‘No Way Back’ is a brilliant novella which tells the story of Helen Grace after her sister Marianne had murdered their parents. Moved to the last in a succession of childrens homes, at first glance the home seems like any other, the children all fighting to gain power over each other. Helen, or Jodie as she was back then, is targeted on her very first night and it is only the actions of one of the girls, Gemma, that saves her. Helen comes to rely on Gemma as her only friend in the home, all of the girls seemingly wary of her for reasons Helen soon comes to understand.
Because the Grove Street Care Home is the home of a sinister secret, and Helen finds herself in real danger, soon persecuted by the Care Home Manager, Carole in a bid to keep her silent. But they underestimate the strength of Helen’s character, for, after all that she had been through, even back then she was a figher.
This was a quick and easy to read short giving the world an insight into some of the events that made Helen Grace the strong, driven and justice focused, police officer we know today. It explains some of the reasons for her joining the police and also how she moved from being Jodie Haines to Helen Grace.
When I say easy to read, the subject matter is not the gentlest of subjects (child abuse) but it is not gratuitously done either. And, lets face it. If her start had all been hearts and flowers, Helen wouldn’t have been Helen now would she?
A short and sweet 5 stars. I’m hungry for the next episode in Helen’s story, ‘Hide and Seek’ now. Roll on September.