to step forward – or has he?

As Peter slowly starts to recall his life bit by bit, he discovers himself with a new found clarity- unhindered by old emotional connections he gains a clear perspective of what his life was like. With every new recollection the threat surrounding him escalates and the plot thrives. The angst is tangible when Peter’s panic intensifies and things really do fall apart for him. Who does he trust or believe?  And who’s setting him up?  It’s a case of having to prove his innocence when he’s the only suspect and tension between Peter and the sexy detective develops into something … more?

It’s all classic Lanyon as I know him, and very well done – especially how Peter deals with his injured memory. It definitely provided me with a certain amount of food for thought. What would I do if I lost the memory of people who have been in my life forever? How would I recognise their influence over me? How would I judge my own image? Would I identify the power of a narcissistic personality?

I enjoyed this aspect and really, this is what lifts the book from being a likable 3.5 Stars to a thoroughly enjoyable 4 Stars. My only annoyance is that Mr Lanyon’s novellas are too short, and this one in particular would have benefited from more page time between Peter and Mike. I always want more of everything with a Lanyon novella. He is so wonderfully descriptive and sensual in his writing and I’m always happy to cosy up with one of his stories.  The more of Lanyon’s work I read, the more I find his stories to be dependable, and very satisfying in more ways than one.

Shelley’s Rating: four-stars_0

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  1. Heather C says:

    Doesn’t all Josh’s books “bare(s) a strong resemblance to Adrien English”? Ah, but I love them anyway, and this happens to be one of my favorites.

    Lovely review, Shelley!

  2. Shelley says:

    Yes in some ways they do – but the atmosphere of antiquity and Peter’s voice is very much the same here. This one is still quite unique though, especially the way Peter deals with his memory loss. I always find something to revel in with Lanyon’s novella’s and you will enjoy this one too Heather 🙂

    • Heather C says:

      Yes I’ve read this a few years ago and really loved it. I love Josh’s novellas. Even though they end a bit abruptly, like this one, I still get the sense that the MCs will “make it”

  3. Ilhem says:

    I’m a sucker for classic Lanyon and I enjoy the familiarity most of the time. Familiar and new at the same time, you know. I recognize myself in your description : “He is so wonderfully descriptive and sensual in his writing and I’m always happy to cosy up with one of his stories. The more of Lanyon’s work I read, the more I find his stories to be dependable, and very satisfying in more ways than one.”

    Great review.:)

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