Don't Look Behind You

Don't Look Behind You
Don't Look Behind You  
Don't Look Behind You.jpg
Author(s) Lois Duncan
Country United States
Language English
Genre(s) Thriller
Publisher Laurel Leaf
Publication date August 1, 1990
Pages 192
ISBN 978-0440207290

Don't Look Behind You is a 1990 young adult thriller novel by Lois Duncan.


Plot summary

Because of April's father's work in the Federal Investigation Bureau, a hitman in a black camaro is after her family so they have to be put under the Federal Witness Protection Program. April and her family have to try to elude the killer with little success when she drives out to try and live with her gramdmother again.


Multiple real places are a key part to the novel. The rural areas in the novel are the outskirts of eastern Virginia and to the south of Washington D.C.. The cities in the novel are Richmond, Petersburg and Williamsburg in Virginia; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Durham, North Carolina and Grove City and St. Augustine in Florida. Other places in the novel are the Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport and Disney World.[1]


The novel won the Tennessee Volunteer State Book Award in 1991 and 1993, the Iowa High School Book Master List in 1992, the Virginia Young Readers Program Award in 1992, the Indiana Young Hoosier Award in 1992, and the Texas Lone Star Reading List in 1991. The novel was nominated for the Washington Evergreen Young Adult Book Award in 1992, the Colorado Blue Spruce Young Adult Book Award in 1991 and 1992, and the Illinois Rebecca Caudill Young Readers Award in 1995.[2]


In an interview with Lois Duncan, the interviewer said that the book was challenged for its immorality, graphic references, and sexual references. Lois Duncan thinks that it may have been a mix-up because there is only one part of the novel where it gets close to a sex scene.[3]

Television movie

The book was adapted into a 1999 television film. The film was directed by David Winning and stars Patrick Duffy, Pam Dawber and Dominic Raake.[4]

Differences between the novel and the film

  • In the novel, April is the central character; she narrates the story from her own POV. In the film, April's dad is the main character.
  • In the novel, April's father is named George Bramwell Corrigan, Senior. In the film, his name is Jeff Corrigan.
  • In the novel, April's sweetheart is named Steve. In the movie, his name is Stef.
  • In the novel, April and Steve part and she dates another boy whose name is not given. In the movie, April and Stef are reunited
  • In the novel, April's mom is a writer of books for children and teens. In the movie, she works at a company.
  • None of the FBI Agents from the novel - Max Barber, Tom Geist, Jim Peterson - are mentioned in the film.
  • In the novel, the hitman is named Mike Vamp. This name was changed for the film.

Connection with daughter Kaitlyn

The book is based on Lois Duncan's daughter Kaitlyn's personality. Kaitlyn was shot to death shortly after the book was published while riding home from her friend's house. Lois Duncan believes that Don't Look Behind You was a premonition of her daughter's death.[5] Like the main character of the novel, Kaitlyn was chased by a hired gunman that resembled the killer that was on the cover of a paperback version.

The death of her daughter made her want to write the non-fiction book Who Killed My Daughter?.[5]


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