Culture

No Going Back Is Modern Noir Fiction At Its Finest

Award-winning novelist Sheena Kamal’s latest continues the story of her protagonist Nora Watts, and like her previous work it’s hard-hitting, action-packed and a genuine entry into the world of noir fiction.

No Going Back once again follows the story of Nora Watts, who this time finds herself on the trail of an enforcer of the Chinese triads. She’s determined to find him before he plays his hand and murders both her and her estranged daughter, both of whom he has a grudge against. It’s a trail that leads her from Canada to southeast Asia and back. Nora doesn’t have to hunt alone either, she’s joined by a playboy billionaire with his own grudge to bear and her ex-cop ally who has joined her before, but her time is quickly disappearing is she hopes to survive.

Nora Watts is an intriguing, and deeply flawed character who draws you in from the first page. She’s a tough, female protagonist who would rather do things by herself, but finds herself having to trust in the help of others. In this way she’s similar to Lisbeth Salander of the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series, and like those books you would be better suited reading the series from the start instead of starting with the third book. Sure, Kamal does a good job of bringing you up to date with what has come before, but you always get the sense you are missing something. Whether it’s the relationships with the other characters, or why Watts makes the decisions that she makes, you will always feel like there is a void in the writing unless you’ve read what has come before. As great as the characters are, the book really shines in the noir-style of the writing. The gritty novel feels like it was written years ago, and really, with a few changes it could almost be set in the early-mid 20th century. It’s a style of writing that you don’t see a lot of these days, and is refreshing to see. 

No Going Back is a fun, thrilling novel to read, and one that continues Sheena Kamal’s series about Nora Watts and her dark past. While reading the previous books isn’t a requirement, you should pick them up beforehand if you truly wish to experience the story the way it was meant. 



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