No Way Back by J.B. Turner

Title: No Way Back (Jack McNeal #1)

Author: J.B. Turner

Published on: 1 January 2022

Genre: Mystery and Thrillers

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Rating: 4 out of 5.

NYPD Detective turned Internal Affairs Personnel Jack McNeal is used to question dirty cops. But when the secret service agents turn up at his doorstep, things change for good. Jack learns his estranged wife Caroline, a prominent reporter of the White House beat, has gone missing. The next day, Jack learns of a body found floating in the Potomac – it’s Caroline.

Caroline and Jack’s marriage fell apart when their six-year-old son was killed by a ricochet bullet. Jack’s partner had gone suicidal and held Jack’s son at gun point. Things went wrong when Jack fired and killed his partner… and the ricochet bullet killed Patrick.

Caroline’s attorney calls Jack and tells him of a package she’s left for him. Apart from the Will and other documents, the package contains a CD. When Jack plays the CD, he learns Caroline was investigating the death of a socialite named Sophie Meyers. Sophie was a wife of a man who is well-connected politically. Caroline and Sophie were found dead in similar circumstances. This gets Jack thinking – was his wife’s death a suicide or was she killed?

No Way Back is the first book in J.B. Turner’s Jack McNeal series. First things first, I really do not understand all the negative reviews this book has gotten on Goodreads. I honestly felt the plot was interesting and the storytelling was impressive too.

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Having said that, a lot of swear words are used in the book so if you are the kind of reader who doesn’t want to read the F-words, give this one a skip. But if you do not mind the usage of swear words as long as the story keeps you hooked on till the end, do give this book a read.

The story starts with Jack investigating a domestic violence case involving a drunken cop. When he reaches home, he’s called back to work by his boss (in the middle of the night.) On arriving back at work, he meets two secret service agents. They want to know the whereabouts of his estranged wife Caroline. The next day, Jack receives a call from the agents saying a body is found floating in the Potomac. Jack identifies it as that of Caroline’s.

Soon, Jack learns Caroline was investigating the death of a socialite who had political connections. He also learns Caroline had complained to the DC police about a prowler. She felt someone was stalking her. But no action was taken against her complaint. Jack is devastated at losing his only child and wife within a period of five years. His grief is unbearable. His father and brother (who is also a cop) support him emotionally. They do not believe Caroline committed suicide (her death was ruled as suicide.)

When Jack digs deeper into the case that Caroline was looking into, he faces hurdles. Dirty politics and money play a major role here – Jack reaches a dead-end often but refuses to admit defeat.

The story ends on a cliffhanger of-sorts. The man who was responsible for Caroline’s death is found but, the story doesn’t end there. The real bad guy/mastermind has something bigger (and worse) in store for Jack.

No Way Back by J.B. Turner is an interesting and gripping political mystery. I really loved the writing and the characterizations. Jack is someone who has lost a lot in life and his grief is well-described throughout the story – makes you cry. The mystery behind Caroline and Sophie’s deaths, or rather, murders, is well-maintained until the end. Jack is the kind of guy who follows all the rules but there comes a time when he has to do something that breaks all the rules. Will he go against the standards he set for himself? He should if he wants justice for Caroline…

As I mentioned before, the story ends on a cliffhanger – the bad guy is not caught yet! I am looking forward to reading the next installment. I am pretty sure things are going to be murkier for Jack.

If you are looking for a thrilling political mystery, you might want to give J.B. Turner’s No Way Back, the first in Jack McNeal series, a try.


I received an ARC from Thomas & Mercer and NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased opinion.

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