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Don't Look Behind You    by Lois Duncan order for
Don't Look Behind You
by Lois Duncan
Order:  USA  Can
Laurel Leaf, 1990 (1989)
Hardcover, Paperback
* *   Reviewed by J. A. Kaszuba Locke

It seems the start of an ordinary day in the lives of the Corrigan family of Norwood, Virginia. Seventeen-year old April is a senior and grade-A tennis player; younger brother Bram was born hyper, with one blue eye and one brown. Mom Liz is an author, working at home on her latest book, while Dad George, an airline executive, is away giving testimony in a Washington court.

The ordinary becomes End of Our World Day when April is unexpectedly called to the counselor's office, and sent home. There she finds FBI agent and long-time friend of Dad's, Uncle Max Barber, and it's not a social call. As they pack, Mom tells the children the truth about their father. Max recruited George years before to work undercover for the FBI on a drug-running case. He testified against airline CEO Richard Loftin, and there have been letters threatening George and his family. Mom reveals that 'something frightening happened this morning. Somebody in the courtroom fired a gun at your father' - luckily he missed. The three Corrigans are taken by Max to a hotel as a temporary measure.

April is distraught that she didn't get to say a single good-bye to classmates, especially boyfriend Steve. Bram is disappointed at missing a weekend sleepover, while April thinks about the upcoming prom and her new dress in the closet, plus the possibility of missing Steve's graduation. April worries about Dad being in danger, as the three are locked up in a hotel room with bodyguard Jim Peterson. Days and nights become monotonous, with no contact of any kind allowed outside the room. April and Bram watch television, or read on the room's terrace, bummed out that they can't even use the outdoor swimming pool. April secretly mails a note to Steve, before a suspicious maid attempts to force entry into the hotel room, while Jim is at the mall picking up supplies. Uncle Max soon arrives to transfer the family to another location.

The guilty verdict is short-lived; Loftin is released from prison on bail, pending an appeal. Dad joins the rest of the family in a Florida home, under the Federal Witness Security Program. Max informs them that a notorious hitman, the Vampire, is on their trail. Their names are changed, April mourns the cutting of her long tresses, and Bram has to wear contacts to hide his bi-colored eyes. As pressure, anger, and paranoia mount, April takes matters into her own hands. She purchases an airline ticket to Norwood, calls grandmother Lorelei to tell her that she is flying in to live with her, and leaves a phone message with Steve's sibling to pick her up at the airport.

Duncan delivers a bird's-eye view of the U.S. Federal Witness Security Program. Though the plot develops slowly, this popular author doesn't let the reader down with a spine-tingling escalation to a whopping conclusion!

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